pepperhead212
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Are there any Earthbox growers here?

I just started using them for the first time, due to a sale on them (probably due to the the recent takeover, they had this sale last winter), and a member who was touting them on another forum uses them extensively, since she is in FL, and has to grow many things in them, due to the soil diseases there. I had incredible growth on two eggplants in one, as well as four pepper plants in another, with huge production, as well as size - I have never grown poblanos as large as these, and the mustard habanero was the largest pepper plant I have ever grown! And the two eggplants (a hari and an ichiban) produced more than 5 plants in the ground. Watering was easy - I just had to adjust the drip emitters to keep the reservoir full, w/o overflowing, tweaking the input up a bit when it got hotter, and back down when it got cooler.

Anyone else with experiences in EB growing?

Here are the photos I took, though I didn't take any of the EP (I was too busy harvesting them! LOL).

https://s24.photobucket.com/user/pepperh ... t=6&page=1
Dave

imafan26
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Re: Are there any Earthbox growers here?

I made a homemade earth box. It lasts about 3 years since the rubbermaid tubs are not UV resistant. I grew tomatoes and peppers in them. The peppers were in 5 gallon modified self watering containers and one tomato in each 18 gallon rubbermaid tub box. One box did still get nematodes, probably from the starter plant. The other boxes were fine. I did find that banding 2-3 cups of fertilizer left a lot of unused fertilizer at the end, so I changed to my usual 1/2 cup of starter fertilizer and supplements at first bud, first fruit, and monthly thereafter. In the end, I used about the same amount of fertilizer but I did not have a mass of fertilizer in the tub. The reservoir held 5 gallons of water. I never put any lime in the tomato containers and I never got blossom end rot. In the beginning when the plants were small, I only needed to fill the reservoir once a week, but once the tomatoes started producing in summer, the tomato could drink up to 4 gallons of water a day so the reservoir was refilled daily. The cost of each container was less than $10.

https://www.postoilsolutions.org/documents/Earthbox.pdf
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

pepperhead212
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Re: Are there any Earthbox growers here?

Thanks for that file! I like those photos, and I will definitely try some of those 5 gal bucket set-ups. I have a LOT of buckets - 6, 5, and 4 gal, and maybe the 6 gal would be good underneath, for larger reservoirs. I saved that file, to look at closer at a later time. One thing I like is that I could run experiments, with the same plants (clones, if I want them to be really the same!) in the same sized buckets, with all the same, except some added nutrients, and one control plant, with nothing added.

Your mention of the BER, as well as the reminded me of some questions that I had for the lady in FL, since she had been growing in the for so long. One was why do they (those on the EB forum) suggest adding the CaNO3 to the water once a week (1 tsp), since it really isn't much in nutrients - just Ca and N. She said that is was mostly for the tomatoes, to prevent BER, and they really weren't doing it for other plants. And I also wondered about using that same mix the next season, not really knowing how much of that fertilizer actually dissolved. So do I cut it to 1/2, 3/4, or what? There was really no way to dig out that fertilizer (what is normally suggested), at least from those two that had those incredibly vigorously rooted plants I had to clean out (the hari eggplant and the mustard habanero). So I may do what you suggest, as for the fertilizer. Plus, I put some of my micronutrients from the hydroponics in there - the Karma, and some others - and I'm sure that helps, as it definitely helps in the hydro systems.
Dave

imafan26
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Re: Are there any Earthbox growers here?

BER is a physiologic relative calcium deficiency. Some people add extra calcium to the soil as a preventive. The real issue is not Calcium but uneven watering. The self watering container eliminates that problem as long as the reservoir has water.

Blossom end rot happens because in hot weather, the plants transpire more and larger plants with fruit need a lot of water. Unless you adjust the watering to water more often, sometimes 3 or four times a day, the tomatoes will get that afternoon wilt. This will disrupt the calcium transport within the tomato plant. The roots will not be able to transport the calcium in the soil, no matter how much calcium is actually present, to the leaves that need it. As a result, the tomato will do what it must to survive and take the calcium it needs from the fruit and that results in BER.

I use citrus food as my starter since it is a complete food with low numbers under 15, and it also contains micros.

I also really do not like giving acid loving plants more lime. Tomatoes like their soil pH between 6.0-6.8.

Five gallon buckets were good for small plants and peppers. I put one indeterminate tomato in an 18 gallon tub.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

pepperhead212
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Re: Are there any Earthbox growers here?

You're right about much of the problem of BER being uneven watering, but another major problem is genetics - some varieties are simply prone to it. I had another one of these this season - Sweet Carneros Pink - on which the first 20 or so fruits had BER; fortunately, it sort of outgrew it, but I was beginning to wonder if it would. A couple varieties through the years never outgrew it, and EVERY tomato had BER. Yet, the soil and the watering was the same in all of these cases, and other varieties had no BER.
Dave

imafan26
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Re: Are there any Earthbox growers here?

I have gotten BER, but only in standard pots in especially hot dry summers when it is nearly impossible to keep them from wilting. But even then it is rare. I found that by increasing the watering frequency and using a plastic bag as mulch on top of the soil, and a watering tube, keeps weeds down, retains moisture longer, and reduces splashing too. I had fewer problem, actually down to zero from BER. Variety may make a difference though, and since I need to use heat tolerant varieties, they may just be better at resisting BER. Unless I get a very heat resistant variety, even the ones I grow will stop producing fruit in the 90's. No fruit, no BER.

My standard starting fertilizer for a twenty inch pot or 18 gallon container is 1/2 cup citrus food. Otherwise the earthbox tutorial said to use 2 cups of fertilizer as a band in the pot. If you are using organic fertilizer it would be 3 cups. So, since I feed my plants intermittently, I use the rule for in ground plants. 1/4 of the total fertilizer requirement at the start with supplements of 1/4 of the total requirement at first but, first fruit and monthly thereafter while the plant is in production. I only use slow release like osmocote in smaller pots, so I will not burn plants so easily. In the ground, my soil analysis only requires nitrogen as phosphorus is extremely high and potassium and calcium are high. I do add compost and vermicompost with each planting which will add a little more phosphorus to the mix but it is more to feed the soil organisms and improve soil quality than to provide nutrients.

This is the analysis. It does not contain any calcium. It is an acidic fertilizer with micros.

My city water supply comes from a lens under the caprock that lies under the island and from dikes in the mountains that traps water in old lava tubes. It is naturally high in calcium but it is still soft water.

from Home Depot their Vigoro brand of fertilizers

citrus & avocado NPK 6-4-6 (also used for mangoes)


the following in percentages >>>>>

magnesium 1.0 sulfur 6.0 boron .02 copper .05 iron 1.0 manganese .05 molybdenum .0005 zinc .05

I used to use much higher numbered fertilizers like 10-20-20 plus, but I put in way too much of that. Using this fertilizer I would have to put in 1/4 cup as a starter and I would still have excess phosphorus and potassium for what the plants actually need.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

MrBote
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Re: Are there any Earthbox growers here?

I grow in earthbox types pretty much exclusively and have done so for about the last 7 years.

The large, indeterminate heirloom types love the extra calcium from my experience. But these types reach heights of 8-9 feet tall and move a LOT of water here in FL. zone 9. I have only added calcium nitrate to the water at the end of a longer than normal growing cycle of the would-be, cold weather types. I have been able to take these well into the month of May. I only added the calcium once in a month for a boost. These plants were putting out tomatoes 1-2 lbs. Below is "Brandywine" My personal favorite.

Image

Here's an Amana Orange, even though the photo has it looking yellow. This is from the tomato plant that would not quit. It put out tomatoes from Feb-June.
Image

This is my first year for cool weather crops. I took two years off of gardening because of a possible move. As I was cleaning out the containers, I decided may as well grow 'one' thing. That turned into 9 things. Mostly greens this time around. Since I can only really tend to it on weekends, greens were a safer bet.

Here is 3 cabbage plants of equal size growing in a round, 20 gallon tote that I cannot find anymore. These happen to only have Espoma's Garden Tone fertilizer. I was only going to grow one thing and with what I had on hand. It does have homemade potting mix with 2 parts peat, 1 part perlite, some rock dust and dolomite lime and a bit of Epsom salt in the initial reservoir fill. Each plant uses about a quart of water/day and are only getting about 6 hrs sunlight. I save rainwater and use that when possible.
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I thought perhaps I had started too early and that I was going to have a bolted crop. Two weeks ago, I could not feel any heads growing. A cold snap arrived and two weeks later, there is firm (actually hard), baseball sized heads out of seemingly nowhere on all 5 of my cabbage plants. The broccoli is beginning to flower as well. No more gardening boredom over the Winter months. Especially with the much lower occurrence of insect/disease issues!
Image

I have pruned a lot of lower leaves from the cabbages. Otherwise, the pot would be completely obscured by giant leaves all the way to the ground and finding the fill tube, difficult.

imafan26
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Re: Are there any Earthbox growers here?

Great pictures Mr. Bote. Brandywine was one of the first tomatoes I grew in my homemade earthbox. They were delicious. I am further south than you are and tomatoes over 1 pound are hard to come by, but Brandywine and Pruden's purple came close. My days are short and large fruit are prime targets for fruit flies and birds. The average big tomato here that does well is about 10 oz and has a very tough skin.

I tried to grow cabbage once, it took up a lot of space and the head only got fist sized before the slugs ate it. I buy head cabbage when I need it now. I prefer to grow the non-heading Asian greens instead, I have better luck with them and they do well and are much more expensive to buy than head cabbage.

In my earthboxes I grew mostly tomatoes, but I did put peppers in five gallon selfwatering containers and a few herbs in with the tomatoes when they were small. I planted garlic chives, basil, stevia, garden chives, mustard cabbage, marigolds, and nasturtiums as companions.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

MrBote
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Re: Are there any Earthbox growers here?

With mine it came down to an issue of timing and some years have more hours of cool weather than other years. With the tomatoes, I started the seeds under lights indoors on New Years day come hell or high water. Even as little as two weeks late from that date can have a negative effect on yield. By Feb, I was able to move the plants outdoors and they were still small enough to cover efficiently in the event of a hard freeze or frost. Typically, they will develop flowers a week or two after moving them outdoors. I realize there are differences in the zones here, or even the micro climates contained therein. 20 miles East, or North of me they have an easier time with cool weather crops. Florida is funny that way. Things that the planting charts say to plant can be a month or two off from general suggestions. My approach is really specific to my immediate area and it took me awhile to figure it out.

I also have chard, kale, spinach, strawberries, cauliflower and carrots growing, which are all experimental for me at this time and already I am realizing a need for some adjustments in the schedule for next year. It has occurred to me that the leafy greens that you mentioned are a good bet, but this was mostly spur of the moment and I had committed to what I have, being I was only just going to play with the system a bit this season.

With the old potting mix, instead of throwing it out, I use it to grow sweet potatoes for a couple years. The greens are actually tasty and they require no fertilizer other than what residual salts remain from the previous years after the fertilizer bands have been taken out. This past year, they grew through Spring and Summer, and I harvested about 60 rather large potatoes in October. I am known for my sweet potato pies and also gave away quite a few and they otherwise store for months.

Here's a rather large, "Maryanna's Peace" ( I am not sure if that is the exact name but it's like that) which broke the stem during a knock down in a wind storm that I had to pick a little early. It still ripened regardless. This tomato was actually hidden on the back side of overlapping plants and I would not have found it if not for the knock down.
Image

I too, usually grow tomatoes, but did get a crop of pineapples out of the dormant boxes and old potting mix, that required no fertilizer or very little water or attention from me in my 'off' years.

imafan26
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Re: Are there any Earthbox growers here?

