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Author Topic: What is the recommended type of fertilizer for the Earthbox?  (Read 24412 times)
joy112854
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Zone 8B Crestview, Florida (close to Pensacola)


« on: November 20, 2008, 07:55:44 PM »

I am new to this site and a beginner gardner and don't really know a lot about fertilizers.  I have bought 5 earthboxes, 4 without any mix or fertilizer.  I ran out and bought some fertilizers; but am having second thoughts as to if I should use it in the earth box or not. 

First off, what is the difference between time release and slow release if any?  Next, what is the difference between the above and organic fertilizer?

I'm getting the impression that maybe I have bought the wrong kind for use in the earth box?  I have a 4 lb box of Schultz's Tomato and Vegetable Slow Release Plant Food it's a 10-12-12 formula, and I have on hand Gardener's Supply of Tomato Organic fertilizer it's a 5-6-5 blend.  And of course, I have the Miracle Grow Tomato Plant Food; but it is water soluable.

Now, according to what I'm hearing here and in the directions, we are not to use water soluable, so, that's out, what about the Schultz's?  Is that out too?  And if so, what should I buy to use in the earthbox that I can pick up at Lowes or Home Depot, what is the brand called and what is it?  Is it not time released, and if it isn't what should I look for in the label and what numbers should I look for?

I know I ask a lot of questions; but, that is my way of learning.
joy112854     
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mjb8743
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Zone 7, South NJ, Garden State


« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2008, 08:29:35 PM »


I know I ask a lot of questions; but, that is my way of learning.
joy112854     

Your question about timed release/slow release fertilizers is irrelevant with regard to the Earthbox. Don't use them. Also don't use water-soluble fertilizers such as Miracle-Gro. The fertilizer must be granular, with the 3 numbers between 5 and 15. My personal favorite is 5-10-10. You can also use organic fertilizer, but need more of it.

Obviously, you don't believe in reading instructions. If you did, you could probably learn a lot and answer most of your own questions. Most, if not all of your questions have been discussed at length here. Please learn to use the search tool and try to find the answers yourself before asking that folks keep repeating what has been said over again, many times. Aside from that, do what other newbies do: read, read, and read.

Here is the link to Earthbox's instructions and other useful information.

http://www.earthbox.com/consumer/instructions.html

Mickie
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111 EBs and growing... so how come there are never enough boxes??
joy112854
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Zone 8B Crestview, Florida (close to Pensacola)


« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2008, 08:56:38 PM »

Mickie:  I did read, must have missed it somewheres.  I think I stated that in my 3rd paragraph, oops, you must have been too quick to criticize me to read the entire post and missed that part right?  And obviously, because I stated that I was a beginner, that makes you smarter right?  I am very good at following directions and reading, perhaps that is why I have a degree with my major in Accounting and graduated with a 3.4 GPA, didn't leave much time for gardening; but, since I'm retired now, decided to learn some things I had missed in life, and am real good at following directions, I asked specific questions, you should read the entire post before answering perhaps.   

If you would have looked further down to my fourth paragraph, you would have seen the question I was wanting the answer to; but, let me put it another way, what brand and type do most people use with EBs other than what the EB people sell? 

Lastly, but not leastly, lets agree here on one thing ok?  Pictures speak a thousand words when it comes to plants and how I rate a person as to if they know what they are doing or not in regards to gardening, so these so called friends of mine that have given me advice, when they have tomatoes tall as shrubs and trees and bountiful I tend to pay attention to what they say.   

I take it you are not a teacher of some sort correct?  If you were you would have an empty class room, that said, I can only pray that you are not an employee of Earthbox, for if you are, with your comments like in your second paragraph, I'm sure you've chased off many potential returning clients of theirs.

Now all I wanted was a brand of fertilizer that people were using in their earthbox and what the boxes might read?  Being a new gardener I have no idea what other types of fertilizers are out there other than time release, water soluable and organic, is there another type?  I hope I can get a straight answer to that question, as that one seems pretty straight forward to me. 
joy112854 

 
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jwestfall9
Jr. Member
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Posts: 29

Pinellas County, FL Zone 10


« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2008, 09:46:25 PM »

Joy, I am using a brand called Sunniland Bloom Special (2 - 10 - 10). I couldn't find many choices so I went with the bloom special because I figured you have to have flowers in order to have 'maters. I am, again, very happy with this choice. I did find a couple of links in the discussions which are found below.

I too am a newbie to Earth Box but not to gardening. But based on the reading that I have done, you basically throw out what you know about conventional gardening when it comes to the Earth Box so you are at somewhat of an advantage being new to gardening.

I have done a lot of reading on this site and have found the information quite helpful aside from the occassional cranky response.

Here are the links:
http://forum.earthbox.com/index.php?topic=1447.0
http://www.starnursery.com/show_details.php?root=150&product=554

And here is an excerpt from a rather long message:
Just a side note. I use organic fertilizers but not the kind sold by EarthBox. I use the Espoma brand and have never had a problem with the boxes being dug into (and I have a beagle, she goes after anything that's stinky!).

PS I probably only scratched the surface doing a search on fertilizers. I have to say there is a lot of discussion on the fertilizer numbers and organic vs chemical but there is precious little mention of brands.

Good luck with you gardening.
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LeggoLamb
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Posts: 247


Sarasota, FL 9b


« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2008, 09:57:58 PM »

Joy, this is my first year with EB also, have had good success with tomatoes, cantaloupe, beans, now starting turnips and broccoli.  I just used granular fertilizer I had left over from last year.  You just need granular fertilizer with all 3 numbers over 5.  Next time I plant I will have to go get more fertilizer, just plan on getting general pupose fertilizer that fits in the number range if available in decent size bags.  I am finishing up a mixture of citrus and azalea fertilizers both made by Vigoro in little resealable bags, can't tell you much more about brand names since I haven't looked for fertilizer yet.  Slow release fertilizers like Osmocote do have some value in EB use, according to workers at the research center in Florida, but should not be used in lieu of granular fertilizer. Some plants like citrus and blueberries cannot take fertilizer in the amounts specified for standard EB use.  Also, it will make removal of fertilizer easier if you put it in a nylon stocking when you plant.  When it comes to dolomite, I haven't found any in home improvement stores but did get some at a garden supply store under the label of agricultural lime.  When you transplant seedlings you can use the Miracle-Gro solution to "water in" the seedlings, just don't soak the rest of the box with it (this comes from EB planting class at the research center).

I will not get into testy situation with other forum members who deem it their purpose to police the forum and forgetting that it is here for the purpose of information - and not all people have attained the same level of perfection.  Being retired military, I recognize the value of repeating information just to make sure the information "received" is the same information necessary to get the job done.  Now that I am off my soapbox, don't be afraid to ask questions.
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RatedPG
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Posts: 348

Zone 8B (Jacksonville, FL)


« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2008, 11:14:10 PM »

Quote
Hi and welcome to our forum

Please put your location and zone, if known, in your profile. That way, it will show up in your posts... it helps when diagnosing problems and we won't have to keep asking you where you are. This post tells you how:
http://forum.earthbox.com/index.php?topic=283.msg1673#msg1673

A better source for zones, updated for global warming:
http://arborday.org/treeinfo/zonelookup.cfm

The earthBox is really a simple yet effective system when allowed to 'Do it's thing'.  From experience, please read and reread ALL of the information shipped with the Earthbox until you understand what you are supposed to do.  Do not carry over ANY of your previous gardening experience/practices during the first year of EarthBox usage.  Just do what the instructions state.

My advice is to get on the internet and do a little reading as to the requirements and growing habits for the plants you want to grow. Then visit a nursery/garden center and buy seedlings all ready for transplanting. Keep things simple the first time. Go to the Earthbox instructions and follow them to the letter. Read the FAQ's and Tips and Tricks in this forum also. Use the search tool for posts about any issues that concern you (go to the home page for the broadest search).

Be sure you use potting MIX and not potting SOIL. Potting mix without fertilizer is becoming harder and harder to find. Potting mixes with 3-month's fertilizer are ok to use... just add the normal amount of fertilizer as in the EB  instructions. The only fertilizer your plants need is the strip. Don't go adding anything else, such as liquid fertilizers.

Dolomite is actually dolomitic lime, or also called agricultural lime. As long as it's finely pulverized (not pelleted) and the label ingredient list says calcium and magnesium, it's ok. It will come in large bags, very inexpensive (dirt cheap), and is available in just about any nursery or farm supply. In smaller quantities there is Garden Lime by Espoma, but it's too coarse as is; you'll need to grind it up finer (a sacrificial coffee grinder or blender works well). If pelleted is all that's available, then you must grind it yourself. Pelleted lime just dissolves too slowly to be of much benefit. Powdered will be more readily available to your plants.

If you are using an organic fertilizer that has animal by-products, such as that supplied by Earthbox, you need to cover it with 2-4" of potting mix to prevent critters and flies getting to it.

If you want to use a regular fertilizer, look for something around 5-10-10. Earthbox supplies 7-7-7 with their standard kits. Avoid anything that you dilute with water... it has to be granular. 10-10-10 is kinda heavy on the nitrogen, which is fine for leafy type crops (spinach, lettuce, kale etc). For fruiting veggies I prefer a lower first number (nitrogen), thus my recommendation of 5-10-10. All these should be stocked by most nurseries and farm suppliers.

The roots don't 'suck up water from the reservoir"... the science of the EB is that the soil sucks up the water, and the cover keeps it from evaporating, so there is always a supply available for whatever size plant you have. Seeds and seedlings only need a little moistening when you plant them. Don't be tempted to leave the cover off or do your watering from the top.

This is the EB link to what you can plant.
http://www.earthbox.com/consumer/grow.html

To mix plants, cut the quantities in half. Example....
Instead of the (2) tomatoes or (6) peppers, putting them together you would have (1) tomato and (3) peppers. Experiment with what sounds right to you, but stick close to the guide in the beginning. Consider also the growth habits of the plants your mixing. Cukes are a vine and may well choke out the peppers. You want to mix plants with similar habits and requirements. For that, search the web and read up on your plants.

All melons are heavy feeders, and EB folks recommend 4 plants, and this is their revised listing. I personally put only 3, and they grew just fine. don't let the size of the fruit deceive you.... it's the plant that counts, and they're all similar (squash/melons/cukes).

If you are in an area that is hot and humid. That invites a host of fungus-type diseases. Just read the posts from other folks in a similar climate... You must take some measures to protect or rescue your plants. There are many products that are organic and can be used right up to harvest with no ill effects.

Gardens Alive has several suitable products such as Soap Shield fungicide and Pyola insecticide to name a couple.

http://www.gardensalive.com/

If you want to grow anything at all in that climate, I'd suggest keeping both of these on hand.

Nearly all your questions can be answered by contacting your county extension agent... that's what he's there for. see this link for help:

http://forum.earthbox.com/index.php?topic=661.0

Good luck,
Mickie


« Last Edit: November 20, 2008, 11:17:56 PM by RatedPG » Logged
joy112854
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Zone 8B Crestview, Florida (close to Pensacola)


« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2008, 11:21:16 PM »

Thank you so much, that is just what I'm looking for.  I had no idea what the differences in slow release, organic, all purpose or any other fertilizer was, as this is a new hobby of mine, so your suggestions and naming what you use helps me a lot.  You both have been very helpful.   
joy112854  
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RatedPG
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Zone 8B (Jacksonville, FL)


« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2008, 11:52:48 PM »

Thank you so much, that is just what I'm looking for.  I had no idea what the differences in slow release, organic, all purpose or any other fertilizer was, as this is a new hobby of mine, so your suggestions and naming what you use helps me a lot.  You both have been very helpful.   
joy112854  

If you keep on asking for specific brands, you will be frustrated - people here hesitate to name the brands they are using knowing that not all brands are available in all zones.  So even if you do get the specific name/brand, it might not be available in your area.

What you should be aware of are the specifications/formulations of the components of Earthbox gardening.  BRAND IS NOT THAT IMPORTANT.  As long as the product has the same specs as that prescribed by the Earthbox instructions, you can use them effectively.


