Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Urban Gardening Part 1

Earthbox the real thing
I bought this "Earthbox" when we lived in our tiny apartment. I was dying to grow something, ANYTHING! It's a self watering container... basically a 2 compartment planter, you put the soil in the top compartment and there's a water reservoir below. I've had this box for over 8 years and it's held up GREAT! It's a very efficient way to plant, wasting almost no water. I've planted veggies as well as flowers and vines. The only downside is the price tag, at about $50 a pop. If you can afford it I would recommend getting one, but if you can't here's a great tutorial on how to make your own self watering container!

Home-made Earthbox
Here's mine, with few little amendments. The tutorial calls for buying 2 plastic containers and I thought that was a bit wasteful... I only used one. I cut the lid to form the divider between the soil and water. I cut a few plastic supplement jars to serve as a platform for the divider. **I made these 2 years ago and they've held up well, but the lid divider is a bit flimsy**

Homemade Earthbox continued
Assembled and planted... the first year I did peas and zucchinis. The peas did well and the zucchinis got attacked by mold :( The second year I did tomatoes and peas... we had about 20 pounds of tomatoes from that one box. My balcony is East facing and is in the shade for much of the day, so I would say that these are VERY EFFECTIVE!

It's finally getting sunny in Seattle, this is a fun and CHEAP weekend project you can do. Cost was about $14-16 per box, that's including soil.
Plastic bin $5
Soil $7
PVC pipe $3
I had a lot of the misc stuff like wire already... I also reused a lot of stuff that was destined for the recycle bin. HAVE FUN!


Cheese said...

Looks great! Can't argue with 20 pounds of tomatoes per box. I always feel that these types of containers are very overpriced for what they are. I guess once you build up a big enough stash of containers (either built or bought) you rarely have to buy any new ones.

Diem Chau said...

I love your blog, great balcony garden! Yeah the price is high... but they last forever. I'm going to try potatoes this year.

Amparo GarĂ­n said...

Thanks for your blog Diem, it has made me think of the possibilities I will have once Ihave my own home, gardening has always been in my mind. thanks again, meet me in facebook amparo Garin, I also picture my feet.
Thanks again.

Diem Chau said...

Thanks for stopping by Amparo :)
I lived for years in apartments without any balconies or land to plant in so when we moved here I went "green" crazy!

Unknown said...

I'm a tad confused; do you water through the pipe or just water from the top? Is the idea to use the bottom as a water resivour or drain?

Diem Chau said...

Hi Fawn,
Yes you water through the pipe on top, the water goes into the reservoir... it also acts as a drain when you get rainwater etc. You can see a hole in the middle of the empty container, where it's white. This hole is filled with dirt (roots when plants mature) and absorbs the water bringing it from the reservoir to the plant. It keeps the soil from being soggy and rotting the root system.

Mamahag said...

what's the reason for all the holes above the reservoir.