I have tomatoes growing year round. I have a black cherry and a sungold producing in 18 gallon tubs now. There must not be much else out there for the birds to eat, they are getting most of my black cherry tomatoes , I have only been able to recover a handful of half ripe ones. They seem to go after the black cherry more than the sungold, maybe because they are bigger. They are starting to go after the sungold now too. I have some green papaya coming from the side arms of my topped papaya. Maybe when they ripen, the birds will leave the tomatoes alone. Birds usually will prefer the papaya to the tomatoes but will go after peppers first.

The birds get nearly all of the large tomatoes I have grown. They even open up fertilizer I have put in cheesecloth bags because they think I'm hiding fruit in them. I have covered them with bags and netted the trellis and what the birds don't get the slugs will. Bird netting makes it hard for me to get to the tomatoes too.

I don't have to start my tomatoes indoors but they don't germinate that well when the temperatures drop much below 68 degrees and we are hovering around that now. Since I only have room for three tomatoes at a time, I may buy my next start when I finally get this jicama out of the third pot. It is taking a long time for the seed pods to ripen. I am not expecting large roots so, I am going to save the seeds. I think I planted it too late. It needs 150 days of warm weather and it barely got that. Jicama seeds are not that easy to come by, so maybe I can use some of the seed for trade.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

MrBote
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Re: Are there any Earthbox growers here?

The possums give my grapes hell, and I have had a squirrel drag off part of a bag of tomato tone.

The heirloom tomatoes I grew, most were centrally located and the plants were perhaps too gnarly for them to get a safe vantage point. Raccoons got 4 out of my last 5 pineapples. I knew better. Swore I was going to put cages around them and never did.

Definitely liking the self watering containers though. They have put out a lot more food than I could have tended to in a traditional garden. I overdid it with tomatoes. My poor nephew was getting acidosis from all the tomato sandwiches he was eating. I think next time I am going to limit myself to two types.

As for lights, I used one, 4ft, two bulb shop light with those (not grow bulbs) daylight, 6500k bulbs and it made for some really stout tomato starts. Nicer than they had at the box store. All I gave them was Shultz liquid plant food at that time.

MrBote
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Re: Are there any Earthbox growers here?

ETA: the photo of the tomato in my last photo is not "Marianna's Peace." It's dubbed "1884." An heirloom said to be salvaged from flood debris in W. Virginia.

Per the title of this thread with regard to earthboxes, I don't think I could grow these types of cold weather heirlooms in the soil here, otherwise. I also think the earthboxes (or their clones) can be adapted to work pretty much anywhere, especially if you don't have the luxury of a greenhouse, or greenhouse climate. A lot of plants that they claim will grow here, many are indeed grown with a lot of help that the average home gardener cannot apply on a small scale, or cost effectively. I think that these self watering, semi-closed loop systems, help to bridge those differences.

imafan26
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Re: Are there any Earthbox growers here?

They do save water, by not having to soak the pots daily and having it running out of the drain holes. I can probably put some water soluble fertilizer in the well too. I have not done that because, when I built my first set of earthboxes I used the banded fertilizer. On the second set after I found I had so much fertilizer unused, I went to the side dressing method. I guess I could have done water soluble at that point but, granular worked and it was less costly than a water soluble in the long run.

My friend used self watering containers because she had her containers along her driveway and her job requires her to travel for weeks at a time. Her husband is a typical guy, he loves his shindaiwa but not too keen on doing daily watering. The self watering containers could take a few days of neglect, hopefully he would get to adding water before the wells ran dry.

I got more rubber maid tubs to make more containers. I did have problems when I used the lids, they would warp and collapse and the soil would get into the reservoir or block the drain holes. It is also hard for me to cut the holes out since I am doing it with a scissors. I might use two tubs instead, with the second one to hold the reservoir and cut pvc pipes for the supports. There will be less issues with the divider collapsing. I do have to get someone to cut the pvc pipes for me as I do not relish doing it with a hacksaw. I might experiment with wicks otherwise I still will have to cut the base for the soil tubes to be the wicks.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

MrBote
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Re: Are there any Earthbox growers here?