I would also advise you to be a bit more careful with your posts.  Your post to mickie above, IMHO, is bordering on sarcasm.  You cite your ability to read and follow instructions, as well as degrees and GPA's, which will all backfire against you because the truth is, your questions have all been answered many many times before.  You should have seen this answers if you made a "Search" before asking. The first thing you should learn is to use the Search feature in this forum!!!

In mickie's defense I'd say that if she were a teacher, her classroom would be full of students willing to learn from her valuable experience with the Earthbox.  No, she is not an EB employee, but she has encouraged a lot of "returning clients" to go on with EB gardening.  I would not have lasted this long with the EB had it not been for mickie's answers to my questions.

PG
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joy112854
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Posts: 643

Zone 8B Crestview, Florida (close to Pensacola)


« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2008, 02:00:26 AM »

Thank you for that input.  I believe that mickie, a member for quite some time, showed sarcasm to a newbie, (myself), and many other newbies.  She made asssumptions that we have not read instructions, when I'm sure others have read the instructions as I have; but wanted specific answers.  I believe that this is maybe just her personality or maybe she fell out of bed on the wrong side of the bed today, who knows, who cares.  For the most part, from having graduated from a teacher's college in good standing, I don't think she is teacher material, I would not care to try and learn anything from her, her attitude is all wrong. 

People learn by asking questions, and those that don't want to show people the proper respect everyone deserves shouldn't be the one answering the questions.  I was just giving her the same attitude she showed me and others also. As far as my lasting with EBs, her attitude has nothing to do with that, my attitude and wanting to know more about them has to do with whether I stay with EBs or not.  I have found a website where people are friendly and learn from one another and will continue to visit that website and refrain from asking questions on this one from now on.
joy112854   
joy112854
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Donald1800
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Fontana, CA Zone 8


« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2008, 04:03:58 AM »

That is why, when you asked the question(s), that we did not respond - a combination of inadequate searching for the answers already given a multiple of times and an apparent difficulty understanding what you read.  We did not want to have to tell you how your frame of mind turned us off, or to bite-the-bullet and say it all over again ad-infinitum.

As a matter of fact, mjb8743 and I have backed off lately posting to new EB gardeners as much as we have in the past, and in my case, I really am tired of saying the same thing over and over.  If the new EB gardener is not interested enough to search out for the answers available to them and only use the easier method of "asking questions", then the enquirer is not a very good student (regardless of degrees or GPA) that an experienced gardener/teacher would be willing to expend the energy to teach.

As a result of this current experience, I am now convinced that I am spending to much wasted time on this forum, and will limit my replies to solutions of environmental and growing problems.  I will leave it to others to handle the never-ending new EB gardener questions about potting mix, fertilizer, watering, "...what do I do about the bugs...?", etc.  Hopefully EarthBox will release a new instruction sheet/booklet that will adequately eliminate or at least seriously reduce the amount of new EB gardener confusion requiring forum clarification.  I'm surely not willing to fill in on this anymore.

Donald1800
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joy112854
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Zone 8B Crestview, Florida (close to Pensacola)


« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2008, 04:37:29 AM »

Donald:  I'm sorry that those of you have been members here for say five years know more about the rules of posting than the newbies, I'm sorry that those of you who have been using the EBs for quite some time and have had many years of experience in that and in gardening than many of the newbies have had know more than you seem to require the newbies to know.  I'm sure, I'm not alone here in that I have read the instruction sheets thoroughly that came with the EBs, and still have some questions of my own, maybe not in a general way; but, more specific way, I have understanding of what I read.  What might seem old hat to some that have been doing this for quite a while, maybe the newbies, such as myself don't find it old hat yet.  It'd be neighborly and downright kind to allow us to get a little time in ourselves instead of expecting us all to be right up there where you after it has taken you time to get there you think? 

I believe I asked what brands of fertilizers are used, and asked if someone could tell me what the difference between types of fertilizers are, after thoroughly reading the directions, I knew we were not to use time release or liquid fertilizers; but being a beginner gardener, I didn't know there was any other kind and that is why I asked for a brand name, which by the way, a newbie furnished the answer for me, doesn't that make you and Mickey proud now?   

This is definately not the friendly and helpful site I thought it would be.  I find myself and other newbies asking questions and being hit with the "hey, go read the manual first".  Well, hey, some of us have, some of us wanted maybe suggestions from some of you that have been using EBs for a while.  I mean, why should we have to make the same mistakes that the older users have made; if, the older users would be more considerate of the newbies feelings and maybe a little more sharing and caring.  I belong to a gardening site that has given me more useful information and everyone over at that site are more like family, not strangers as this site seems to want to remain.

I enjoy taking on new things it is fun for me to constantly be learning something new.  I have found though, with hobbies, when others want to learn the hobby I know well, I don't mind sharing my mistakes with them and suggestions so that they don't have to repeat the same mistakes I made in learning it.  We all have to learn something new sometime. 

Just like when I asked for you to share your ingredients and how much of each for your mix, you said it wasn't under the Q and A part of the site.  When I have questions, that is the first place I look after reading the basic instructions and don't find any answers to specific questions I have.  Believe me, I won't be asking any more questions on this site, as some of the people on this site make it a place not conductive for learning.  The other site I belong to, people share their pics, their experiences, their mistakes and give their suggestions. 
joy112854     
     
 
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cushman350
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« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2008, 09:51:47 AM »

Quote
Just like when I asked for you to share your ingredients and how much of each for your mix, you said it wasn't under the Q and A part of the site.  When I have questions, that is the first place I look after reading the basic instructions and don't find any answers to specific questions I have.

This reply tells us you didn't understand what was being said about how the search function works here. But, please, don't go away mad...

cushman
« Last Edit: November 21, 2008, 09:53:30 AM by cushman350 » Logged
joy112854
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Posts: 643

Zone 8B Crestview, Florida (close to Pensacola)


« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2008, 01:06:24 PM »

Cushman:  I'm not mad, just a little amazed at how everyone expects beginners to get it all so fast, and the short and tarty answers to newbies posts.  I've been told I'm a fast learner and  I really enjoy learning things I've never done, and gardening heads the top of that list until this past Spring/Summer.  I'm not one to throw in the towel so easy either when I am determined to learn something. I even have flower beds now.  I have over 80 canna lilies and just planted over 80 daffodils in pots and planters.  I love reading, I'm a bookworm and I do ask a lot of specific questions.  I'm the one who asks why?  LOL  Sorry; but that is it in a nutshell.  I don't mind doing something if I know the why to it.  I know why we use a mix in the containers and not soil; that is why I look for the lightest possible mix I can find. LOL  Now that you know how my mind works and how I learn I truly hope we can relate to one another without harsh words between us.
joy112854 
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RatedPG
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Posts: 348

Zone 8B (Jacksonville, FL)


« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2008, 01:15:45 PM »



I know why we use a mix in the containers and not soil; that is why I look for the lightest possible mix I can find.



May I ask why we use mix and not soil?

Why are you looking of the lightest possible mix?
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joy112854
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Posts: 643

Zone 8B Crestview, Florida (close to Pensacola)


« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2008, 05:03:12 PM »

When we use a light and spongy potting mix the wicking process in the boxes work better, if you use potting soil or garden soil it will suffocate the plants' roots.  This is what I've learned from reading. Also; from reading the instructions that came with the Garden Patch boxes I bought, (6 of them), they recommend buying the lightest possible potting mix.  They also don't recommend 13-13-13 fertilizer as it usually contains salts that burn up the plants.  The reason I wanted to find out what brands others were using in the way of fertilizers so I could check the back of the box at the store and make sure mine was close as I could get to that when I bought fertilizer.  I find that when people show pics of their plants then they gotta be doing something right, and therefore can copy what they are doing to be successful also.
The only difference I could tell on visual inspection of the Garden Patch Boxes and the Earth Boxes, is that the EBs have a water tube, the Garden Patch does not, you water it right from the reservior under the part you plant your startings into and it's slightly bigger than the EB.  The Garden Patch's reservoir does hold more water than the EB; but, I do prefer the mulch covers on the EB, as it stretches across the top of the container, the Garden Patch's have just a plastic strip that you use plastic nail like things to secure it to the top of the box, the fertilizer strip comes with the tops of the Garden Patch covers; but, some of my fertilizer strips crystallized right to the cover. I wound up using liquid fertilizer in the reservoir because of that problem. 
joy112854     
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