|Comments on Sunday 24 April 2011:|
|We've been attempting to grow things we can eat with varying success for a while now, and recently I got an Earthbox since they seem well recommended - they're basically a planter with a reservoir in the bottom that wicks up through the soil, maintaining moist-but-not-wet topsoil and giving a sort of tiered effect, the deeper the wetter. So now, having experimented with it for a while, here's the results:|
Exhibit A: a zucchini plant in a regular pot, watered every day and also nominally kept moist with some sort of a watering cone/spike thing.
Exhibit B: three zucchini plants close together, in an Earthbox.
Note also the giant basil behind zucchinis B. I've never seen a basil so big before. Also in both containers is a tomato plant - they're approximately the same size, but the tomato plant in the round container has been there for about three months longer. There's actually a basil in that other container too, that's been there as long as the tomato - it's never been more than about 6 inches tall with weak little leaves. It's in shot but you pretty much can't see it.
Conclusion: Earthboxes are pretty good.
I've also made a makeshift mini-earthbox for herbs, using a window box - it came with a sub-floor water tray already, so I just drilled some bigger holes through to the tray to make dirt-wicks possible, and a hole for a refilling pipe (the Earthbox's refill pipe is hidden under zucchini leaves), cut a piece of pipe to length and a side-hole in it at the bottom. It appears to work well - we got some "dying herbs, 50 cents" and a week later they're twice as tall, and the oregano's even growing flowers. So making your own Earthbox is certainly feasible, but I would recommend buying one to use as a model.
To be fair to the watering cone, which are also generally well recommended, the water our plants get hasn't gone through the filtering system and is full of iron - I think the cones get blocked pretty quickly with cruddy water. So it might not be their fault that the other zucchini plant is so pathetic. [12:33]