If you don’t have much time or space, but love the taste of real tomatoes right off the vine, or berries you pick and eat, or salad greens and herbs from plant to table in minutes, here is an Earthbox review to help make it easy.
Earthbox has been around for a while now and plenty of gardeners swear by them – they make small space gardening fast as well as convenient.
This is a container gardening system that gives you a semi-hydroponic system, using planting kits that work for growing tomatoes and other vegetables, flowers, berries including strawberries and blueberries, herbs, salad greens, vines, or almost anything you’d want in your small-space or patio garden, while eliminating the guesswork.
There are both regular and organic Earthbox kits; for future years, you simply re-use your potting mix along with a replant kit if you don’t want to gather the various components from your local garden center.
It’s all designed to be easy, convenient, attractive and a time-saver for your small (but high-yield) garden.
How Does Earthbox Work?
The design is fairly straight-forward, with a planter box and water reservoir – some gardeners call this “semi-hydroponic” gardening.
It is designed so that water is drawn up by the growing medium (potting mix – not soil), collecting the right amount of dolomite lime and fertilizer (put in while assembling the box) as it rises, and then hits the plant roots, and they absorb this healthy mixture.
This results in bigger, healthier plants, users report.
Portability of an Earthbox
One of the big advantages of a container garden is you can move it around.
While a thriving Earthbox with water in the bottom can be heavy to lift (it takes two people), you can get Earthbox with casters that make moving easy.
Protecting Your Plants
With the Earthbox kit you get plant covers that reflect light (because roots of most plants like to remain cool), maintain the potting mix temperature, keep the moisture where you want it (in the potting mix), prevent weeds and deter pests.
If you live in a warm area, you place them with the white side up; in a cooler garden zone it’s black side up.
Earthbox comes with complete instructions, making it easy, even for non-gardeners or beginners.
There is also a list of what you can grow, and how many seedlings per Earthbox planter, so there’s no guesswork about spacing plants.
For example, the recommendation is two large leafy plants (such as tomatoes) per Earthbox, or 8 pepper plants, or 16 corn stalks, or 4 melon plants.
Earthbox – Outdoor or Indoor Use?
Though designed for outdoor use – patios, decks, small yards or roof gardens – you can also use Earthbox planters successfully indoors, for example with grow lights or in a greenhouse.
What You Get
In an Earthbox kit you get the planter – which can be green or terra cotta – heavy duty colored plastic in addition to the dolomite, your fertilizer, and hardware.
There is also an organic growing version of Earthbox available.You will need to add: the potting mix, either seeds or seedlings (small plants), and follow the directions.
Optional add-ons that are available are an ‘envelope’ planter you set your Earthbox into – just to make it fancier for on a balcony or patio; a trellis that attaches to the outer planter, staking sticks for plants that need support and the replant kits for future years.
Who It’s For
Anyone – easy to do if you’ve never planted anything or all your houseplants always die – this is a success system designed for non-gardeners, but also great if you’re an experienced gardener and want high-yield in a small space.
If you have back or knee issues, or use a wheelchair, there is a planter stand available that raises the Earthbox to a comfortable working height.
What Do Users Like About Earthbox?
Users particularly praise how sturdy Earthboxes are, compared to the competitor product, though they cost about $10 more.Being on wheels is a bonus, easy to move plants out of hot sun – or out of too much shade.
They also liked that it is easy, and you can use it year-round if you have a sunny window.
The water fill pipe fits a 5/8 inch hose exactly, which is convenient for watering.
While there is water held in the bottom reservoir, mosquitos gathering there isn’t a concern because the design prevents them from being able to get into it.
At the end of the season, it’s easy to use your Earthbox indoors, or clean and store it.
What Didn’t They Like?
You do need to protect your floor or deck surface because it is possible to overfill the water reservoir, so it overflows. (This could stain your floor or deck, and you’re a balcony gardener above the ground floor, water will drip down and possibly annoy the neighbor).
The solution is to keep an eye on the overflow hole at the back of the Earthbox.
There is no gauge on the water-fill pipe, which is what makes overwatering easy to do. One way around this is to make one yourself with a wine bottle cork and an 18 inch piece of wire.
Push one end of the wire through the cork, bend so it will hold in place, and push the cork down the water pipe until it floats. You can make marks on the wire (with metal paint or tape) for measuring the water level in the reservoir.
Some users said it was also too easy to overfill with potting mix and suggested using a bit less than the directions say.Some felt the staking system was a bit pricy, and suggested you may want to make your own staking system with wood dowels instead.
This is not the cheapest way to stock up on vegetables – but if you want to be able to step out your back door and pick fresh herbs or tomatoes or organic veggies or berries AND you want the pleasure of growing them yourself and seeing them bear fruit more quickly than if they’re planted in the ground, this is the easiest way.