The EarthBox Forum
November 24, 2014, 06:53:12 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
News: Welcome to the EarthBox Forum!
 
   Home   Help Login Register  
Pages: 1 [2] 3 4 5
  Print  
Author Topic: What is the recommended type of fertilizer for the Earthbox?  (Read 26207 times)
bokchoy
Full Member
***
Posts: 73

jakarta, Indonesia


« Reply #15 on: November 21, 2008, 09:10:22 PM »

Hello Joy

I live in 2 different part of the world in 1 year, being an indonesian citizen and australian permanent resident. So it is hard to apply gardening in different climate zones. I bought 2 ebs from Australia an brought them to Jakarta, tropical hot place.

I am also new to gardening and I do understand and won't blame you for your frustration. We re here to learn this new thing and my opinion is: Dont stop asking questions because we learn by that. And don't be put up with others reply if it seems bothering you. Just keep on asking, eventually others who dont mind to answer will answer you. And dont just rely on this website, search on google, buy gardening books. For example, Some thing like 7-7-7 fertilizer code, I just found out that it is actually N P K ratio (nitrogen phosporus and potasium) contents in fertilizer. And i did not bother on asking that although i didnt really understand what those numbers mean but I searched in google and I get heaps of answers. Now i read books, read articles on net and everything starts to come together.

As for others who said they get tired on answering same questions over and over again, my advise to you guys is: Dont answer or reply if you dont want to. Dont bother. Just let others who wants to answer answer the questions. This way, you wont get irritated and make someone like joy upset. Because reply like: "read, read, read" will make some people think negatively. I know you dont mean to be rude but since we are here on computer screen, not seeing each other, people can get misconception of what you are trying to say. So Mickey and Donald, if you dont feel like answering questions, then just don't. If you think the questions worth your answers, then please do.

Please dont get me wrong, I do appreciate every answers you have given to me so far. But for the sake of peace, yeah...just dont answer if you dont like the questions. Answers like: "its already there, read...search!...does nothing to this community, new people will come here and will ask the same questions over and over again whether you like it or not.
Now, lets talk science ! =)

Joy, let me share what I know about fertilizers. These are general knowledge and nothing to do with eb system who claims that you dont need to add anything for the plant to grow other than provided in the package.

In order for plants to grow happily they need 3 type of elements, major, secondary and minor. Major is Nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium (N P K) secondary elements are: calcium magnesium and sulphur, the minor elements or they call it trace elements are iron, manganese, copper, zinc boron and molybdenum.

There are different type of fertilizers out there, they are:

powdered and granular fertilizer
For general purpose, the N P K ratio recommended is 5 5 5. Granular mixtures have advantages of being free running and not setting hard in storage.

Water soluable fert.
These ferts are mostly nutrient booster or additives. Main ingredients are: urea mono ammonium phosphate and potassium sulphate or nitrate. These are disolvable in water. These are optional additives according to your plant requirement. Some plants need extra high potassium for example. Also usually N P K analysis in water soluable fert is higher. than granular. This also includes concentrated fish based fert that you dilute in water.

Slow release fert
these are like pellets, or in form of blood and bone, animal manure, bone dusts. All of these must be decomposed before the nutrients are available. So for example, you mix the blood and bone and soil and leave it for 2 weeks before you start planting.

Controlled release fert,
These are also pelletized, but with coatings in which designed to disolve slowly. Coating membranes can be waxes, parafins, resins and sulfur.
This sort of fert is recommended for pot or container garden system. But not EB as Eb specifically instruct its user to use granular fert. Anyway, this type of fert control the rate of nutrients released in soil depends on temperature of the soil and release does not depend on soil acidity or alkalinity.

These are inorganic fertilizer

There are organic ferts like liquid manure, green manure or peletized organic manure. These are like what the name suggests, they are organic fresh waste from animals =)

Also what I found, there is another thing, i.e: plant food. These are not fertilizer but usually sprayed on foliage or leaves forthnightly. Ingredients are seaweed extract that claims to increase plants defense on diseases and stimulates growth, fruiting, etc. What i learn is that EB does not recommend this. But I suppose you are welcome to experiment for example if you have 2 ebs, 1 you can do nothing and another one you can do something =) and see how they go.