I use two tubs to make one like the "Earthtainer."
I use the scraps from the cut up one to make the supports. I just roll them into tubes held together with zip ties and then zip tie them to the aeration screen. I cut notches in the bottom so water flows thru them. I ended up getting a 25ft roll of flexible plastic (it's corrugated) pump suction line from the box store for like 9 bucks and make the fill tubes from that. I buy remnants of panda film from ebay to make the mulch covers. I can probably get 9 or 10 covers for what two of the shower caps for the earth box costs and they last a lot longer.

I no longer ( Just recently) tie the mulch covers over the top like a shower cap, but instead, tuck them in around the sides, which allows rainwater, along with it's nitrates to get into the reservoir down the sides. A free booster shot now and then at the very least.

Image

MrBote
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Re: Are there any Earthbox growers here?

A little SWC update. Cabbages are growing superbly in the 20 gallon round tote. Three growing in this one, all at different stages of maturity. I could harvest this one now. It's about 8" across and very firm.
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Also, broccoli is heading up nicely.
Image

I am using tomato tone, and plant tone fertilizer in this container. 2 cups of tomato tone, and one cup of plant tone in a "Y" shaped band, if I remember right, and about 2 tablespoons of epsom salt in the reservoir and a cup of dolomite. Not the first yellow leaf all season. I have pruned quite a few lower leaves so that air would circulate under the plants and makes it easier to spot critters. Nothing but neem and soap spray once a week or less, and while there was some minor nibbling by something, it didn't hang around long.

imafan26
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Re: Are there any Earthbox growers here?

They are also somewhat portable. My tomatoes were not because they were placed around the trellis and the trellis was not attached to the container. Eight foot tomatoes are hard to move anyway, but peppers and plants that don't require a trellis could be moved.

I started trying out the self watering containers at the behest of a friend. She has to travel a lot because of her job so her plants often have to go awhile without regular watering. I water everyday so it was not so much an issue for me, but I did use less water because of the reservoir. I liked the containers mainly because of nematodes which are very common and would limit my choices a lot. I am already limited by viral, fungal and environmental issues that limit choices as well. Besides that, I prefer to plant big plants like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and toscano kale in pots. They would take up a lot of space in my small vegetable garden, so I prefer to plant annual and smaller plants in the veggie patch instead.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

MrBote
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Re: Are there any Earthbox growers here?

I am with you on the tomatoes. I grew all indeterminate heirlooms and some did reach 8 feet, which is over 9 with the containers. Add about 20 lbs of tomatoes all in various stages of development and it is a challenge to move them. The box itself has to weigh 80# when wet.
Picture of my son standing next to tomatoes at about mid season.
Image

I have the same soil issues you have. Specifically, root knot nematodes, and forget sewing seeds directly because earwigs and mole crickets will snuff them out before they reach their first true leaves. Not to mention the torrential rains blasting all the soil stuff up onto the lower portions of the plants.

What led me to containers was studying industrial agriculture. How they were able to grow non-native vegetables here. Basically, they sterilize the soil with gas like they use to kill termites in buildings. Then they cover the raised beds with fabric or plastic mulch covers. The self watering containers best emulates that practice, I think. Like cutting a section out of a commercial raised bed, minus the nasty poisons. With the containers, I was able to use BT as a barrier around the containers as a first step of prevention. I could mostly get through a whole season without spraying anything 'on' the plants. Still, it was an involved process. Had to keep my eye out for stink bugs and cut worms. I always have lizards on my plants. They do a pretty good job with the bugs.

Here's a "Perone Sprayless" overgrowing it's cage 45 days into season.
Image

imafan26
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Re: Are there any Earthbox growers here?

