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Self-contained Box Gardens: Earth Box or Garden Patch

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Forum: Self-contained Box GardensReplies: 80, Views: 656
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p1mkw
Danville, IN
(Zone 5b)

October 4, 2008
3:22 AM

Post #5631369

I realize most of you use EB for your self-contained gardening, but there appears to be an alternative, Garden Patch. Does anyone have any experience with them? Maybe explain what, if any, difference and why one would be better than the other. I've read someplace that the new EB's are not as good as older ones due to construction material? Anyone comment on this?

I've just about convinced myself to give one of these systems a try. I currently plant in-ground but looking at some of the pictures of veggies grown in the EB's does make me a little jealous.

Thanks.
Moonglow
Corte Madera, CA

October 4, 2008
6:33 AM

Post #5631724

Thank you for bringing up Garden Patch. I have seen it before I got into self-watering planters (SWP) but could not remember the name. This is my first season using SWP: one (1) EB and four (4) Gardeners Square Foot Success Kits.

http://www.agardenpatch.com/

I went to the site, and looked for the actual dimensions and the make of the box itself. I could not find it yet. I have to learn to navigate better. Will it stand the elements for years and years? I would like to know, too.

I hope someone will come forward!

Annapet

BocaBob
Boca Raton, FL
(Zone 10a)

October 4, 2008
9:29 AM

Post #5631838

I have 12 EB's and bought 1 Garden Patch last year to compare. I had the same great results with both kinds. The Garden Patch is almost identical as the EB. They are also the same price

BocaBob
Tplant
Pembroke Pines, FL
(Zone 10a)

October 4, 2008
1:50 PM

Post #5632269

Yes they are almost identical except the EB comes with casters that would cost at least $5.95 if bought seperately as the original EB has the insets for the casters. Very convenient if growing on concrete as it makes it portable and also keeps the base off hot concrete in the summer plus it also has a stand and a net (extra) to support tall cherry tomato, pole beans , string beans ,corn stalks etc that are not available with the Garden Patch plus a customized cover so I would say that the patented EB is a far superior product as it is much more adaptable for our needs. THE NEWER EBs ARE MUCH MORE STURDY THAN THE ORIGINAL AS I HAVE BOTH. NO! I DO NOT WORK FOR OR AM AFFILIATED WITH THE EB PEOPLE IN ANYWAY BUT YOU WOULD THINK THAT THEY WOULD AT LEAST THANK ME FOR ALL THE BACKGROUND INFO THAT I HAVE PROVIDED THROUGHOUT THE PREVIOUS YEARS?
p1mkw
Danville, IN
(Zone 5b)

October 4, 2008
2:04 PM

Post #5632311

Thanks for your replies. Looking at them online it appeared that they were very similar and as BocaBob pointed out, almost identical in price as well.

I've read many of your posts, Tplant, and I agree, they should at least give you a few free boxes since I'm sure you're responsible for many sales from EB. I'm glad to hear your input since you have both the older version as well as the new one and find the newer ones more sturdy.

Now if I could just push this upcoming winter along so planting weather would be here soon.

Thanks again for your input.

Mary K.
Tplant
Pembroke Pines, FL
(Zone 10a)

October 5, 2008
2:49 PM

Post #5635668

Mary -- I used to live in NY and I remember the feeling waiting for Spring.
Moonglow
Corte Madera, CA

October 5, 2008
4:09 PM

Post #5635906

He sure is, Mary!
IO1
Waaaay Down South, GA

October 26, 2008
12:22 AM

Post #5716512

Yeah, he's responsible for 12 that I know of. :)
gardenglory
Gainesville, FL
(Zone 9a)

October 26, 2008
1:16 AM

Post #5716693

Well, I know T loves the original, and I too have them. I dont think, however, they have any 'special sauce'. What they have is a concept and a way to grow plants. I dont think the plants know the differance, its a box, a screen and a tube. If you call them, they will pretty much tell you the same thing. What they have going for them, and no one can take it away, they are the original, and imitation IS the sincerest form of flatery. . Im a creature of habit, and they are close, the shipping is cheap, so for now, its still the original for me, but not because I really feel they are better. I would not have my ten if not for T, I too think they should send him some for free.

Maybe a co-op???
IO1
Waaaay Down South, GA

October 26, 2008
2:36 AM

Post #5716923

I'd love to see a CoOp ... but I've heard they haven't been receptive?
p1mkw
Danville, IN
(Zone 5b)

October 26, 2008
2:48 AM

Post #5716952

I would guess you're right on the co-op ... they don't even give a discount for ordering more than one at a time. No break on shipping charges either ... kind of a bummer.
joy112854
Crestview, FL

