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This past weekend we planted our garden – and it did take the WHOLE weekend!  But if everything grows, it will definitely be worth it.  In addition to planting things IN our garden, we also built two planters to hold tomatoes and peppers up by our deck.  They are homemade versions of the “Earth Box” – and you can make them too!  (or if you prefer – you can buy one here: http://www.earthbox.com/)

All the supplies we used to make them were bought from Lowe’s, including the plants – we utilized Bonnie Plants‘ website, which are carried by Lowe’s, to determine which tomatoes we wanted in the deck boxes.

These are the steps we followed (we followed this sheet of directions somewhat when doing this: link):

First, assemble your supplies.  You will need for one earth box:

Supply List

  • Two 18 gallon bins
  • One  1″ pipe, two feet long (drinking water safe)
  • Fertilizer
  • Lime
  • Potting mix
  • One 1 quart yogurt container or other similar sized mess vessel
  • Small straw or tube
  • Two – Three plants selected (we did 2 tomato plants and 1 basil plant in a box)
  • Drill, 1/4″-1/2″ drill bits
  • cutting tool  – we had both a hand saw and utility knife handy
  • sharpie or marker
Some time on your hands – if you have everything assembled – it should take no more than 2 hours to put this together!
Step one:  Gather every thing together

Assembled supplies

Step Two: trace around the side of one of the bins with the yogurt container as a guide.  Then cut the bottom of the bin off along that line.

Tracing around the side of the bin

Cutting off the bottom of the bin

Step Three: Flip the cut off bottom over and trace the top of the yogurt container in the middle.  Cut out that circle.

Tracing around the yogurt container

Cut out the circle

Step Four: Drill many! holes into the cut off bottom and the yogurt container And cut off a notch into one corner of the bottom so that the pipe can fit in.

Drilled containers

Step Five:  Put the cut off bottom upside down into the other bin.  Fit the yogurt container in so that it’s bottom is touching the bottom of the larger bin and the top is touching the edges of the circle cut into the cut off bottom.  Fit pipe into it’s notch so that it stands up along the inside of the bin.  Drill a hole into the big bin and just below the top of the cut off bin and fit the straw or small pipe into the hole so that it sticks out the side.

Boxes ready for water and dirt!

Side pipe view

Step Six: BEFORE THIS STEP, PUT BIN WHERE YOU WANT IT TO SIT.  IT GETS HEAVY! Fill bins with potting mix until halfway full.  Moisten the soil and then put on a thin layer of lime.  Then fill the rest of the bin with the soil.  Select where you want your plants to go, and put them in, leaving a trench in the middle.  Make sure the soil is nice and wet.

Placing in the plants

Step Seven:  Put the fertilizer in the trench.  And then cover up with soil, so that it comes right up to the plants’ leaves.  Make sure you get everything nice and wet.

Putting in the line of fertilizer

Step Eight: Pour water into the pipe until the water begins to come out of the little straw spout.

It takes some work – but the tasty tomatoes fresh from your back deck should be worth it in June and July!

There are tons of other posts out there on how to build these – just google “DIY earthbox” – which is what we did to figure out how to build our own!