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growing from seed in an earthbox

Posted by kawaiineko_gardener (My Page) on
Tue, Jan 19, 10 at 18:02

An earthbox is a form of container gardening that use self-watering. I received three earthboxes. The instructions say to plant "x amount of seedlings per earthbox". How many seedlings you put per earthbox depends upon what you're growing.

I'd put this post in container gardening forum, but whenever I post anything there, I just receive grief about it.

As an example it says you can
plant 2 tomato plants in one earthbox, 4 cucumber plants in one earthbox, etc.

The instructions say how much soil to use per box and how full to fill it; when you add the plant food, etc.

Unfortunately although it gives very detailed instructions with planting seedlings in an earthbox, it's extremely vague with growing from seed in an earthbox. I plan to direct sow from seed in the earthboxes I have. First I'll start with cool weather crops, and then once the weather becomes warm enough and the cool weather stuff has matured, I'll move onto warm weather crops.

The cool weather stuff I plan to grow will be

lettuce x4
spinach x5
turnips x5
beets x5
peas x 8
radishes x8

For warm weather stuff I plan to grow:

Cucumbers x4
Tomatoes x2
Beans x16

My questions are basically this. You have this tarp/cover that comes with the
Earthbox. You basically cut holes in it for each seedling you have (8 seedlings, 8 holes as an example),
Making the holes big enough for the root ball of the seedling.

However if Im growing from seed in the earthbox from the start, which Is what I plan to do,
Then how long will I have to grow them before the tarp is ready to be added?

Also I tried Container gardening last year, and one of the biggest problems I had was the wind kept knocking over my seedlings.

Will I have this same problem with earthboxes after the tarp is Added or will this provide extra support for the plants?

One Idea I had was to put a towel down and put the earthboxes on the towel. I'd then put grow lights above the seedlings and grow them until they're ready to go
outside. I would gradually harden them to acclimate them
To outdoor climates.

Is it even possible to do this type of setup of starting
The seedlings indoors from seed?

If so, how would I go about doing so? Im not really sure.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: growing from seed in an earthbox

Well I'll try to answer a couple of your questions based on my experience with Earthboxes. ;)

First I assume you know that they are not intended for direct seeding but are intended for transplants only. So you are sort of starting out with 2 strikes against you by trying to direct seed to the EB. The best approach is to grow your own seedlings in a regular seed starting container inside and then transplant them to an earthbox after they are hardened off. That would be the standard approach.

That said, it is sort of possible to direct seed in them IF you treat them just as you would a patch of outside ground the same size as the box.

EX: for lettuce, at proper planting time outside, you'd (1) cut two narrow strips about 4-5" apart out of the plastic cover approximately the length of the box, plant your seeds in those rows and once they germinate well you thin the seedlings to 6" apart just as you would in a garden OR (2) leave the plastic off all together and scatter plant the lettuce seed all over the top, then thin the seedlings as needed.

If wind is a problems for you then you'll have to construct some sort of wind shield for the planters or find a more sheltered location for the boxes. Some plants will require supports - definitely the tomatoes will and likely the cukes too.

First I'll start with cool weather crops, and then once the weather becomes warm enough and the cool weather stuff has matured, I'll move onto warm weather crops.

I have to say I think you are over-estimating what you are going to be able to plant with only 3 EB. Most of your so-called cool weather crops will still be going strong long after it is time to get your tomatoes and cukes and beans planted. ;) You'll be ripping out productive crops to get those other things planted.

You don't say your zone like most of us do or where you live so I have no way of knowing how long your gardening season is but turnips and beets and even the lettuce and spinach are long lasting crops so their boxes won't be free for those other crops. You might want to consider cutting back on the number of things you try to grow with only 3 boxes or invest in more boxes. I'd suggest you use 1 box for mixed lettuce, spinach and a few radishes, skip the beets, turnips, and peas since you won't get much from them anyway, use one box for cukes, and 1 for tomatoes.

Hope this helps.


RE: growing from seed in an earthbox

PLANT SEEDS, NO PROBLEM! Put the tarp on, cut holes where the seeds are going to go. follow instructions for how many plants in one box. put seeds in, watch them grow! I used snap pea seeds 2 weeks ago. I watched the seeds come up, and helped guide them, but I think they were all going to make it even if I just left them alone.

Here is a link that might be useful: andy deer

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