October 26, 2008
4:36 AM

Post #5717252

p1mkw: I have 6 of the garden patch boxes myself, and I have bought 4 of the earth boxes, thanks to TPlant and Dave's Garden Club. LOL I haven't used the earth boxes yet; but, with TPlant's raving about them I'm buying 5 more. So; yes, we can blame her for my poverty now, right? LOL Just kidding Tplant, although you did give me the idea to look a little closer at them. The difference I see in both boxes is that the Garden Patch ones have a slot at the bottom that you stick water hose into and fill it up with water whereas the earth box you have a place at the top of the box to water which goes down into the reservoir, the covers on the EBs cover the boxes top completely, the Garden Patch ones do not, they are just flat pieces of plastic that you use plastic spikes, (they come with the boxes), to punch into the corners of the plastic cover to hold it into the dirt, weeds still get in by the way and so does water. The Garden Patch's fertilizer strip is in the center of the box not down one side like the EBs are. There are some differences, but, both I think will work almost equally well, I think I will probably like the EBs better though, will let you know for sure after this next Spring/Summer ok? Now as far as a watering system on a timer like the one Boca Bob has, it will probably work better in the EBs, don't know for sure.
joy112854
Tplant
Pembroke Pines, FL
(Zone 10a)

October 26, 2008
3:42 PM

Post #5718180

I know now because of this horrible osteoarthritis that I will eventually have to buy the self watering system but I guess it will be for the best for my EBs and of course my health and no gymgirl I can not build my own as the osteoarthritis also effects my fingers as they can not work with tiny fixtures also part of my carpul tunnel syndrome which numbs the tips of the fingers. I'd probably lose more parts than connect them but I'll find a way? I'm no quitter as I am a strong type A personality as are most polio survivors! However if ever you are in my neck of the woods? Love Ya!
Ted
gardenglory
Gainesville, FL
(Zone 9a)

October 26, 2008
3:47 PM

Post #5718203

I agree that the EB's ar much more condusive to auto water. Thank goodness, cuz thats what ive got and Im going to have to set up some sort of watering system. Its just a waste of money for me to set up any more without it.
Tplant
Pembroke Pines, FL
(Zone 10a)

October 26, 2008
4:09 PM

Post #5718296

gardenglory --- You can always set them up and then get the watering system? Don't forget the EBs have to be set first before the watering system as the water lines must be cut and fitted to the length of your next EB so don't hold back for that reason? Think of all the fun you will be missing meanwhile by not allowing them to do their thing? I feel incomplete when I'm not out there with my EBs although my time with them is getting shorter because of this darn osteoarthritis but my doctors have given me something new and with the periodic injections I'm hoping for relief and not shoulder replacement surgery for both shoulders?? No way If the Lord will help me?
gardenglory
Gainesville, FL
(Zone 9a)

October 26, 2008
4:21 PM

Post #5718335

I fell so sad when I hear of your shoulders. So many people are in such good health and just will do nothing. Here you have all the 'want to' and those shoulders. All prayers and good thoughts are with you.
IO1
Waaaay Down South, GA

October 26, 2008
6:20 PM

Post #5718716

Tplant ... go ahead and get the watering system. You can still go out there and talk to them babies. LOL I go out there and touch my plants and tell them how pretty they are. grin
joy112854
Crestview, FL

October 26, 2008
9:03 PM

Post #5719229

TPlant: You live in Pembroke Pines, Boca Bob lives in Boca Raton, that isn't that far away ya know? I used to live up on Riverland Road, Fort Lauderdale, so know the area well; but, now I'm in Crestview, 65 miles out of Pensacola, a completely different area, about 800 miles from you. I hear you on the surgery though, I was in a bad accident and the first thing the drs wanted to do was slice me open. I refused and years later am glad I did, pain is something I don't think anyone ever gets used to though. Have you tried Bio Medical Life Systems?
joy112854
Tplant
Pembroke Pines, FL
(Zone 10a)

October 26, 2008
9:32 PM

Post #5719342

We know of it but it is not suited for my purpose as I am in pain only when I work and I do have a complete vibrator-massage pad on my recliner that is from head to toe that I use after taking darvocette to relax. My pain happens mainly when I work or lift my arms over my shoulders but I am getting better. Thank you for your unselfish and time consuming research to help me? Wait till you see the difference in the growth quality of my sickly tomatos that I planted less than a week ago? I could not believe today that they were the same plants. Will take pictures tomorrow!
Ted
joy112854
Crestview, FL

October 26, 2008
11:22 PM

Post #5719787

TPlant: What we have to do is figure a way to get those EBs up off the ground for you and at about waist level, that way you won't have to strain so much. How much does each box when full of dirt, plant and water weigh by the way?
joy112854
CapeCodGardener
Mid-Cape, MA
(Zone 7a)

October 27, 2008
12:32 AM

Post #5720013

Joy, I would be interested in this question just out of curiosity, since I lifted, drained, and emptied (and washed out) 12 EBs yesterday! I'm still standing upright. . . but I wondered how much weight I was shifting!
gardenglory
Gainesville, FL
(Zone 9a)

October 27, 2008
12:36 AM

Post #5720021

Gosh, I cant even lift by myslef, one of those giant bags of jungle growth I put in. If im alone, I have to get two of the big bags. Then you add the weight of three gallons of milk. Thats a heavy load.
Tplant
Pembroke Pines, FL
(Zone 10a)