Yeah tomatoes get really big. I have a 7 foot high CRW trellis that is wrapped around two 18 gallon tubs and another tub between them. If I have three tomatoes on the trellis which actually starts on the ground not the top of the tubs, they get tangled together and then they start reaching for the kaffir lime on the other side. When they get to the top or sometimes the middle they start to hang down and reach across. Right now my black cherry is bare bottomed (just weeds in the tub itself), with just green leaves at the very top. It is still producing a few tomatoes and the birds are still getting most of them. The sungold is puny by past standards but it is hanging on and producing tomatoes. It actually out produces the black cherry and I get more of them.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

MrBote
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Re: Are there any Earthbox growers here?

First cabbage from the boxes. Weighs in at 7lbs. 2 more left to go in that same SWC.
Image

It could have grown more from the way it was going but at some point, enough is more than adequate.

I didn't grow cabbage for any other reason than I liked the way they look when they are growing. Didn't know if they would be easy, or difficult. I do like to eat cabbage, though, so it was worth doing.

This particular type is. . ."Early Flat Dutch."

pepperhead212
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Re: Are there any Earthbox growers here?

Looks great! I was thinking of growing some of my late season brassicas in an EB, just to compare the growth, but since I have to leave them covered most of the winter, I decided not to. This is because I would have to water it, whereas the ones in the ground need very little water in the winter, other than the rain or snow. And since I have to keep the water turned off to the outside most of the time, I'll have to wait until spring. I am planning on trying some early in the spring, to compare to the ones in the ground.
Dave

imafan26
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Re: Are there any Earthbox growers here?

Some of the farmers here also use soil fumigants. They have to when the field has a lot of nematodes and they don not have a nematode resistant crop. Solarization helps but it is only going to sterilize at most the top 4-6 inches of soil and roots and nematodes will both go deeper. Some farms are using sunhemp in their fallow field as a rotation crop. It is a legume so it does some nitrogen fixing but it does also reduce nematode population.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ng043
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MrBote
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Re: Are there any Earthbox growers here?

I simply don't have time to cultivate soil, or combat weeds and insects and the retail costs of the products in which to control these things starts to go against the economic sense of growing one's own food in short order, especially when factoring in labor.

I really didn't do anything other than add water after the initial startup. Maybe 4 applications of neem/soap when it was still warmer weather. If I had grown these in the ground, the cover leaves would be riddled with holes. At least here in Florida, my experience has been that things grow almost twice as fast in these containers, with a more consistent and predictable level of production/size, weighed against the time I 'personally' have available to commit to gardening.

Before container gardening, I was dedicating a good bit of resources to compost alone. And that's what it took to grow comparaive yields and size to SWC here.

imafan26
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Re: Are there any Earthbox growers here?

I like the earthboxes for the tomatoes because they need so much water especially in summer and the daily wilting weakens them. I still grow tomatoes in regular containers too, but I have learned to make those containers much bigger than I used to. I used to plant tomatoes in 14 inch pots. They did o.k. but did have the daily wilt problem and drought stress attracts pests. In the 18 gallon tubs, the tomatoes don't really wilt anymore and I do water them everyday in summer, but less now since it has been cold and the soil dries slower.

I would prefer to grow in ground than in containers. I actually use containers to restrict size, contain roots, and if I need special conditions. I grow the tomatoes in containers because they would take up too much space in the vegetable garden, ginger, taro because I need to protect them from nematodes but also because I need to keep the roots confined. I have the citrus trees in pots to dwarf them. Most of my peppers can tolerate smaller pots for years so, I grow them mostly in pots. I don't like to have to work around perennials in the vegetable garden if I can help it. I had a potted Mexican oregano in my vegetable garden and it rooted and I do have to work around that now along with the Aloe I temporarily moved to a corner of the garden and they never left.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

MrBote
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Re: Are there any Earthbox growers here?

Pretty much the same reasons here. This time of year is the exception, when insect/disease issues are low, it's the portability to where I can chase the weaker seasonal sun with them.

