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 Post subject: For those w/o gardens, but would like to grow things...
PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:55 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 7:58 pm
Posts: 1142
I grew some things in Earthboxes last season, that did great! These are the self-watering containers that Rick Bayless uses in his rooftop gardens, and I had such incredible harvests of eggplant (more from two in the EB than 5 in the soil) and peppers (largest poblanos I have ever seen!) from the ones I had last season, that I got even more, and also learned a method of making them much cheaper than the normal ones. These could easily be stuck out on a balcony, esp. the ones made from a 4 gal bucket inside a 5 gal. So far I have 6 of those made (with a source for just about as many 4 gal buckets as I could use - I just have to get the 5 gal ones!), along with five 18 gal. ones, to go with the 6 regular Earthboxes (about 15 gal. each). Here is the file showing the method for making these at home: http://www.postoilsolutions.org/documents/Earthbox.pdf

This year I am trying more things in them - okra, cucumbers and tomatoes, and the tomatoes I am doing an experiment to see if a mycorrhyzae added to one gives any noticeable advantage to growth or production.

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 Post subject: Re: For those w/o gardens, but would like to grow things...
PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2015 8:15 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2012 8:51 am
Posts: 655
Location: W. Montana
I love the 'idea' of a big garden but I simply couldn't manage to care for one.
I've seen the Earthbox ads in my newspaper for the last few years and I could be ready to begin with one. I love to grow fresh herbs and have tried several times with less than good results. Our summer sun is very hot (maybe it's the latitude) and it's quite dry here. Even though I tended my plants carefully, they never seem to thrive. Possibly the Earthbox could make a difference (?).
I'd be willing to try if I thought it could give me an edge.


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 Post subject: Re: For those w/o gardens, but would like to grow things...
PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2015 10:48 pm 
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Posts: 1142
Linda,

Here is a link to the Earthbox forum: http://forum.earthbox.com/index.php

This will tell you a lot about it, and also you can see how many people grow in JUST earthboxes, due to bad soil, etc. Click on the "Store", and it will tell you about how the things work, though you don't have to buy their "soil", as it is easy to mix up (though, as with anything like this, everyone has different formulas!). The basic formula is to mix up about 70% peat with 25% vermiculite and 5% perlite, and for one of the 2 cu. ft. containers (approx 15 gal) add one cup dolomite, or two cups for tomatoes (something they need to prevent BER), then make a 2 ft trench on one side or the middle, depending on what you are growing, and add 2 c of a basic 10-10-10 granular fertilizer, covering it with more of the mix. This slowly leaches out into the medium as the season goes on, fertilizing constantly, but slowly. There are all sorts of tricks I learned my first year with them, like adding a tsp. of calcium nitrate to the watering tube weekly, for extra N and Ca - supposedly only done for tomatoes, but I did it in all of them, and something must have been done right. I also add things from my hydroponics, since I'm sure that can't hurt!

One good thing about this is that the growing medium is used for multiple seasons, as the peat does not break down. The fertilizer strip is dug out, and a new batch is added the next season (I just added it to my garden). I found a trick on the forum to make this easier in which somebody uses "brewing socks" to put the fertilizer in, and this can just be lifted out.

For watering these things, I do it the way I do the rest of my garden - with drip emitters on timers! I tweaked the amounts by adding a 2 gal/hr plus a 1/2 gal/hr to one, while just a 2 gal/hr on another, which uses less water. Then, as it gets hotter, I increase the time, as needed. There is an automatic watering system they sell for it, but I've read about too many problems people have had with it.

Good luck if you decide to try it!

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 Post subject: Re: For those w/o gardens, but would like to grow things...
PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 7:42 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2012 8:51 am
Posts: 655
Location: W. Montana
I got my Earthbox a couple days ago then made a trip to my nearby nursery and picked up dill, parsley, basil, thyme, chives and rosemary starter plants. It's still too cold here at night to set them out even though we're having an early Spring here in the Northern Rockies, 29° yesterday morning. Another week or two should do it.
I haven't planted any herbs the last couple years because I've had such bad luck with them since moving to this area. Despite my babysitting them they just haven't flourished. The Summers here are usually quite dry and hot with lots of sun and cold nights.
I'm hoping the Earthbox will make the difference. Heck I might just go crazy and pick up a tomato plant!


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 Post subject: Re: For those w/o gardens, but would like to grow things...
PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 2:16 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 7:43 am
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I have something similar that I use for Cherry Tomatoes. My plants always do very well in this planter. Last year, my plant's were almost 6' tall. It was crazy.


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 Post subject: Re: For those w/o gardens, but would like to grow things...
PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 4:34 pm 
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Location: Portland, OR
At least in SF, I'd be worried about mold in the water chamber.

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