October 27, 2008
1:14 AM

Post #5720136

They weigh sixty pounds when full with mix and water. To put them up on a table would make me reach even higher to tend them? The bench would be 3' high and a full grown plant another 6' would equal 9' tall? As far as Jungle Growth is concerned buy the 2 cu ft bag and not the hernia making 3 cu ft bag as their is no differnce in price.
I use a hand truck to move them when necessary. I work from a Gardeners Garden scooter so their is no problem working the ground. No way could I lift them at this time of my life. There is no need to lift an EB if you have a hand truck with the large wheels from Home Depot or Lowes.
joy112854
Crestview, FL

October 27, 2008
5:41 AM

Post #5720773

oh, I have a table I bought for $20 and out of curiosity tonight decided to see how many boxes would sit on them and managed to sit 6 on the table, I do have a picnic table also; which will hold 4 and the seats 2 each, so that's 12 of the 15. That means I'll probably pick some of those cement blocks and boards before Spring. With the Garden Patch Boxes you do have to bend to water them and if they are on the ground you are bending; but with the EB's you water from the top, of course, my plants didn't get that tall except my okra and I might just put it back on the ground again this year because of that too. LOL With tomato plants I hear if you pinch them off at the top they will spread out instead of grow straight up? Never tried it though, so wouldn't know. Just a tip someone gave me. For the topsy turvys, I got a topsy turvy waterer, which is a stick type thing that you attatch a 1 liter bottle of water to and just water it that way, the 2 liters would be too heavy, of course. And who could lift a EB on their own? I couldn't, I have people put them where I want them and then they don't get moved. LOL Same with the Jungle Grow and I buy the 2 cu bags. I let someone know when I need them to come over and they take them out of the trunk, the guys at Lowes puts them in the trunk.
joy112854
Tplant
Pembroke Pines, FL
(Zone 10a)

November 5, 2008
1:30 AM

Post #5753252

Now I see where you will appreciate Bobs coco coir bags @12 lbs per bulk and fills one and a half EBs when re-hydrated and requires no lime and no lugging..
joy112854
Crestview, FL

November 6, 2008
2:16 AM

Post #5757388

TPlant: yes, I know but what I've ordered from Bob will stay in south FL, sniffles, I will have to order more and pick it up again in March for up here. Mike will be growing my veggies, of course, if Boca Bob wants an artichoke plant or two and you do I have 12 startings that will be making the trip to south florida with me. I have 42 startings, 12 artichokes, about 9 eggplants, the rest cauliflower and cabbage. So, you two speak now or hold your peace. LOL They look pretty healthy to me, but of course, I'm babying them. The next trick is packing them up in my suitcase for the trip down there and taking the Greyhound in December to Mikes. At Mikes, I will then plant them in the coconut coir grow bags at his house and he will take care of them. He's not wild about artichoke hearts and wants some tomato seeds from me, so, will cart them also.
joy112854
Tplant
Pembroke Pines, FL
(Zone 10a)

November 6, 2008
2:56 PM

Post #5758642

Joy -- Do you think artichoke will grow down here? According to my zone growing charts they will not so it would probably be a waste for you to lug them down here, but I do appreciate the offer. Cauliflower and cabbage I would not grow as they are not one of my favored foods but thank you for you kind and unselfish offer.
Ted
joy112854
Crestview, FL

November 7, 2008
4:07 AM

Post #5761560

Ted: Well, they aren't going to be but startings, and Mike has lots of growing experience, we are going to be putting them into Boca Bobs grow bags (smiles).
You are welcome.
joy112854
BocaBob
Boca Raton, FL
(Zone 10a)

November 7, 2008
8:28 AM

Post #5761957

I'll try one to see how they do. Never grew a artichoke before.

BocaBob
gardenglory
Gainesville, FL
(Zone 9a)

November 7, 2008
12:25 PM

Post #5762177

Just get the variety that only takes a year, some take 2 years.
joy112854
Crestview, FL

November 7, 2008
2:08 PM

Post #5762473

Gardenglory: They are the Imperial Star ones.
Boca Bob: I will have to delay the trip down from the 4th of Dec to 8th of Dec now, as my neighbor was mugged and hit over the head with a baseball bat, don't want to leave with him in that condition, he goes back to the dr around Dec 4th and appears to be doing fine so far, looks like a racoon with his two eyes blacked and the sheriff's dept says they will have the culprit soon. So; I've just been over to my house long enough to water plants and then back over here.
joy112854
BocaBob
Boca Raton, FL
(Zone 10a)

November 8, 2008
12:03 AM

Post #5764479

Mike got the goods today!!!!!!!! Hope your friend feels better every day.

BocaBob
joy112854
Crestview, FL

November 8, 2008
6:54 AM

Post #5765487

Boca Bob: Mike told me, and my friend is more worried about his looks (both eyes are black and blue) than his head, I'm more concerned with the head as I know the black eyes will heal; but, it will take time, he is over anxious, as most men are right? LOL
joy112854
texasrockgarden
Canyon Lake, TX
(Zone 8b)

November 10, 2008
9:05 PM

Post #5774951

I'd like to jump in here and ask a couple Qs about the EBs.