I had the same issues with the big tomatoes. I was having to water twice/day. I too modified the containers to have a larger water reservoir, and this time around, I will have an automatic watering system on them and some sturdier cage arrangements.

I found I tend to grow way too many tomatoes. I think I am just going to grow one per container and keep it to 4 varieties. Also, I think I will remember at least some of them can be used and fried green.

imafan26
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Re: Are there any Earthbox growers here?

I have a five gallon reservoir on my earthboxes and I put the drip system tubing down the water tube so it filled every time the sprinkler went on. I used a adjustable emitter.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

MrBote
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Re: Are there any Earthbox growers here?

SWC/Earthboxes are still producing monster cabbage and other things following in a rather convenient succession. Meaning, as a large cabbage is harvested, kale and chard and spinach need to be used, and then the cycle starts over again. I like cabbage but these are huge, so it is good that they are ready at different times. I think this is a favorable trait with heirlooms over the hybrid types for the home garden.
Image

imafan26
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Re: Are there any Earthbox growers here?

That's a big cabbage. I tried to grow cabbage once, it took up a lot of space in the ground and the cabbage only got to a softball size then something ate out the center of it.

That actually is one of the better things about earth boxes, since the space is so limited you have to limit how many plants are in them so you don't have to worry so much about over supply.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

MrBote
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Re: Are there any Earthbox growers here?

These are from that round, 20 gallon tote that I cannot find anymore. The cabbage in the above post is #2 out of 3 that were grown/growing in that pot. If they hadn't grown over on their sides, there is no way they would have fit. I am surprised the nutrients were enough for all 3.

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Two broccoli, along with two cabbage were really too much for the regular earthbox. 3 would be the max for an EB as well. This was only on 5-6 hrs of sun daily. 8 hours would have been interesting, considering how well these grew with less.

This is my first real go at cool season gardening here. If I were to do a comparative analysis, it's much more productive in both yield and cost. I need to start thinking of September as being the start of growing season here. This would give me the most yield and variety, with a perpetual growing season spanning 9 months.

I'd say that one of the biggest benefits of containers is the plants being off the ground. I also noticed that those few insects that would scale the sides of the container, had a real high probability of being noticed, and then snapped up by one of the 10 or more lizards that took refuge in my mini oasis of veggies.

pepperhead212
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Re: Are there any Earthbox growers here?

I just got two 18 gal tubs for $4.25 each, and I am going to make some of those homemade boxes! I figure these may be even better, given the larger reservoir I can make for the water. And I am going to make some silver covers for them, as I just got 250' of silver mulch really cheap.
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Re: Are there any Earthbox growers here?

Don't discount the bags that potting mix comes in for mulch covers if you end up using bagged. The 2 cu ft size will yield two thick plastic mulch covers that last a few seasons.

I was just up in your neck (Deptford) of the woods and am planning a move up that way hopefully sooner than later. Try to see if I can manage a green thumb in the "Garden State."

I will still probably use these up there as well, being as I have so much time invested in this type of gardening by now.

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Re: Are there any Earthbox growers here?

Here is some Swiss Chard currently growing in a 5 gal self waterer. This is still part of my first attempt at gardening over the winter here and with greens. I never really had to grow greens growing up in the South because a lot of people grew them.
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Some spinach in another SW bucket. These are orphans left over too long in the starter pots. That's what I use the buckets for. A mix match of orphan plants or experimental purposes to where I don't have a lot of time or materials invested. All of these containers are the same principle as the EB.
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Not sure that kale is on the list of things I would go out of my way to eat, but the plants look cool and are easy to grow. This is more of an EB clone with the 18 gal totes. They are a good size for this.
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The original Earthboxes still look pretty new condition after 6-7 years by now and still clean up well. The totes don't like the UV exposure so much. I think I will likely always have at least a few of the original Earthboxes. They are a good size for a number of things.

pepperhead212
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Re: Are there any Earthbox growers here?

Great greens, Bote! Can't wait 'til I get these things going, but it's a ways off here. In the meantime, I'll spend time making a few more.
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applestar
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Re: Are there any Earthbox growers here?

