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Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 1:04 am
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This site has a nice tutorial about how to make an earth box out of a plastic crate. Perhaps you could use it as a guide for some ideas? :)

Here's a link to it:

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Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 5:11 pm
Location: LA area

That earth box idea is interesting Kisal. I have heard not-so-good things about planting edible fruit in plastic, though. I'm concerned about that. But the concept seems wonderful.

Blunt - I have never grown tomatoes before, and don't have any experience with 5 gallon buckets or self-watering containers, but I can comment to your idea of punching the holes up closer to the roots. This will not accomplish what you're thinking it will. I believe you are thinking that extra water will collect in the bottom, thus forming a 'reservoir' in the bottom of the bucket. However, this is not how the plant will see it. The plant will see it as the ground being flooded, and it will have it's roots in standing water, which in fact sort of 'drowns' the plant from the roots up. The idea that the holes could be 'below the roots' is somewhat deceiving. The holes could be 'below the roots' if the plant is still very young. By the end of the growing season, though, those roots will completely fill up the bucket. There will not be any 'below the roots' space.

I hope that answered at least one question for you! Good luck on the rest of it!

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Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 1:04 pm
Location: Massachusetts, USA

5 gallons should be enough to grow tomatoes, and a bucket should be fine: in my experience they don't need a lot of depth, just volume. You definitely want the drainage holes in the bottom, though. The idea behind having a water reservoir is that your potting medium can wick water up from it when it's needed, so it doesn't saturate the soil and rot the roots.

If you want to make your own reservoir, I'd recommend placing some gravel in the bottom of it and then the bucket on top of the gravel, so you're sure the drainage holes in the bottom of the bucket will be exposed. I've had some trouble using non-standard pots because my drainage holes are flat in contact with the ground, essentially closing them up again.

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Joined: Thu May 07, 2009 9:27 am
Location: Maine

Thanks for the info on placing drainage holes. I will be sure to place them at bottom of container. I read a article about placing gravel under the soil (it looked to be about 6 inches beep in a 5 gallon bucket) with a container for water in it covered by a single layer of weed cloth. (the container is filled with gravel as well) I currently have the gravel but no container or weed cloth and have issues with rapid drying. I will also be looking into a metered drip irrigation system (rubber hoses with holes) hooked up to a timer. But it sounds pricey so will most likely stick with garden hose and calibrated eye balls :)

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Joined: Fri May 29, 2009 2:06 pm
Location: Boise

I made my own "EarthTainer's" out of 5 gallon buckets here's a few photos of the results thus far:


This is the first time I've grown anything and so far it looks like I'll be getting fruit in a few weeks.

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