I'm 65 and have gardened for the most part of my life except for the last ten years. My, how things have changed with the container gardening and all.

I have ample real estate for an on ground garden if I haul in garden soil. My location in Central Texas affords basically rock for a growing medium which is not good.

I have been considering building raised beds (not all that inexpensive) and buying gardening soil at the tune of about $400-$750 per 12 yards delivered. However, after learning about the EBs on this website, this may be an option for for consideration.

Questions:

1. Is there info available that suggest how many of each veggie the Eb will accommodate?

2. With the Eb, operation in year one seems straight forward enough. In year two, what is required in terms of preparation to get the EB ready for planting?

Thanks
p1mkw
Danville, IN
(Zone 5b)

November 10, 2008
9:14 PM

Post #5774981

texasrockgarden,

as to what you can grown in EB's and how many, here's a link to the EB site that has that info.

http://www.earthbox.com/consumer/grow.html

as for #2 question, just keep reading thru some of these posts. Look for posts by Tplant as he is our resident EB expert. In a nutshell, I believe he basically removes the old fertilizer strip, adds new lime and fertlizer, puts on a new cover and is ready to go for another season. It is my understanding the same grow mix can be used for 2 or 3 years.
joy112854
Crestview, FL

November 10, 2008
9:44 PM

Post #5775166

Texasrockgarden: I believe that TPlant now says that the Jungle Growth Mix for containers, (it's in a blue bag) which is sold at Lowes for around $7.95), will last for up to 4 years unless of course you grow corn in it, as corn depletes all nutrients in the soil. All that is needed to be added to the Earth Boxes is 10-10-10 fertilizer and pelletized dolomite lime. It depends on what you are growing as to how many plants you can plant, for instance, for tomatoes, eggplant, or artichokes you can only plant two per box; but, for some of the other veggies, you can plant anywhere from 6 - 16 per box. Boca Bob has been using coconut coir instead of the suggested Jungle Growth and has some lay flat growbags and 5 gallon growbags. The bags are really inexpensive and come with the coconut coir to be inside the bag as the growing medium for the plants, just punch holes for drainage and for planting your plants in. You can find his supplies on the market place right here. I have gotten 10 of each of those; but, also have 5 earth boxes, and 6 Garden Patch boxes, 2 Square footers (Garden Supply) and 2 topsy turvys with 4 garden revolutionary planters (Garden Supply) - the latter I think being an improvement on the topsy turvy as it has it's own water reservoir and the topsy doesn't. All the rest I mentioned except the topsys and Boca Bobs' have their own reservoirs. You can compare the earth boxes with the garden patch ones (they are both $29.95 and shipping and handling- the garden patch ones are at www.aGardenPatch.com and the rest, except the topsy is of course at www.gardensupply.com. Boca Bob has shown us all how to make our own watering system on a timer also on other threads.
My boyfriend who lives in Fort Lauderdale, has nematoids so he is going to use the lay-flat bags and 5 gallon bags to grow his veggies in this year. I'm going to use coconut coir in my topsys and some EBs this Spring/summer
joy112854
joy112854
joy112854
Crestview, FL

November 14, 2008
6:47 AM

Post #5789240

Texas Rock Garden: You mentioned raised beds costing a lot right? I just got my Gardener's Supply Holiday 2008 mag today. On page 42 They have a self contained garden that has taken my eyes right now, It's called a grow bed, is 3 X 3 and is $49.95, what do you make of it? Let me know as this idea has crossed my mind also.
joy112854
Tplant
Pembroke Pines, FL
(Zone 10a)

November 14, 2008
2:15 PM

Post #5789849

Joy --- It would be real pretty to grow a bed of tulips or hycinths or special Holiday plants in it but it would be unique for such beautiful bulbs in season like tulips in Easter, Amarallis for Thanksgiving,etc. My neighbor has one like this around a palm tree and it is beautiful. A little larger than 3' x 3' but that doesn't matter with bulbs as they are planted closer for effect. I'd love to have two! One on each side of my walkway for special effect and with Bobs coir being so fine and water retentive it would look beautiful and the bulbs would love it with the addition of bone meal or Bulb Booster or even his special fertilizer. I'm going to buy some of his fertilizer as it has everything a plant needs especially my roses. Down here, I have to buy pre-cooled tulips and they can not be saved for the next season because of the heat unless dug up and refrigerated for the winter so it is best for me to buy from Heirloom Bulbs as they pre-cool.
joy112854
Crestview, FL

