the $10 self contained, self watering planter
super link. thank you very much for it. i’m sharing it with my veg garden cooperative.
Thanks for sharing. I just starting looking into this too as I aim to become more self-reliant for my family’s fruits & veggie needs. I went to the library and have been familiarizing myself with different gardening techniques that would work for my situation. (Tract house..small lot…basically no room to grow a real garden) Container gardening makes the most sense and these self-watering types seem to have the most success as they are constantly feeding the plant vs. the old drench and drain way.
Here are a few other links that I’ve saved over the last few days that may be of interest too:
http://denmc.com/earthbox/index.html (Another design technique)
http://www.tomatofest.com/tomato-earthtainer.html (Great "how-to" videos at the bottom)
Best of luck.
I have been using self watering containers for 5 years and they have worked pretty well for me. I live in south Texas, so during July and August I have to fill these planters up with water at least twice a day. I purchased a few of them and then tried making some "home-made" self watering containers. My method was very similar to the method outlined above, and they worked just as well as the ones I purchased. A good book for learning how to grow vegetables in these containers is " Incredible Vegetables From Self-Watering Containers" by Edward Smith (see link below).
It is possible to have a substantial garden on your patio using these containers. I highly recommend using them.
I, too, have been using these for about 5 years, first the EarthBox (TM), then the Josho. Earthbox and Josho show ways of using piping to support the gazillion cherry tomatos that you will get; I am going to start doing that. These are on my back deck, the only place that gets sun due to trees that I can’t cut because they’re within 100 yards of a conservation swamp. not cool. no garden. I may build a few more earth boxes this year for the deck. So far, tomatoes (great) peppers..not as good. Supporting the vines gets to be paramount.
Now we need the self-contained, self-watering, and self-feeding chicken coop.
Thanks for link.
I dunno how much the Rubber Maid bins are in your area or Josho’s, but in mine two bins cost $18, plus there’s the other misc supplies, effort and driving to 2-3 different stores to save only $10 over the now $30 Earth Box. Didn’t seem worth it to me, but I didn’t get an Earth Box either. Instead I made a couple changes to his design:
1. Buy only one 18 gallon Rubber Maid bin and no pond basket. Get a Sterilte basket, often in the very next store isle from the Rubber Maid bins. Get one that’s a tight fit. Invert, insert. That’ll keep soil out of your water reservoir. The soil that falls to the gap at the sides of the basket will wick up the water. The fill pipe or tube simply drops in to the side of the basket.
2. You can cut the overflow hole with the tip of a knife, even a hobby knife or pocket knife. Just poke and twist.
3. Instead of cutting little holes in the lid, cut openings a little wider than the pots of the plants you’ll be inserting. You can use any knife for this, though a bigger knife might be easier. Now you don’t have to remove the lid to plant nor guestimate locations nor spend time on a plastic sheet setup. Ya, that leaves a little more room for weeds, but how many weeds pop up so close to the plant’s stalk anyway?
There, now now it only takes a couple minutes to construct and the only tool involved is a knife. Maybe a pipe cutter if you use rigid pipe to fill it. Total cost was about $13. I planted a bunch of plants from seed a little over 2 weeks ago and they’re coming up nicely. I only top watered at planting; the soil seems to be wicking up moisture from the reservoir nicely. Dunno if I’ll run into problems later, so experiment with me at your own risk.
Thanks for hints, Eric. I was just thinking about what to do this year (late, but still cool here in MA). I have one josho box and one Earth box. I didn’t find josho worked as well for me but will try again-little work. Will try yours also since all I get are tomatoes, mediocre peppers (josho). Will consider something else for yours.
Pond baskets were a pain to find.
4 reasons why a plant might not grow well: not enough water, not enough root air, too little or too much sun, too little or too much fertilizer. IIRC, both pepper and tomatoes like lots of sun. Assuming a sunny spot, moisture is good but not drowning out the air and you picked a good loose airy soil (see http://www.earthbox.com for tips), then the problem would be fertilizer. Look up amounts for each plant. Since I just planted my peppers I know they don’t want too much nitrogen, whereas tomatoes like a lot of everything.
I’ve been using Worm Gold earthworm castings and compost (not nutrient-free mulch labeled as compost), mixed in with the soil above the basket. Instructions are on the Worm Gold bag. Worm gold has more P & K (among other stuff), compost has more N (among other stuff). 10-20% equals about 5-10 quarts per self-watering box, btw. 1 cubic foot is about 30 quarts. They don’t burn if you put a little too much, require application only once per planting season, include all the random minor nutrients, provide vitamins and plant hormones, improve pest and disease resistance, hold moisture, etc. They just plain do everything. And I don’t need to do all the special steps required for the fertilizer strip.
Again, this is my first time using a box instead of in the ground, so you’d be experimenting with me if you do it the same way. But FWIW my seedlings are doing well: growing fast and not even a nibble eaten out of them. The radishes should be done soon. I’d appreciate hearing about yours if you try the same thing. My e-mail is pleasespamme2004 (at) yahoo (dot) com.