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How the EarthBox Container Gardening System Works

Updated on July 4, 2017
The Earthbox in early spring
The Earthbox in early spring

Container Gardening

Container gardening is a popular way to grow vegetables or flowers these days. There are many advantages to container gardening. We take a look at some of these advantages, and also point out some of the disadvantages, and how the EarthBox gardening system solves those problems.

We have two EarthBox systems that grow vegetables and herbs for us year round. If you are at all interested in trying container gardening in your home or apartment balcony, this will get you going on the right foot from the get go!

Advantages of Using an EarthBox System

Earth Box container gardening lets you do a number of things out of the ordinary. Since the container is very mobile, you can start plants indoors to get a jump on the spring garden. If you start them outside and an unexpected freeze hits your area, you can easily move them inside on those early frost killing nights. Either way you are "cheating" a few extra weeks out of the gardening season without the complexity of an outdoor cold frame.

You can place the container on a patio or a balcony, allowing the harvesting of fresh vegetables or flowers available at your fingertips. If you choose to grow herbs, you will have ingredients to harvest right outside the kitchen door, ready to use in a moments notice in recipes that call for fresh herbs.

Fennel and dill growing well in our EarthBox
Fennel and dill growing well in our EarthBox | Source

Disadvantages of Container Gardening - EarthBox Can Fix Them

One of the biggest disadvantages to container gardening is keeping the container adequately watered. Since containers have a relatively small soil mass, and they are exposed to the elements all around, they can tend to dry out relatively quickly, especially in the summer heat. On the flip side, it's easy to overwater if you aren't careful, so proper drainage of a container system is critical to avoid root rot and fungal growth.

The EarthBox has a unique solution for this. It has a self watering system, that basically holds a water reservoir in the bottom of the unit. You fill the reservoir with water until it's full and with the built-in overflow port, you simply cannot overwater using this system. The main feature of the Earthbox is that the reservoir will continue to water for much longer than a normal plant container.

When it's full of soil, the container can be quite heavy. No problem with the casters on the bottom of the EarthBox - a main feature so that it can be easily moved around. You just roll the container around wherever you want it - no lugging heavy containers or using a dolly to transport from one place to another. This is also handy for getting it in and out of the garage when starting plants indoors, or simply moving it around your patio or deck.

What Can You Grow In An EarthBox?

The EarthBox garden system started selling in 2001. It holds around 2 cubic feet of growing medium, which is a very adequate space for a small amount of veggies. With that you can grow two tomato plants, or 8 medium size plants like cabbage, broccoli, or peppers. Alternatively you can grow smaller plants like peas or beans, and there's room for about 16 plants of those plants. A strawberry bed works well in one, especially in southern states where strawberries are treated as annuals instead of perennials. One of the more common uses is as an herb garden.

Always make sure you place it where your vegetables get their eight hours of sunlight a day and preferably in the same spot each day as the plants get used to the light they receive.

Self Watering Containers including the Earthbox


The EarthBox has an optional staking kit that helps keep the unit from getting top heavy and susceptible to tipping over like a typical vegetable container would. This is because the staking unit does not anchor into the box itself, but stands on the ground below the unit. This staking system enables you to grow tomatoes or climbing plants like beans, peas, or cucumbers that would normally become top heavy in a regular planter.

Finally, to aid water retention and weed control, a soil cover is included in the unit. It has cutouts for the type of plants you are growing, and more than one is included. They are black on one side and white on the other, usually the black side is exposed.

The Earth Box comes in two colors, a garden green or a terra cotta color. The staking kits come in matching colors as well.

What are you waiting for?

EarthBox Herb Garden

My friend Linda started an herb garden as her first quest with an EarthBox. Check out these photos from her first planting to just one month later.

Just the beginning
Just the beginning | Source

One Month Later!


Just one month later!
Just one month later! | Source

EarthBox as a Gift In Itself!

Trying to interest someone in gardening? Purchase an EarthBox and fill it with some of the tools and seeds or even plants you would need to start growing in the EarthBox. It will be your gift container and no wrapping paper is needed. The picture below is an Easter "basket" EarthBox.


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    • profile image

      Gloria Ord 8 years ago

      This is a wonderful idea, I love container gardneing and grow many veggies, Sort of like the riased bed gardening.


      Gloria Ord

    • kinleyw profile image

      kinleyw 8 years ago

      hi...i am into gradening and earth box is a nice idea

    • profile image

      Ken 8 years ago

      My wife and I decided to go full bore with earthboxes this year and ordered 18. As you mentioned, the ability to wheel them into the garage is a great plus as it allowed us to start our plants 6 weeks earlier than if we were doing an in-ground garden. So far we've planted 6 boxes with tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, romaine lettuce, arugula and a couple of other lettuces. After 10 days to "settle in" all the plants started to grow like crazy. Next week we'll get our beans, squash, cukes, carrots, eggplant and whatever else we can think of started.

    • johnr54 profile image

      Joanie Ruppel 9 years ago from Texas

      I used one of these for an herb garden last fall and the biggest problem I had was the size of the basi. It got to be well over 3 ft tall and we couldn't use nearly that much. And the herbs is still going because we wheel it into the garage when there is a freeze warning. Now I have to decide if I'm going to keep the herbs or start something new in the spring.

    • Jeff Dahlberg profile image

      Jeff Dahlberg 9 years ago from Minnesota

      This is the first time I have ever heard about the earth box. I am going to check it out. Thanks. Jeff