November 14, 2008
3:13 PM

Post #5790056

TPlant: I dont' dare plant tulips up here. LOL I'm sure they'd be a mess with my being their caretaker. I did of course, get around 80 daffodil bulbs, which I'm sure will be a challenge for me. I planted canna lilies in all my beds because they are easy to grow to start with. LOL You can overwater them, underwater them and they still keep on trucking onwards, just the plant for me. I notice too, that the few plants I brought into the house are starting to droop, like in that they are yelling "too much water, too much water", which is my habit of course. I bought aqua globes to solve that little problem and it seems to be working thus far. With that in mind, the self watering containers is what I should have, that is the decision I've made, now, what is intriguing me most about the coconut coir, is that you don't have to worry so much about overwatering, that is another plus for me. So; as you can tell, I'm trying to find what will work for me and possibly others who are beginners also. I'll probably wind up putting coconut coir in my flower beds themselves, I wonder if anyone has tried that and been successful?
joy112854
joy112854
Crestview, FL

November 14, 2008
4:30 PM

Post #5790343

TPlant and Bob: Here is what is in the fertilizer I already have on hand: Schultz's Tomato and Vegetable Slow Release Plant Food:
it's 10-12-12, and here is what the label says it also has: On the Nitrogen (7.0 is from Ammoniacal Nitrogen, 3.0 is from Urea Nitrogen), Phosphate is 12%, Soluable Potash is 12%, Sulfur is 2.8%, Boron is .02%, total copper is .05%, total iron is 1.0 %, total maganese is .05%, molybenum is .0005%, total zinc is .05%. Is it missing anything? Do I still need epsom salts, cause I could add that myself couldn't I? I have a huge 4 lb bag of it, also what about gypsom?
joy112854
texasrockgarden
Canyon Lake, TX
(Zone 8b)

November 14, 2008
4:56 PM

Post #5790442

Joy, The self contained garden you referred to looks nice and should work great. I will definitely put it on my wish list, especially the 3' x 6' size.

Here is where I am at now (see picture). The inside dimension is 2'x6'x8". There are two 40 lb. bags of composted manure covering 2" of the bottom ($2.92). Next is 1/3 cu. yd. organic rose mix purchased in bulk that I hauled in my P/U ($11.85). There are 14 cinder blocks at a cost of $20.61. The total cost of this unit is $35.39. I purchased the material the day before yesterday and built the bed yesterday.

As you can see putting these together goes pretty quick. The hardest part of the job is the excavation of the old soil which I had hauled in about 20 years ago.

The reason I want to get away from the old row & furrow method is that it is too hard on my back any more to rebuild the rows ever year after tilling.

I am also trying the wheat straw bales this year - picking up 10 bales tomorrow morning @ $5.25 ea for new crop. The seller said he may have some left over from last year at a lower price.

The Earth Box concept is very attractive to me and I also have it on my wish list.

I enjoy reading what others are doing on this web site and look forward reading more about everyones adventures into gardening.

Thumbnail by texasrockgarden
Click the image for an enlarged view.

BocaBob
Boca Raton, FL
(Zone 10a)

November 14, 2008
5:37 PM

Post #5790620

Joy- Compared to my fertilizer, yours doesn't seem to have calcium or magnesium. You probably could add those with Espoma's Organic Garden Lime that T-Plant adds to his Earthboxes. Not sure about the epsom salt. For some reason it is used in addtioin with my fertilizer.

BocaBob
joy112854
Crestview, FL

November 14, 2008
6:53 PM

Post #5790870

Bob: What I'm wanting to do this Spring and Summer I think, is experiment a little. I have 6 garden patch boxes, 5 earth boxes, 2 of the square footers from garden supply, 2 topsy turvys and 4 revolutionary planters from garden supply and I'm going to use different mix types in all I think, and then see which I find fits my style of gardening the best. I have some of garden supply's self watering container mix, will get some of the coconut coir you have, and will get some more Jungle Growth and probably try and find some Pro Mix. I will use up the fertilizer I have and then decide from there; by comparing pics on this site as to who is using what and decide from there. I also think that adding coconut coir to my flower beds wouldn't hurt as maybe the water would get to the roots of my flowers better? I do have a tendency to overwater and that is why I feel the coconut coir, the self-watering containers and such are better for me than a regular garden.
joy112854
Tplant
Pembroke Pines, FL
(Zone 10a)

November 14, 2008
9:20 PM

Post #5791322

If you have such a problem with drowning your plants then water every third day and that's it!
joy112854
Crestview, FL

November 15, 2008
12:52 AM

Post #5791982

TPlant: Thanks, I'll try to remember that and train my hands by clinching them behind my back when I think they look thirsty. LOL Every third day, got it.
joy112854
Tplant
Pembroke Pines, FL
(Zone 10a)

November 15, 2008
1:18 AM

Post #5792087

Better yet spend eight dollars for a moisture meter at Lowes and stick it in your mix and it will tell you if you need water.
IO1
Waaaay Down South, GA

November 15, 2008
4:01 AM

Post #5792563

Tplant, I followed your instructions and purchased one. It's the greatest thing since peanut butter! LOL
CapeCodGardener
Mid-Cape, MA
(Zone 7a)

November 15, 2008
4:29 AM

Post #5792618

I read today that a good method to test your soil's moisture is to stick a screwdriver in and see if it goes in easily--If not, water.
But I prefer my moisture-meter. It's amazing how much more accurate it is than my eyes or my fore-finger. I have two: one has a relatively short probe (about 3 1/2 inches) for container plants, and one is longer, for checking the soil in my beds outside.
joy112854
Crestview, FL

November 15, 2008
7:25 PM

Post #5794379

ok guys, don't fall down laughing too hard over this one; but, I'm puzzled here. Usually, when you have plants outside they like lots of water right? Well, because winter is coming I brought in my two citronella plants, my 2 geraniums and my 2 shamrocks. Well, I watered them all (Joyce and her watering can right)? That was two weeks ago, I bought these aqua globes and they finally arrived. All seem to be flourishing fine, except the big citronella plant. I mean that one I actually heard the glug, glug, glug and the aqua bulb was empty. It just can't seem to get enough water. It's been getting watered every day now. I'm tempted to pull it out of the pot and look at the roots and see if there are gold fish attatched to it or something. What's up with that, as usually when plants are indoors they need less water right?
joy112854
Tplant
Pembroke Pines, FL
(Zone 10a)

November 15, 2008
10:23 PM

Post #5794948

Will you please go buy a meter and find out? You can not make a mistake with it by overwatering.
David_Paul
Clinton, CT
(Zone 6b)

November 16, 2008
2:07 AM

Post #5795815

Epsom salts are magnesium sulfate. There is magnesium carbonate in dolomitic limestone as well as in many limestones that aren't labeled "dolomitic".

Those limestone adds both the magnesium and calcium plants need.

I may be missing something but the only reason I can see for Epsom salts is when you don't want to raise the pH by adding limestone or on clay soils (magnesium sulfate as well as calcium sulfate, gypsum, are used to condition clay soils).

Too much magnesium can block calcium uptake. If putting epsom salt and dolomitic limestone in an EB would result in that situation I don't know but it seems it could.
Moonglow
Corte Madera, CA

November 16, 2008
5:58 AM

Post #5796381

I almost bought 10 EBs online, but the $69 shipping is HOLDING ME BACK! I will probably buy 10 GPs before the evening ends.

=)

Annapet

David_Paul
Clinton, CT
(Zone 6b)

November 16, 2008
6:46 AM

Post #5796411

moonglow . . .lol...I bought five EBs last winter and went through a debate with myself too. It is a chunk of change.
Moonglow
Corte Madera, CA

November 16, 2008
7:45 AM

Post #5796432

15 more minutes...

hubby says i should find out first how much bonus i'm getting. lol.
David_Paul
Clinton, CT
(Zone 6b)

November 16, 2008
8:00 AM

Post #5796441

Amortize the cost for him ^_^

You'll have them for a long time.



This message was edited Nov 16, 2008 3:06 AM
BocaBob
Boca Raton, FL
(Zone 10a)

November 16, 2008
10:21 AM

Post #5796562

David_Paul I called HGI to get a definitive answer why add Epsom salt to their fertilizer. They recommend adding it to all their blends. Unfortunately I got the receptionist and she could not give me a good answer I could share especially with joy who is determined to use Epsom salt on everything. LOL I will call Monday and try to talk to the owner.

BocaBob
David_Paul
Clinton, CT
(Zone 6b)

November 16, 2008
11:05 AM

Post #5796584

Boca Bob. I would be very curious to know. For self-watering containers why not a limestone which provides both magnesium and calcium instead?

I'm pretty sure I know the answer but I've written to the Epsom Salt Industry Council and asked why it advocates using magnesium sulfate on a regular basis to feed lawns, trees, shrubs, tomatoes, roses, etc when some soils have more than enough or even too much magnesium in them.

So far, no answer.

The Council sees magnesium sulfate as a beneficial to almost everything except sage:

http://www.epsomsaltcouncil.org/garden_usage_tips.htm

I don't know if tossing Epsom Salts on soils which already have enough magnesium has, beyond the possibility of blocking calcium uptake and wasting money, any ill effects. I suppose if it had the negative effects too much phosphorus , for instance, can do to the environment, we would have heard about it.
joy112854
Crestview, FL

November 16, 2008
11:55 AM

Post #5796643

From what I've read epsom salts strengthens the stalks of the plants. Not just veggie growers use it. Flower growers use it too. I not only grow veggies; but grow canna lilies too, and the epsom salts added just a bit to the canna beds, makes the stalks stronger. It does work, as I've tried it. Maybe that is part of why Boca Bob's plants are so healthy also? I don't know much being a beginner; but, have been told by people that grow cannas that adding epsom salts to the beds of cannas make the stalks thicker and it does, believe me, I got about 80 cannas round the beds at my house. Brrr, it's getting cold here right now. Remember I'm in zone 8 B and in NW Florida, we aint' growing much of anything, except inside or in green houses. My cannas will take the cold as they do every year; but no veggies right now and my cannas and daffodils will go down for the winter. Time for me to fly south, so Mike can teach me more about gardening. He has some coconut coir bags awaiting for me and startings I started up here.
joy112854
Moonglow
Corte Madera, CA

November 16, 2008
4:12 PM

Post #5797380

Good discussion here. Come spring I will have enough tomatoes to experiment on, and i will have a control group and experimental group with Epsom salt added.