Thanks for the inspiration :D
I'm getting ambitious looking at all these pictures, too! :-()
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Re: Are there any Earthbox growers here?

Kale is a super food and very popular now. The dino kale you have is actually sweeter than the curly kale that most people get. It tastes better after a dusting of frost. It does have a strong cabbage flavor so most people make smoothies with it adding fruit like bananas, grapes, melons,passion fruit, papaya, pineapple. It is best to freeze the fruit first.
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Re: Are there any Earthbox growers here?

imafan26 wrote:Kale is a super food and very popular now. The dino kale you have is actually sweeter than the curly kale that most people get. It tastes better after a dusting of frost. It does have a strong cabbage flavor so most people make smoothies with it adding fruit like bananas, grapes, melons,passion fruit, papaya, pineapple. It is best to freeze the fruit first.
That's good to know. I have eaten it recently sauteed in olive oil, some red wine vinegar with garlic sliced really thin and vegetable stock and it was pretty good. Now that I've got spinach more or less figured out, I will grow more of it next year. I had never eaten spinach 'this' fresh before and there is quite a difference even over the grocery store version of fresh produce.

About to plant pole (Roma) beans, which is one of my favorite fresh vegetables to grow and eat. Once the kids discovered they could be eaten raw, many never made it into the kitchen. Probably one of the most productive for limited square footage being as that they grow vertically and don't mind crowding.

Once I get past beans and tomatoes, I will have had about 8 solid months of growing season. With about half the physical input with the containers, compared to conventional, just if you consider the doing away with the weeding and pest chores and time off from the shovel as well.

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Re: Are there any Earthbox growers here?

pepperhead212 wrote:Great greens, Bote! Can't wait 'til I get these things going, but it's a ways off here. In the meantime, I'll spend time making a few more.
I start my tomatoes and peppers about 3-4 weeks ahead of last threat of frost under fluorescent (4ft shop lights with 6500k daylight bulbs) lights. By the time they get to the planters, they are already starting to show flowers and they have fat trunks going in. Then they get buried almost up to the first set of true leaves and they root from there on down which makes for a robust root system early on.

It's a much easier way to garden, especially if you have a full time job.

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Re: Are there any Earthbox growers here?

applestar wrote:Thanks for the inspiration :D
I'm getting ambitious looking at all these pictures, too! :-()
I have shown some friends how to get started. Usually with just one Earthbox, or tote. One guy that lives about 5 blocks from me planted collard greens in one tote and they were huge. His mom couldn't get over how little sand they had in them like they get when planted in the ground.

He is adding two more containers now.

pepperhead212
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Re: Are there any Earthbox growers here?

I want to thank imafan26 again for that link to the file for making "earthboxes", as I have now made 7 of them, with more to come! Tonight, in about 45 min. I made two with 4 gal buckets inside 5 gal. The large ones were more time consuming, for sure, but since I made 4 of the same, it went faster than if they were all made with totally different tubs. One was made using the two bucket method, only because it had a hole in it, so I wouldn't have been able to use both. The inside had a large gap around the perimeter, which I figure I will jam some mesh net into. The one tub method is cheaper, obviously, and I made a pattern, which I used to cut all of the lids with, and all of the support and wicking columns were the same for the 4 tubs, so it is definitely best to do more than one! Here are the photos of the different types: https://s24.photobucket.com/user/pepperh ... t=6&page=1
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applestar
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Re: Are there any Earthbox growers here?

Looking good pepperhead212! :clap:
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Re: Are there any Earthbox growers here?

Here is another earthbox tweak. I have different bases for tomatoes and such but this one is for pole beans, or you could put more cross ties in for cukes or anything else that climbs really. I use these because I can easily load it on a hand truck and move it around without disturbing the trellis. Pardon the photo quality but the idea is kind of easy to see. They are cheap to make and will last for years and you can make them more adaptable to add on other types of supports.

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