Growboxes

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I grew a lot of crops outside this year. I don't feel like reconstructing that saga right now, but what I've got left outside is greens and toy choi:

greens growbox 1, mustard greens front greens growbox2, spinach, beet, chard, toy choi

I've had a lot of fun with these outdoor GrowBoxes, which were great for growing crops on my tiny 3rd floor bedroom balcony. Next year I might add a third, for the driveway or front stoop. But for now, it's November. Just pulled out my last basil and pole beans today. A few herbs and flowers linger... But this year's outdoor season is over.

This week's Picasa album.

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Ginger
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The growboxes are pretty

The growboxes are pretty similar. The plastic green mulch-covers come with a nutrient pack down the center, and water dissolves it, so pressing it into the water-prepped potting mix deposits the "berm" you mentioned. The mulch-cover isn't elastic - you punch spikes to anchor it into the "soil". It has holes marked for you to cut out, and a full planting plan telling you where / how many to plant based on which plants you want to grow - fairly detailed. And there's an opening in the bottom reservoir, where you fill it directly and can stick a finger in to see how deep the water is, instead of a fill tube. Earthboxes have castors (wheels), Growboxes don't.

Growboxes are cheaper - $30 apiece plus shipping and handling, or deals on multiples, and new covers/nutrient packs for $9.

They did great - quite the best gardening containers I've ever had. I had other problems than the hardware, of course. (Like an unsheltered third floor balcony isn't the best place to grow these things, and the zucchini frankly had to hang overboard, and yes, there are bugs... ) But the planters were an excellent value! I have a neighbor down the street who has both Earthbox and Growbox for her tomatoes, and she didn't seem to think there was much difference - color selection, price, wheels. Wheels might be nice on my driveway... Not desired on my bedroom balcony, though.

Despite powdery mildew, squash bugs, and cucumber beetles, I got lots of cukes & zukes. Most of the summer, I only had 2-3 cucumber plants and 1 zucchini growing... They suggested six. Six of those waterpigs could definitely go through more than 4 gallons a day in high summer.  Maybe you need to just plant fewer than the max of the waterpig plants? I limited the number of cucurbits purely due to space constraints. Yeah, you could grow that many (with constant watering). But you'd kinda need a 4' aisle on every side around the planter. Those plants are huge...

The tomato box, maybe 70 tomatoes, despite my little adding-lyme faux pas. Did not grow pole beans well - the bean plants grew, and sometimes even flowered, but no beans happened, so at 5' tall, I  yanked them, and replanted pole bean seeds in crappy ground-floor soil. They like that.

The greens are happy. The chard is especially happy with the tomato growbox. The beet family adores alkaline soil. That one swiss chard plant has been in the back left corner of that growbox from day 1. Spent the entire summer completely overgrown by tomatoes. Didn't mind a bit. That's one easy-going, no-care, 3-season vegetable...

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

BB (not verified)
I'd love to hear your

I'd love to hear your experience with growboxes, they sound almost the same and they amaze me. We did single season planting and had more stuff than we could eat for months. I love fried okra but actually got sick of it! The earthboxes hold about 5 gallons of water,  have a perforated plate above the water chamber with a 2" or so fill tube running up a top corner and a drain hole to let you know when they're full.

You fill them with plain potting soil (not just dirt as I learned the hard way) then make a berm down the center and put a cup or two of plain fertilizer down the middle. They have elastic covers that you cut an X to plant your seeds/plants through then they prevent evaporation. It depends on what you're growing as to how many seeds to plant in each and prune later. We had eight 8' tall corn plants in one! At the end I was having to fill it with water twice a day and one day's absence killed them.

I think my link problem was when you were getting the lightboxes going. I always went back to get to where I was too, but it didn't work this time. I'd call it hard work progress and won't complain a bit!

Ginger
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Bummer, Bruce. I do that all

Bummer, Bruce. I do that all the time! But you know what? Just hit the browser Back button, and your composition is still right there, ready to resume! Not lost.

Ooh, on the 8 Earthboxes! Yeah, the growboxes are similar. These were my first year with them. My two big screwups:

  1. I'm never going to use Miracle Gro moisture control potting mix again. It doesn't have good wicking properties, and gets over-sodden, so doesn't have good air qualities, either.
  2. I'd never grown tomatoes before. I thought the directions said to add 2 cups of lyme, but I guess they only said "if necessary" (and I hadn't a clue whether it was necessary...) Which may or may not account to losing maybe 30 tomatoes to blossom end rot. But eh - my first time growing tomatoes, and I got over 100, so as learning experiences go, it went pretty well.

I had a neighbor babysit them in June for a week, which was a mistake. The weather suddenly turned hot after we left, and she didn't water the squashbox (cukes and zukes and beans). Nor pick the zucchini, though I'd warned her that needed doing. So I came back to a 5' diameter, completely collapsed zucchini plant wielding zuke-bats. The plant was never quite the same.

collapsed squashbox after vacation collapsed zucchini close-up tomato growbox near its peak (after a storm, tho)

Someday when I'm really bored, maybe I'll reconstruct this year's whole 3-seasons-with-the-growboxes story. Short version: first crop was spinach - the growboxes shipped late, and summer warmed very late. Then the summer crops. Now greens again. Hopefully I'll get 3 fuller seasons out of them next year. And maybe buy a third for the driveway...

What's the water capacity of the Earthboxes? The Growbox reservoir is 4 gallons, plus whatever's in the soil. My area isn't nearly as dry as yours, but I don't think even the waterpig cukes & zukes ever drank it dry in one day.

Certainly worth a try with the Indian corn!

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

BB (not verified)
Dang Ginger, see if you can

Dang Ginger, see if you can make links default to a new window. I composed a new message and clicked on your GrowBox link while I was composing and lost it all. Yep, I take forever to finish a message but here's the nut of it....

We have 8 Earthboxes that grew tomatoes, okra, beans, peas, corn, strawberries and a few other things. They did great when you followed directions to the letter but we left for ONE mid summer day and the eight beautiful 8' tall Indian Corn plants in one died from lack of water.The strawberries lasted two years without care and took over another earthbox before they died a horrible death from neglect. Maere's planted more herbs in some of them but hasn't followed the strict directions of using potting soil and a mound of fertilizer down the middle. We'll see what happens but they look pretty good so far.

We put the small Indian Corn cobs in a jar two years ago, wonder if they'd sprout? They are gorgeous.

Ginger
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Still hanging in there.

Still hanging in there.

mustard / spinach / beet / lettuce growbox spinach / chard / beet / toy choi growbox

The greens outside have been very happy with the mild wet weather. I may get my late toy choi harvest after all. Just put their poor-woman's greenhousing on them again, today, though - should drop near freezing the next few nights. But it's not quite over for them yet...

last time I greenhoused them - some bent sticks & a transparent trash bag just staked trash bag, no hoop-sticks on this one (toy choi, etc)

 

 

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

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