David_Paul, I survived the night without buying the EBs yet. Perhaps Santa will bring me some.
joy112854
Crestview, FL

November 16, 2008
7:26 PM

Post #5798110

Moonglow: Maybe they will give free shipping over the holidays, I suspect there will be lots of that going on everywhere with our economy. Since I haven't used the EB's yet; I couldn't tell whether you'd like the EBs better or the GPs. I'll know which one I like better after this Spring/Summer. I noticed that if you order in quantity the price goes down. With the EBs if you order 10 it's $334, if you order 10 GP's it's $299.50 which is a $35.50 savings, is that what you are coming up with? If not, I got the coupon codes you can use? Of course the earth box code is from 2005, the GP from 2008. Can you believe I found one of those ads in a book my dad had? Makes me wonder if he had thought about using them too. He didn't need to he was quite the gardener I only dream of being one day. I can still remember the size of the tomatoes he used to grow up in Ohio when I was just a little girl, his beefsteaks were as big as grapefruits and juicy. They taste different down here in Florida for some reason.
joy112854
Tplant
Pembroke Pines, FL
(Zone 10a)

November 16, 2008
11:35 PM

Post #5798931

Joy --- When you start to grow your own heirlooms only, you will discover what a tomato really tastes like. Try Sudduth Brandywine, OTV Brandywine, Delicious, Black Cherry, Marvel Stripe, Hillbilly and many others. I've never tasted an heirloom that I didn't truly enjoy.
The reason why I am an EB fan is because of its many qualities such as the available covers, the staking system which is great especially if growing on concrete as a flimsy cage just won't hold up an heirloom plus the casters which make them easy to move around and an available self watering system. All these things add up especially if you have to go away for a week or two or more that is with the self-watering system.
joy112854
Crestview, FL

November 17, 2008
7:26 AM

Post #5799995

TPlant: Have you tried the new red mulch covers yet that EB is offering? I'm curious, as you will have time to use them before I will and would like to see if there is any difference, for some reason red makes tomatoes grow better.
joy112854
Tplant
Pembroke Pines, FL
(Zone 10a)

November 17, 2008
2:43 PM

Post #5800628

Carolyn once explained that it is advertised to produce 10% or more tomatos by using red mulch covers. This may be well for professional farmers but not the hobbyist as we are at DG. For example a plant will produce twenty tomatos X 10% = 2 more tomatos so you tell me is it worth the extra cost as we always have more tomatos than we can eat anyway and usually give away the excess besides it has never been proven, at least, to my knowledge?
David_Paul
Clinton, CT
(Zone 6b)

November 17, 2008
3:11 PM

Post #5800755

The red mulch studies were done on field crops. Its doubtful if the small amount of red light reflected by an EB cover or red mulch around a few plants has any effect at all. In addition the field crop results were all over the place. Sometimes an increase in yield with red mulch was seen, sometimes there was no difference between red, black and reflective mulch. From the University of Vermont:

[quote]Studies of red mulch have not shown consistent results. Red mulch sometimes increases yield of tomatoes, but not always. Different tomato varieties also appear to respond differently to the red mulch. [/quote]

http://www.uvm.edu/vtvegandberry/factsheets/plasticprimer.html



This message was edited Nov 17, 2008 10:13 AM
joy112854
Crestview, FL

November 17, 2008
3:31 PM

Post #5800843

Oh, ok, I have seen these red plastic thingys that people have been using also that claim the same thing. Where I am, I would want white covers facing up like yours right? I need new covers for the garden patch boxes so thought I'd use the mulch covers sold by EB for them also.
joy112854
Tplant
Pembroke Pines, FL
(Zone 10a)

November 17, 2008
3:34 PM

Post #5800869

Will they fit?
joy112854
Crestview, FL

November 17, 2008
4:02 PM

Post #5800978

TPlant: They should, the GP boxes are a tad bit bigger than the EB boxes, about 1" bigger but not much more than that, think I can tug it to fit that much bigger? I've even thought about ordering a few extras as I have two of the square footers and they don't have mulch covers, I could cut them to right size for them too. I like the EB covers better than the plastic that they use with the GP's, the EB covers totally cover the top, the plastic on the GP's don't and weeds still get in a bit.
joy112854
BocaBob
Boca Raton, FL
(Zone 10a)

November 18, 2008
11:35 PM

Post #5806580

David_Paul - I talked to the owner Of HGI (where I get my fertilizer) and got a good explanation why to add Epsom salt to the fertilizer. Since he supplies mostly commercial greenhouse growers, they are not growing in the ground, they are growing soil less and vegetables need a healthy amount of magnesium to be very healthy. He doesn't add the Epsom salt to his formula because of a couple of reasons. Firstly, its cheap and readily available everywhere. Secondly it collects moisture so it would cake up the fertilizer. No need to cheapen his high quality formula. All sounds good to me. Comments? I also asked him why fertilizers like Miracle Gro don't have calcium or magnesium in it and he said they assume you are growing in the ground where both of those a available

BocaBob

rockette

rockette

(Zone 4b)

January 3, 2009
5:51 PM

Post #5961040

I just came across this forum and am interested in purchasing 5-7. I see in one of the above posts it was mentioned that both are about the same price. I checked the website for EB and it is $55 and for GP $30, what I have overlooked?
I appreciate all the information. Any chance of a co-op?!!
p1mkw
Danville, IN
(Zone 5b)

January 3, 2009
6:15 PM

Post #5961109

Rockette, if you compare only the boxes, they are about the same price ... both around $30; the $55 for the Earthbox is the complete system, including the planting medium and fertilizer and lime.
David_Paul
Clinton, CT
(Zone 6b)

January 3, 2009
6:17 PM

Post #5961121

An Earthbox is $29.95 if you don't buy the potting mix, fertilizer and casters.

That is how I bought mine.

rockette

rockette

(Zone 4b)

January 3, 2009
7:28 PM

Post #5961277

Thanks for the information.

I think I would like to have the casters but can I purchase them in addition. I went on the web and am not finding how to purchase bits and pieces.

I am somewhat new to gardening and need to ask what kind of fertilizer would I purchase? Regular potting soil?

rockette

rockette

(Zone 4b)

January 3, 2009
7:35 PM

Post #5961291

I now see on the side bar there is a caster kit. I best get back to window shopping! ^_^
joy112854
Crestview, FL

January 3, 2009
7:48 PM

Post #5961343

Rockette: no, don't use garden soil, use a potting mix, like Jungle Growth for containers, that is what I use or a lot of people are using coconut coir, it is very light. You use either 3 cups of organic fertilizer or 2 cups of granular fertilizer, not time released and not liquid. You must also use 2 cups of dolomite lime, I think most people use Epsoma brand here.
joy112854
Tplant
Pembroke Pines, FL
(Zone 10a)

January 3, 2009
8:37 PM

Post #5961530

And the EBs include the casters in with the price!

rockette

rockette

(Zone 4b)

January 3, 2009
10:23 PM

Post #5961987

Tplant:
Only if I buy the complete kit, correct? If I purchase only the earthbox it appears the casters are not included and I would need to purchase them separately for an extra $9.

Thank you to all for the information and help!
Tplant
Pembroke Pines, FL
(Zone 10a)

January 4, 2009
4:44 PM

Post #5964759

Yes, I just looked it up and it appears you are right? They used to offer the casters but probably had to stop because of the economy crunch. I imagine they lost a bundle in the market as a lot of us have. Order the EB w/casters if you really need them as they are a great asset on solid ground if they have to be moved. I don't use them as I grow on weed cloth.

rockette

rockette

(Zone 4b)

January 4, 2009
5:17 PM

Post #5964844

Thanks Tplant:
Some of the boxes will be maintained on a patio or deck so I am thinking the casters will be helpful to keep it off the ground.
I appreciate all the information.
joy112854
Crestview, FL

January 4, 2009
5:18 PM

Post #5964852

TPlant: I have two boxes of weed cloth myself, but, am probably going to use both in my canna lily beds. All I gotta get before Spring is the staples and that should be no problem. I was going to use huge black garbage bags torn apart to cover my pallots which are going to be sitting on top of cardboard, (also covered with trash bags), and then the pallots put on the cardboard and then the EBs set on top of that. I hope that will work.

My guys are coming out to finish removing the stumps in the front yard this weekend, so I can then plant an Empress tree and a Muskogee Crepe Myrtle on both sides of the front yard. I have Enchinacea seeds coming and Shasta Daisy seeds coming which I was going to plant up under the trees once the trees got healthy; but, now I'm getting a bit concerned as I hear the Enchinacea's draw slugs which draw moles and voles? Ever hear about that? My fear is they will destroy the trees, the Enchinaceas, the daisies and then make their way back to my back yard and EBs? Is that possible and should I be ordering some Sluggo before then?
joy112854
Tplant
Pembroke Pines, FL
(Zone 10a)

January 4, 2009
5:22 PM

Post #5964875

Can't say as I've never had that problem down here.
joy112854
Crestview, FL

January 4, 2009
6:12 PM

Post #5965070

TPlant: Looks like I'll be getting some pails from a guy soon that has plenty to get rid of for HEBs and I'm ordering 5 more EBs before Spring, I also have Growin Bags coming from Parks, 2 sets which will be 4 bags per set, I figure I will plant peas and beans in them instead of strawberries, and free up my EBs for other things. I've got more projects going on than carter has peanuts I think this Spring/Summer. This weekend my shed gets cleaned and organized and all the gardening stuff gets transferred from my family room to the shed. I noticed something here also. The packages of coconut coir don't take up as much room, as the huge 3 cu ft bags of Jungle Growth, and since it's supposed to be lighter will probably be using it in my grow bags too; plus it would be nice to be able to move around a bit in that shed hey? Let's not forget I got 2 blueberry bushes coming in too. LOL
joy112854

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