Growbox Anatomy

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I took some shots while putting together my new Growbox (agardenpatch.com). I'd never heard of an Earthbox when I bought my Growboxes last year - just saw a flyer for the growbox and thought they looked very clever. This year I added a third to my stable, to live on the driveway.

Growbox, soil top and reservoir before snapping together  Growbox snapped together  Growbox with nutrient patch / mulch sheet / 6 week old early girl tomato (pruned lowest branches and buried more stem)  Growbox with kozy coat over tomato, black flap over reservoir opening (discourage algae) 

Growboxes are a little cheaper than Earthboxes, and in my climate (CT - riotously fertile temperate, plenty of rain but not too much), I think it's a better design. The more open design collects rain and provides plenty of aeration. You can check water level by just glancing in the opening. Torrential rains simply overflow out of the reservoir. The downside of the open reservoir is that algae grow - hence my adding black trashbag flaps over the openings this year.

In any case, I wanted the three planters to match, and was happy with the first two.

The Growbox includes the mulch plastic and nutrients in the price of the box. The plastic has guide positions drawn on the flip-side, where to place plants. The documentation / instructions are very good, except -

I misread/misunderstood "add up to two cups of lime for tomatoes", and added 2 cups of lime. Spinach and chard really enjoyed this mistake, but the tomatoes got blossom end rot, probably from too much fertilizer / etc. There's dolomite in the nutrient patch, probably plenty of calcium for happy tomatoes. So this year I didn't add any lime.

One Growbox takes about 40 quarts of potting mix. I've been exploring potting mixes.  There are a lot of products that sound good, and... don't work so well in practice. Last year I used Miracle Gro Moisture Control in both growboxes. Not good. Didn't wick well, plants gasping for water with reservoir full, because the potting mix was hogging the water. Over the winter I explored several others, including Miracle Gro Organic Choice. Not pleased with them, either. This year, tossed half the contents of the old planters into the dirt garden, and topped all with plain ol' Miracle Gro Potting Mix. That works well. The Growbox instructions say you can reuse the potting mix 3-4 years, without even pulling out the old roots. I'm not entirely convinced that's always a good idea. The tomato trunks had to go. Insect eggs and fungus? I think I'd always prefer to scrape off the top couple inches before replanting, to be on the safe side.

I'd be grateful for any similar pictures of Earthbox innards for comparison. They both seem like great products!

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Beth11
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Hi All,   I'll try out the

Hi All,

  I'll try out the valves and let you know how they work.  I'm thinking that they will be most useful when I go on vacation.  I always have set up drip tubing on a timer in my regular pots, but end up with uneven watering.  I like this concept of always having a full reservoir.  Especially since I'm trying celery in one.  We'll see if it makes a difference with peppers, eggplant, cucumbers and tomatoes.  Come on spring!

Beth 

 

 

 

 

BB (not verified)
Yeah, I looked hard at Beth's

Yeah, I looked hard at Beth's valves but we decided it wasn't worth the cost and having to bury a lot of water line. I like Judith's idea of a simple timer, wish I'd thought about that, it's great. Actually we don't mind filling the earthboxes every day, it's a few minutes of mindless work that's always nice and the only problem we've had was with the corn drinking so much water.

We'll probably grow okra, maybe indian corn again, beans and peas of some sort, maybe strawberries and some herbs. I leave that up to Maere. Dunno what we're going to do with the trash tomatoes taking over the laundry room, they're keeping us well stocked but may try to move them outside, too.

Ginger
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Did you look at Beth's thing

Did you look at Beth's thing about the Earthbox fill valves? Any chance you could set them up with those? Or just more into doing the AutoPots this summer?

It's hard to imagine tomatoes growing 2x faster than they did in the growbox last summer. Jack and the Beanstalk, tomato style!

What are your new crops for the Earthboxes this year, or are you leaving them fallow?

Moderator. Author of Indoor SaladEcigs 102, and the Calm Act climate apocalyptic series.

BB (not verified)
We're just now thinking about

We're just now thinking about outside plants, I think our last winter storm just blew through but we have three earthboxes with plants that overwinter. The cost of the autopots over growboxes or earthboxes would be more but a little less trouble without some sort of autofill for the boxes, like I wish I'd had. I'd need eight AutoPots to get the same corn plants I had in one earthbox. The double pot & tray setup is about $55 and a big single pot & tray is about $46. It takes about $2.50 worth of coco coir and perlite to fill one but multiply x8 and it's almost the same but I could probably use potting soil and perlite and come out cheaper. We just use a cup or two of regular fertilizer down the middle of each earthbox so the cost is almost nothing vs buying & mixing huge quantities of liquid nutes for the AutoPots. The only advantage is that it should grow twice as fast.

Ginger
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I think Bruce does have his

I think Bruce does have his Earthboxes set up with hoses. I don't - the 3rd floor bedroom balcony doesn't have hose facilities. Not worth bothering for just the one downstairs.

Moderator. Author of Indoor SaladEcigs 102, and the Calm Act climate apocalyptic series.

Orlando Jude (not verified)
If y'all are growing outside,

If y'all are growing outside, and these 'pots' have overflow protection, couldn't you just set up a water line on a timer to water them each day?  I did it a while back with small black tubing to my outside water faucet, on a timer.   Works great.  Check Lowes, etc garden area.  I think it was called 'Rain' something.

Enjoy! 

Ginger
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Thanks, Bruce! Interesting. I

Thanks, Bruce!

Interesting. I wonder if the AutoPots work out cheaper than the Earth/Growbox, when you add in soil and yearly nute strip replacement. Hm. I look forward to seeing how they do! Do you have plants ready for 'em, or just buy them later?

Moderator. Author of Indoor SaladEcigs 102, and the Calm Act climate apocalyptic series.

BB (not verified)
I doubt we'll be tearing any

I doubt we'll be tearing any earthboxes apart this year but it's mostly a box with a perforated tray maybe 8" from the bottom and a tube up one front corner for water and has an overflow hole. You pack the back, open corners with potting soil then slowly fill with potting soil while watering. Then make a mound down the middle and add a strip of fertilizer that lasts all year, cover with an elastic banded soft plastic cover, cut small Xs and insert your seeds/plants. Here's the directions I know what you mean about potting soil $$$$. It cost about $25 to fill one and we reuse it, by god. We really had eight huge indian corn plants in one with the ears about half grown and left overnight. They were dead from lack of water the next afternoon. Even so, I think they'd work better here in NM just from less evaporation than the growboxes but I really like them. I'm going to try the AutoPots outside this year also, with four or five big single pots. 14 gallons of water/nute solution should be good for a week I hope and I could double that if the grow tent croaks.

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