Growing Your Plants: DIY Earthbox

8:01 AM

I'm sharing one of the best kept secrets on how I grow my plants. I'm normally very lazy resourceful and my day role involves looking into constant improvements to flow, methodologies and design. I had started this research project a few years ago. I was looking for the following factors in growing crops/plants:

  • limited involvement of watering the plants/crops
  • maximize crop yields
  • limit the number of bug/rodent problems
After much research, my conclusion was to obtain/construct a SIP (Sub-irrigated planter). It is a type of planting box container where the plants soak water from the bottom via capillary action. An example commercial version of this is the popular "EarthBox" product. There is a link for an example two bucket design.  With this design, I can deposit a week worth of water into the storage tank (also depends on the temperature of the growing season). With the earthbox design - you can grow the plants on an elevated plane (which will avoid the rodent problems). Costco (in Toronto) does time to time sell a similar version of earthbox design.

My Instructions on how to build Earthbox: 

Sorry - I don't have pics during my time with the construction. So everything below were my steps:

Purchase the following items:
  • large weather outdoor grade tote container (I went for massive container - 60L+)
  • 2 foot long see through tubing with 1 inch diameter  - used to feed the water
  • about 6-8 small 5-6" plastic pot plants - used to create the water reservoir
  • Enough soil to fill the container
  • black bag to cover the soil surface - to reduce water evaporation 
  • thin mesh filter about the size of your base tote - used for the capillary action - can find at home depot
With the purchase of these items, you save more money vs buying the ones found at Costco or other planter stores.

Steps:
  • Place the pots into the base of the tote to create a surface to place the mesh on
  • Cut a hole on the side of the mesh such that the 2 foot tubing can be inserted on the side
  • Drill water holes at the top level height of the pot plants into the sides of the tote. This will let you know if you put too much water into the container
  • Add the soil into the tote and cover the top black bag
In the end, you only have to add water into the water tubing which goes directly to the bottom of the reservoir.

Photos From My Earthbox:
Fresh cherry tomatoes from

Late in the growing season - the tomato plants went crazy
One year - during the early growing season




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