Monday, March 23, 2009


Spring is in the air. Today's cold again, but last week was warm enough that most of the snow has melted from everywhere except at my house, and later in the week will be more of the same. In addition to the usual spring projects (like getting the screens back up, hooking up garden hoses, and the like), plus the new woodshed wall I'm building, and the splitting and stacking of last year's wood and cutting new wood this year, I have one more project lined up.

Last year we tried out some home-made Earthbox clones and they worked fantastically, beyond our wildest expectations. Literally: the tomato plants got so big we had to rig up support posts and then tie them to the deck to keep them from falling over from being topheavy. We started small with just three boxes, one for tomatos, one for peppers, and one for onions.

Right after planting:
Planting day 6/7/2008
Four weeks later:
4 weeks later
At six and a half weeks:
6 and a half weeks later

At that point we stopped taking pictures, but it got so much bigger later. We ended up throwing away about 20 good-sized tomatoes (mostly because we didn't get around to canning them as sauce in time), and we dried quite a few peppers:

Drying peppers

All this with the minimal amount of time and effort we're able and willing to invest (our previous attempts at gardening have always failed miserably since we just never put in the time required to live up to the obligations of what was planted). All this required was a few minutes watering them most days, and that's about it.

This year I'm making four more earthboxes, so we'll have a total of seven. Four will be tomatoes, with one plant per basket -- trying to do two in one basket didn't work so well after all. One will be peppers as before, and two will be onions, because we can use more onions all year long.

I've purchased the bins already, and have the black sheeting from last year; now I just need the tubing and pond baskets. The generic-Earthbox-clone directions are easy, don't require special tools or skills, cost about a quarter of name-brand Earthboxes, and really work.

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