Build your own EarthBox
I’m an urban dweller with limited gardening space. Since I love growing, canning and eating fresh produce, I strive to cultivate a maximum yield in the least amount of space.
Last year my eyes were on the Earthbox. I really didn’t have the funds to purchase the pretty, brand-name variety though—especially since I needed a few containers. For those of you who haven’t heard of the EarthBox, it’s a self-contained, self-watering growing system. The EarthBox uses wick hydroponics; soil works to stabilize plants and “wick” water to the roots.
Here are the basic elements of the EarthBox:
A few selling features of the EarthBox:
- Self-contained, so you can garden even without a plot of land to till.
- Conserves water (up to 60%) and is low-maintenance (I usually water mine every 2-3 days).
- Small container for the amount of yield produced.
- Covered so weeds and pests are deterred and water doesn’t evaporate in the hot sun.
The DIY version we’re going to make has a couple minor negatives:
- It’s pretty heavy, so make sure the box is essentially in place before you fill with soil and water. You do, however, have the benefit of more growing space as this is larger than the original system. The original Earth Box has castors for easy relocation, but I haven’t adapted that to this version.
- By some standards, it’s not as pretty as the commercial Earth Box. However, that could be modified using a more fashionable container/cover system (which I might try this year).
However, for the me the positives of the DIY version outweigh the negatives:
- Much more cost effective, especially when compared to the organic version of the EarthBox.
- Larger growing space and water reservoir than the original Earth Box.
- I have the freedom to modify any of the components.
- The yield compared to space is incredible. Our tomato plants grew to nearly 8 feet while only using a couple square feet of floor space. This makes our boxes fantastic for patio gardening or for those with limited growing space.
Enough of the talk, let’s get to work. There are several other DIY methods out there, but after much consideration, this is the method I decided to take (with the help and consult of my hubby). My supplies consisted of the following:
- Drill and 1/4-1/2″ bits
- A cutting tool to modify your grating system (we used both scissors and a Dremel) to cut down a plastic ceiling grate.
- Zip ties
- Waterproof covering material (I used garbage bags)
Follow these steps to create your own fabulous EarthBox (click images to enlarge and read descriptions):
These videos show Chad and I building the EarthBox: