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Earth Box Woes

Posted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 1:56 pm
by R12
I had used the earth box growing system a few years ago and grew fantastic tomatoes. Then I had 4years where my health wasn't too good and didn't use them. This year I has to travel to CA and got back on June 15. A week later I found a guy selling tomato plants, all the commercial place were long sold out. I got a kada (never heard of that one), a sausage tomato and 4 romas and 1 or 2 regular plants. When I got them home and ready to get them out of their little styrofoam cups for transplanting I found that I did not have any of the fabric covers that earthbox uses. So, I used 3 mil thick black garbage bags and tucked them in around the edges with a putty knife and they looked real good. Things progressed and a couple of the plants set blossoms but I noticed that the boxes were using very little water( you fill through a pipe that goes directly to the bottom of the box). The last time I used the boxes I remember how fast the water was used. You had to fill every day. Yesterday I noticed the leaves curling up on several plants so I removed the plastic and covered the soil with a permeable geo-textile fabric. Then I noticed on the package that the fabric wasn't UV resistant so I went out into the yard and removed enough bark mulch and brought it back to my boxes. This morning the plants look a little better. Any thoughts you may have will be welcome.

R12

Posted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 3:04 am
by wingdesigner
The soil and roots need to breathe, covering the soil with black plastic smothers the plant and the beneficial microbes in the soil. You need an air/water permeable cover, or just using mulch will help the gas exchange needed. The only time I use black plastic is to solarize the soil, sterilizing it for a year to prepare an infected/infested bed for planting the following year. Then I have to compost the heck out of the soil and plop in a few earthworms to get things started again.

Posted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 5:05 am
by wingdesigner
Glad I could help. You've probably discovered the tomato forum by now, almost too much info there, but worth the looking.