I really like them. I've tried a number of ways to grow vegetables, particularly tomatoes. Earth Boxes are the best planter I've tried. They've worked well during summers where we had droughts and super cold soggy summers.
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The smaller is a more experimental idea and may just be TOO small I recommend building 2 of which ever you chose to bring down cost From here on out I will call mine TerraHydro Boxes Further explanation of the science is in the first step of this project. Advantages: The advantages of growing plants in a TerraHydro Box are abundant.
I harvested gallons and gallons of salsa. Way to much in fact, haha While I still recommend 6 tomato plants for the large THB, 2 would be better for the small one. Six plants was just too much vegetation for such a small area and the plant were a little small from not getting enough light. Check my account soon for more garden projects in ! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson. Here is an explanation or TetraHydro Boxes and how they work. The first image is a cutaway from the Earthbox website and helps you understand what i am saying if you have never seen one. Essentially, you have a large plastic tub, with a water reservoir in the bottom, dirt on top with a huge strip of fertilizer, and the whole thing acts similar to a hydro system for growing plants and vegetables.
If you don't know what hydro growing is, the short and sweet version is: it it a growing system with no dirt, that allows the roots to grow in a large bucket of fertilized water. After taking apart an Earthbox after a season of growth i discovered all of the roots had reached the water reservoir and were doing just that. NOTE: whether you use my build design or not there are two things i know are very important that most other guides overlook.
In order for the "hydro" part of the earth box to work the water reservoir has to be absolutely dark, to promote roots and discourage algae, and there also must be tons of hole in whatever device you use to separate the water and dirt. Other wise you end up with wet dirt, like you needed, but root bound plants which is not as good for plant health.
Earthbox is a good system. A great system even. Just wayyy overpriced. My TetraHydro Box is based off the same principles, and i deviate in a few small ways, but usually will tell why i did and what Earthbox recommends instead. For example Earth boxes recommends only 2 tomato plants per box, yet i have grown 6, even in their box, with tons of success so that is how i do it now.
Perhaps they have a reason, or think they have a reason for why you should only plant 2 plants, but i think its just to sell more boxes The majority seems like educated guesses from smart people, so i use their instructions as a guide and experiment with my own ideas too :.
I will simultaneously explain how to build 2 different TetraHydro Boxes and I recommend you build 2 of whichever you choose. I need to remind you. The smaller version is experimental!!
I have been pushing the limits on the Earthbox since i got it to see how much it can grow, and know that the large TetraHydro Box can grow 6 tomato plants!!
But the small TetraHydro box is experimental in that i am now wondering how small the box can be as long as it has essential nutrients and plenty of water. If you are new to this goring system First is the list for each box system and below is a more detail description with important notes on items like the fertilizer and dirt.
Details: -Box Nothing to specific make sure its large enough and will hold the basket with holes in it upside down. If you don't buy the suggested bin you will have a good understanding of how to pick your own by the end of the guide. Earthbox says the difference is that soil contains rocks and mix does not. I have no idea where they came up with that idea.
I have never seen a rock in potting soil, and so what if there was a few is it worth double the price? The difference i do know of tho is that potting MIX has already been fertilized and they add perlite. Perhaps that is worth paying double for, i don't know tho. I've used them both in separate boxes simultaneously and noticed no difference.
The one i am using is I guess I am just defiant Strange considering how important it is for gardening tho. Earthbox recommends you use dolomite or hydrated lime. I understand that the lime used for concrete can also be used but may burn plants.
The brand I found at home depot was cheap enough and has way more benefits too. The purpose is too raise the soil ph as most vegtables need more acidic soil and also to fortify the soil with calcium. Without your plants may suffer from what is called blossom end rot and it ruins you crop.
I have seen it personally years ago and would add the vitamin tablets of calcium or crushed egg shells after ward, but the garden lime i found has tons of other vitamins and minerals too.
I used a step bit so mine cam out random sizes. Ignore the etra steps already don on the large one Cut yur 1" pvc so that it is long enough to reach from the bottom of your box and stick out a few inches. Notch the end if you like to make sure it won't sit flat on the bottom and get clogged. Next put your basket into your box upside down and cut a corner of the basket to penetrate the pvc through. Sorry no pic of the large bin because if forgot till i had added some dirt! It is important to put your drain hole at the top of where your water line should be.
So put it at the top of the basket. Try to make the hole in the side the same size as yur drain hose but there is no reason to make it a perfect fit or seal it of Fill the box halfway with dirt. Next, fill the reservoir with water till it starts coming out your drain hole. Then thoroughly soak the dirt down for at least 60 seconds so it is completely drenched throughout. You can even "massage" the dirt a little with your hands to get it to soak in everywhere.
Next, add the rest of the dirt to top off your box and soak the dirt for another 60 seconds. For the small TetraHydro Box there is no garden lime left to add, but for the large box and the rest of the garden lime and for both add your strip of fertilizer. Earthbox recommends different arrangements for different plants, but personally i always grow 6 plants with a strip in the middle. They recommend 2 tomato plants but i have grown 6.
Usually i like to mix and match tho. Like 4 tomatoes, a pepper and a large leafy plant like squash or cucumber. In any case Cover the fertilizer again and when you add the plants try not to disturb the fertilizer strip at all. The Earthbox recommendations are attached as a pic.
Stretch a large thick trash bag over as a cover. For the large TetraHydro Boxes this is a little difficult. Once the bag is over tho, poke holes thru so the watering pip can come through and to lay out your plants.
Make the holes as small as possible. Since the small boxes are more experimental i added 4 tomatoes to one and 6 to the other. We'll see what it can handle. With the large boxes tho I know it can handle 6 tomatoes even so one has 4 tomatoes, an egglplant and a cucumber, and the other has 3 tomatoes, a squash, and a cucumber, with one more spot awaiting a pepper probably : Enjoy your veggies!
If you like this guide please rate it with a star rating to the right of this text and leave comments with constructive criticism : Thanks :. Great Idea. However, it does lack the wicking system that GardenBox has which allows two corners of the soil to be submerged in water. You may need another small plastic container to pull that off. I believe there is a particular importance to the wicking system especially if you prefer to use a homemade liquid compost tea as an organic fertilizer rather than chemicals.
Reply 2 years ago. If the baskets are a little smaller than the bottom of the tote, the soil does go down around them on the edges and wick water up.
Tip 2 years ago on Step 8. I love this tutorial and have come back to it on more than one occasion. Instead of trash bags, you can also get cheap vinyl tablecloths at the dollar store and stretch them over top, then tie twine around them to hold them in place.
The vinyl tablecloths are thicker. Question 2 years ago on Step 9. You can buy the sturdiest tub and materials and spend the same as 4 original earthboxes. Or save time and money. Do you notice higher yield compared to just plain soil?
Or a fertilizer tasting vegetable? Reply 5 years ago on Step 9. Reply 10 years ago on Introduction.
DIY Earth Box
An Earthbox planter is a patented brand of self-watering gardening containers with many benefits for small-space gardening. A homemade earth box planter is simple to build with some basic materials available from a hardware store. Construction of the growing container takes an afternoon and results in the rewarding benefit of growing your own fresh produce. An earth box is constructed with pipes and a filter screen so the planter has the capability of being a self-watering container.
Homemade Earth Box Planter