My local Lowe's no longer has the tan/brown totes, just blue ones. Checking online shows the same thing - just blue in the 30 gallon size.
Are the blue ones going to be too hot / cook the roots?
Added "Earthtainer" to make the context easier.
Target had other totes that are grey, but I'm concerned about the strength. They have Sterilite totes, but I'm not sure that the earthtainer instructions can be modified appropriately, since the containers are different. Handles, "ribs", etc, are all different.
I just purchased 20 of these tan 31 gallon rugged totes from our local Lowes in central Texas. They are out of stock with more on the way. You may want to check several stores. It's also possible to special order them if your local store does not normally stock them.
OK, gotta ask a probably "stupid" question. What are "tan totes" and what do you use them for?
Tan= a color ,, Tote= plastic crate
Here is what I use them for. Earthtainers...:)
Not all Lowes stock the tan 31 gallon Centrex totes - - but you can use the blue ones instead. However, you should take the extra step in wrapping the 3 sides exposed to the Sun with a section of bamboo curtain or the like, to shade the blue EarthTainer walls.
I ONLY recommend using the Lowes (Centrex) product as it has a Lifetime Warranty - where the cheaper Sterlite units will deteriorate from the UV exposure over a short period of time.
couldnt you paint the blue ones with Krylon Fushion. I know its for plastics but Im not sure how well it would hold up to the flexing of the tote.
anyways just an idea.
Around here HD recently had tan 37gal Roughneck containers for $14 and change. They are now back up to $17.47.
I'm new to the container gardening thing this year, and plan on setting up at least 10 earthtainers and 10-20 5 gallon style SWC buckets. Winter project is assembling these.
Picked up 1 set of the 37 gal and then quickly changed gears to the 18 gallon models. Picked up a few 18 gal $8 at HD. Noticed also Target has the Sterilite Ultra 18g allon containers on sale for $7. I don't know about the UV performance, but the build quality seems on par with the Roughneck line. These are also available in a bunch of different colors.
Last year the local HD had a big sale on many different colors of 5 gallon buckets, I picked up a bunch at around $2.60 each. Those will be coverted to garden use this year and I am hoping the sale comes around again.
I just completed my earthtainer builds for this year. I'm now at 15 total using the 31 gallon rugged totes from Lowes. I'm now on to blending my custom planting mix and starting seeds.
I will tell you that they are heavy once filled so you will need something to assist you with moving them around.
Please, please, please use the RuggedTotes sold by Lowes. They are a few Dollars more - but they have a lifetime Warranty. The Rubbermaid and Sterilite containers will break down after a few years in the daily Sun. I can tell you this from personal experience.
So far I've accumulated 8/10 sets for this first year.
I'll take your advice and make a special trip out to Lowe's to source the other two at some point.
(no Lowe's convenient to any of my typical venturings)
Thankfully I don't think abundant daily sun will be a major issue since most of these will end up in protected areas for aesthetic reasons.
I'll be sure to put one of each type in an unprotected area though just to get a reference.
Thanks for all the great work you've done towards refining these systems, I look forward to giving it a go this season!
If you have to use non-Rugged Totes, then by all means, wrap the East, South, and West facing sides of the EarthTainers with a bamboo / rattan curtain type material. UV is the enemy of all outdoor containers - so if you shade the walls of it from the Sun, they will last 3 to 5 times longer than ones with no protection. Think SPF....
If you are a "craftsman" and good at woodworking, here are a few visual aides from people who have sent me their photographs:
As I am not a wood-worker, I am going to experiment with taking some redwood lattice panels, cut them into sections for the front of the EarthTainer and the 2 sides, then attach these 3 panels to each other with hinges so they can be folded and stored at the end of the Season. I'll frame each of the panels in 1x2" for the hinge attachment, and make the panels about 20 to 24 inches tall.
Ray and I have conversed through email several times. As he mentioned if the outer shell does deteriorate from sun exposure it's a simple matter of removing two screws, remove the inner aeration bed, purchase one new rugged tote drill 2 drip overflow holes and two holes to secure the aeration bed add screws and your done. The inner components that do not receive direct sun should last a very long time.