These are based on my yates gardening book. Beautiful book. But sadly some of the contents are only applied for Australian condition. I would recommend you to get one or 2 comprehensive gardening books and you will see your knowledge will grow. Let me know if you have something else in mind.
Logged

Earthbox is a great start to get me into gardening, but I still dont like doing my lawn.
bokchoy
Full Member
***
Posts: 73

jakarta, Indonesia


« Reply #16 on: November 21, 2008, 09:25:09 PM »

oh joy, one more thing, about potting mix, i've been told the best way to make one yourself is by making compost. Potting mix sold commercially are basically composts. The good way to make compost is 1 load of leaves/dryleaves, 1 load of sawdust and 3 load of manure. You can add worm casts too if you have worm farm. I am starting one now. After the compost is done. You can add vermiculite to retain water better. Also you can add blood and bone as recommended.

But I think if money is not the issue, i would just buy the best commercial potting mix, some of them has grow warranty, enhanced with fertilizer so you basically dont have to do anything else, just plant and it will grow happily. One thing you might have to pay attention is the pH of the mix, some plants prefer acid soil some prefers alkaline soil, but most plants love slight acid soil, 6.5. I am trying to aim to make all of my potting plants other than EB to have 6.5 pH.

Dont do anything with EB because i had it tested and it is about 6-6.5 which is perfect.

Regards
Logged

Earthbox is a great start to get me into gardening, but I still dont like doing my lawn.
Moonglow
Jr. Member
**
Posts: 28


Corte Madera, CA - Zone 10a


WWW
« Reply #17 on: November 21, 2008, 09:59:43 PM »

Hello Joy

As for others who said they get tired on answering same questions over and over again, my advise to you guys is: Dont answer or reply if you dont want to. Dont bother. Just let others who wants to answer answer the questions. This way, you wont get irritated and make someone like joy upset. Because reply like: "read, read, read" will make some people think negatively. I know you don't mean to be rude but since we are here on computer screen, not seeing each other, people can get misconception of what you are trying to say. So Mickey and Donald, if you don't feel like answering questions, then just don't. If you think the questions worth your answers, then please do.

Please don't get me wrong, I do appreciate every answers you have given to me so far. But for the sake of peace, yeah...just don't answer if you don't like the questions. Answers like: "its already there, read...search!...does nothing to this community, new people will come here and will ask the same questions over and over again whether you like it or not.

Now, lets talk science ! =)


Nicely put.  Thank you so much.

Joy, I'm a newbie myself.  I use Gardener's Supply Self-Watering Container Mix taking advantage of their online coupons for FREE Shipping and discounts.  This mix has dolomitic and calcitic limestone already.

Happy gardening! 
Logged

Moonglow
Sustainable Gardening One Planter At A Time
joy112854
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 643

Zone 8B Crestview, Florida (close to Pensacola)


« Reply #18 on: November 22, 2008, 12:31:02 AM »

Thank you and that was well put.  This should be a site where people can come to get answers about EBs and it should be a friendly site, hope that happens.  I have some of Gardeners' Supply mix myself; it seems really light; but, I bought it for my hanging topsy turvys and Gardeners' Supply Revolution Planter.  I also bought their fertilizer for them also.  I really appreciate the information on fertilizers, I have about 6 gardening books now and am reading through them with much interest.  I also have read both instructions for the garden patch and the earth box.  Of which it says organic fertilizer is fine to use in the GP or EB but to add another cup of it.  I have thought about making my own compost; but, think I need to learn a lot more first before attempting that. 

Since I have 6 GP's and 5 EB's I can experiment a little using different types of potting mix and see which I prefer then, the fertilizers I will study up on to make sure I'm getting the granular type that isn't time released or water soluable. 

One question that pops into my head at the moment is just this:  since time release fertilizers seem to last for only 3 months, whatever you plant would have to be side-dressed again, is that the reason for the granular type used in the EBs and GPs?  I know I had my tomatoes in the boxes for longer than 3 months. 
joy112854     
Logged
Deb
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 1388

The Pacific NorthWE'T - Sunset - W. Climate Zone 6


« Reply #19 on: November 22, 2008, 02:47:39 AM »

Hey Joy-
Just relax and go with the flow around here.  As soon as you think you understand the directions they will get changed.  ;>

An example:  I knew the general consensus had changed from the printed directions regarding dolomite.  I specifically asked before planting - one cup for everything, except 2 cups for tomatoes.  A month or so later, the recommendation had changed again!  I'm blaming too little dolomite for my poor results last summer.  ;>

As Donald & Mickie have said, you need to follow the directions.  What they neglected to say was which directions.  The printed ones you get with a new EB are often outdated.  Newer findings are on the website.  Changes to the directions are to be found in the forums, but you'll have to read a lot of entries and judge the value of the info by who it is from, and you can't know that until you've read a lot of posts.

Around here, many of us find Donald and Mickie to be the voices of experience and reason.  They will tell you why - as retired engineers, they love to teach people and explain details.  It normally shows in their posts.  They are probably just disgruntled because it isn't active growing season and they have the winter 'I'm not gardening' shakes. This will pass.  ;> 

Look at each of the different forums and carefully read the 'pinned' items.  If you still have questions, start with, "after reading ..., I'm wondering ..."  You'll get the responses you want.  It's just that these same questions have really been asked and answered so often it makes the forums redundant to the point of boredom sometimes.  You'll feel the same in a few years.  ;>

I've been an EB gardener for years, I learn more all the time.  I'm sure I'll learn from you too, if you stick around.

I use an organic fertilizer.  Last year I used one call 'Dr Earth'.  It is a 5-5-5.  The directions say if using an organic, to use 3 cups per EB instead of 2.  Over the summer it was figured out that with these low numbers, I could probably use 3 times the regular fertilizer amounts and still be within the right amount for 15-15-15.  Next year I'm going to try different ferilizers depending on what is planted in the box.  Greens need more N than tomatoes do, for example.  Maybe I'll just go back to using the Gardens Alive products that I had such great results with in the ground.  I've got a few months to decide and re-read some of the postings with other's experience.

I looked at the Garden Patch boxes and wondered about that covering thing.  It looked like they want to sell you a new one with the fertilizer every season, is that right?  I have some self watering pots from a local store that water into the reservoir, what a pain that is.  I've been watering them from the top until the reservoir is full, then waiting until it is mostly dry before watering again.  Without a cover like the EB has, it sometimes doesn't take too long before it needs water again.  I'm planning to rig a pvc watering tube and a plastic mulch cover for them by next spring.  Could you do something like that to the GP boxes?

One more thing, and this is my own personal problem.  ;>  I noticed you have figured out how to post your zone, but I don't think that really tells us much about your growing conditions.  Maybe it helps in selecting plants that are likely to survive your conditions, but I wonder - I look at the maps and see that zone 8 is parts of the Pacific NW, around through the South and up the Eastern Seaboard.  There is no way my climate is anything like Cushman's, yet USDA says we are both zone 8.  Where are you located?  You can put it in your profile with your zone and it will appear with all your postings.

Deb
Logged
joy112854
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 643

Zone 8B Crestview, Florida (close to Pensacola)


« Reply #20 on: November 22, 2008, 11:30:30 AM »

Deb:  Thank you for sharing with me.  I live not far from Pensacola, Florida.  Yes, the GP covers don't really keep the weeds out as well as I think the ones on the EB ones will and after my experience with the fertilzer crystalizing to the top of the plastic I think I'd rather add 2 - 3 cups of either granular or organic fertilizer myself. 

I know about being frustrated by not growing.  I am kind of addicted now myself and now it's too cold.  I just had to pull 5 canna lily seeds out of the fridge and soak them to have something to do.  They will have to stay indoors through the winter though.  I also have 42 startings  of veggies in my back room of the house until the first of December where they will accompany me to my boy friend's house in south Florida where it is sunny and warm.  Don't know what came over me right? LOL  I planted artichokes, cabbages, eggplant and cauliflower.  I think it is the season for cabbages and cauliflower but not sure about the eggplant and artichokes.  They are all in huge peat pellets right now.  I also had to plant 80 daffodil bulbs; and some are already coming up.  So; think I got the fever pretty bad too myself.

Since I haven't even used the EB yet; I cannot say which one I prefer yet; but from reading about them, reading the directions and inspecting them visually I can see where I prefer some of the features of the EB; but, also some of the features of the GP also.  I had bought a few topsy turvys too, and then when I saw Garden Supply's Garener's Revolutionary Planter, had to buy 4 of those; and suspect I will prefer it over the topsy, as it has a reservoir also, which the topsy doesn't. 

I also got this one basket that has 30 holes all round it and I'm going to plant peppers in it, in layers from bottom up to the top. I made a similar one to that one out of a plastic laundry bucket with 20 holes in it and will plant pickling cucumbers in that one.  I then bought the 4 - armed Planter stands from Gardener's Supply, as the one that topsy makes isn't strong enough to hold the things, they can weigh up to 65 lbs + with everything in them.  Each stand will hold 4 of the above. 

I have an acre of land, and just before Spring/Summer when I got the fever, I decided I wanted to protect my veggies from varmints so put up a 6 foot wooden privacy fence, which goes all the way to the ground all around and  is cemented ever so often, the bunnies can't get under it, and the squirrels aren't the flying type, so don't think they will attempt suicide to jump down 6 feet to my veggies. LOL  My veggies will all be out back and my flowers out front.  I have a picnic table and a huge table that I will put my EBs and GPs on this next Spring and Summer to get them further up off the ground, will help deter some pests I hope.

I think as everyone gets to know me here, they will find out that I don't hold grudges and love learning and sharing, and am just an ordinary person. 

joy112854       
     
Logged
jwestfall9
Jr. Member
**
Posts: 29

Pinellas County, FL Zone 10


« Reply #21 on: November 22, 2008, 12:49:24 PM »

Very nicely done to both Bokchoy and Deb. I totally agree, no response is a lot better than a cranky, sarcastic one and as Bokchoy so nicely pointed out, we are reading from a computer screen and we can't tell the tone of the person providing the information. Sometimes we don't have to know the tone because of the selection of words. So, like my momma used to say, if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all!

I have been doing a lot of reading on this forum and aside from the occassional cranky response as I mentioned in another of my posts the information has been very helpful. One thing the old timers might want to keep in mind is that this forum is maturing and the search function, although great, can yeild a lot of information to wade through. Also, unless I am missing how to do it, when you click on what was returned from the search, it takes you to the beginning of the post and the search hits could be many, many replies into the post. Another thing to keep in mind, as newbies we don't know what information is dependable as I have found, through much reading, that some is correct and some isn't. However, the thorough reading of this forum quickly show's you who is sharing the best experiences with the EB.

There is one statement that Bokchoy made that I would like to mention so that it doesn't get misunderstood.

Quote
But I think if money is not the issue, i would just buy the best commercial potting mix, some of them has grow warranty, enhanced with fertilizer so you basically dont have to do anything else, just plant and it will grow happily.

It is getting almost impossible to find commercially produced potting mix that doesn't already contain enhancements and fertilizer. One of Mickies posts pointed out that as long as the fertilizers aren't long term (3 months or less) they were OK to use. Bokchoy states that you don't have to do anything more if you use these potting mixes and with the EB you should still add the dolomite and fertilizer strip.

Joy, I have to say, at the very least you brought a little excitement back to the forum and I couldn't wait to see what had been posted next to your two posts!  Bouncy

Welcome to OUR forum for both newbie and hero member alike!!
Logged
joy112854
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 643

Zone 8B Crestview, Florida (close to Pensacola)


« Reply #22 on: November 22, 2008, 03:04:30 PM »

Thank you for the welcome and I would like to apologize to everyone for any bad feelings that I might have caused.  I am looking forward to learning from everyone here and think that with all of us sharing our experiences with gardening with each other there is much to be learned.  I, myself, am very new to gardening.  Both my parents were excellent gardeners, they have both passed away, within the last two years and I guess because they enjoyed gardening so much and it was the one thing they always did together, I wanted to give it a try and am not in the least disappointed that I did.  My experiences with self contained gardens, as I call the GPs and EBs has really been exciting and fulfilling. 
joy112854 
Logged
Deb
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 1388

The Pacific NorthWE'T - Sunset - W. Climate Zone 6


« Reply #23 on: November 22, 2008, 05:26:00 PM »

Joy - I know how hard it is to lose parents and how following their footsteps will help keep them close.  No wonder you've jumped in with both feet.  ;>

Bokchoy- We don't want to use compost in our planting mix for a self watering container.  It will make the mix hold water, yes, but in a self watering container it will hold too much.  You'll likely end up with a 'boggy' envionment that will grow good celery and not much else.  Been there, done that - then Donald explained why.  ;>

Container gardening is completely different from in ground gardening - ie: side dressings, planting mix, fertalizers, and ammendments.  Self watering containers are different from regular containers.

In my regular containers that I water from the top, I can see the salts from the fertalizer around the bottom of the container.  I have to 'flush' them out every once in a while.  In the EB, the salts are in the top few inches of potting mix and it needs to be removed every season.  These salts will burn fragile roots if they get too heavily concentrated.  In the ground, regular watering will wash them away.

Gardening books are full of information.  Some of it is not useful at all when using the EB's.

Deb
Logged
mjb8743
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 6877


Zone 7, South NJ, Garden State


« Reply #24 on: November 22, 2008, 07:07:38 PM »


Gardening books are full of information.  Some of it is not useful at all when using the EB's.

...And some is really dangerous to container growing such as in the EB. The use of compost is a prime example, as is applying side-dressings. when setting up the EB, the amount and placement of the fertilizer is good for an entire season of growing... nothing more needs to be added, sprayed or watered in. Books are great for general gardening know-how, but shouldn't be used when contrary to the EB instructions. In my opinion, the best reading is books or web sites that teach the qualities and needs of the plants you're interested in. Many garden failures are caused from simply not knowing what plants need or when/how to plant them.

These links might be helpful to new EB users, however I have one caveat: Some info/instructions at the Research Center are out-dated and downright wrong, but the other stuff is interesting reading.

http://earthboxresearch.com/howitworks.htm

http://earthboxresearch.com/planting_months.htm

This planting guide is for all areas of Florida, south, central, and north.   http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/VH/VH02100.pdf

Mickie
Logged

111 EBs and growing... so how come there are never enough boxes??
joy112854
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 643

Zone 8B Crestview, Florida (close to Pensacola)


« Reply #25 on: November 22, 2008, 07:12:45 PM »

Mickey;  Thanks for posting those links for all of us.
joy112854
Logged
bokchoy
Full Member
***
Posts: 73

jakarta, Indonesia


« Reply #26 on: November 24, 2008, 12:51:31 AM »

Joy - I know how hard it is to lose parents and how following their footsteps will help keep them close.  No wonder you've jumped in with both feet.  ;>

Bokchoy- We don't want to use compost in our planting mix for a self watering container.  It will make the mix hold water, yes, but in a self watering container it will hold too much.  You'll likely end up with a 'boggy' envionment that will grow good celery and not much else.  Been there, done that - then Donald explained why.  ;>

Container gardening is completely different from in ground gardening - ie: side dressings, planting mix, fertalizers, and ammendments.  Self watering containers are different from regular containers.

In my regular containers that I water from the top, I can see the salts from the fertalizer around the bottom of the container.  I have to 'flush' them out every once in a while.  In the EB, the salts are in the top few inches of potting mix and it needs to be removed every season.  These salts will burn fragile roots if they get too heavily concentrated.  In the ground, regular watering will wash them away.

Gardening books are full of information.  Some of it is not useful at all when using the EB's.

Deb
Deb, I think I might have a problem then, I am using potting mix that is already enhanced with fertilizer in my EB...so what should I do? I cant flush EB, can I?

Yeah I think EB is one different system of gardening, and I agree that some information are not really applicable in EB system. However, it is good to cross check what the knowledge we gain from these books and what EB experts with proven result have experienced. But I am actually convinced that EB system is actually based on general gardening science made simple. Forexample, EB box is actually self watering pot, the cover is actually some kind of "mulching" ...
Logged

Earthbox is a great start to get me into gardening, but I still dont like doing my lawn.
bokchoy
Full Member
***
Posts: 73

jakarta, Indonesia


« Reply #27 on: November 24, 2008, 01:08:11 AM »


It is getting almost impossible to find commercially produced potting mix that doesn't already contain enhancements and fertilizer. One of Mickies posts pointed out that as long as the fertilizers aren't long term (3 months or less) they were OK to use. Bokchoy states that you don't have to do anything more if you use these potting mixes and with the EB you should still add the dolomite and fertilizer strip.


Now this still puzzles me...

It is instructed that we have to use potting mix for EB, now as you said, it is almost impossible to find comemrcially produced ix that does not contain fertilizer or enhancement. Now if we add the fert strip provided by EB, would it be not "over" fertiized? And I cannot find anything that says fertilizer added for 3 months or less, all says it is good for 12 months. Now, these commercially produced mix is not made or designed specifically to be used in EB system, these are actually sold to people who wants to grow plants on pots, either self watering or overhead watering pot.

I said that you dont have to add anything. That was meant to if you are using regular pot, not EB.

Now about dolomite...the eb instruction itself (if I am not mistakenly translate it into my own language...hehehe) says that it is not compulsary unless you want to grow tomato or vegies that requires calcium more than standard. I've been advised from nursery both in melbourne and Jakarta that we dont need to add calcium on potting mix (only on soil) because potting mix has already contained balanced mineral. But I thought...what the heck...I'll add and mix the dolomite anyway...

My eb has pH of 6.7 (checked it just now) so i thought...oh..I am doing good ! But someone from another post suggest I might have chlorosis on my peppers on my eb because apparantly it has nutrient imbalance...excess nitrogen is what i am afraid of. Because I am using potting mix with enhancement and fertilizer content and I added fertilizer strip too...

Headache...

I think I have to make my own mix.
Logged

Earthbox is a great start to get me into gardening, but I still dont like doing my lawn.
gardendoc
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 3611


Ocean Springs, MS Zone 9a


WWW
« Reply #28 on: November 24, 2008, 10:08:40 AM »

When it comes to using commercial potting mixes I think everyone is over analyzing these products. 

These are potting substrates that have been formulated to be light weight and have good drainage.  OK some have a fertilizer charge and some don't.  Some have controlled release (this term is more accurate than slow release) and some have water soluble fertilizer.  These substrates are produced in facilities all around the country due to shipping costs.  It would be silly to produce a mix in Florida and ship it to Washington state.  As such most have dolomite amendments based water properties on the areas they are produced.  I use commercial potting substrates and what works for me is to use 1/2 of the EB recommended dolomite amendment. 

If you want to mix your own, fantastic.  If you want to use a commercial mix, fantastic.  Growing your own veggies should not cause angst over if you are using the "correct" mix.  The garden is an ever evolving exercise should be fun
Logged

A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have. Gerald Ford

Be the fountain, not the drain
kathy
Horticulturalist
The EarthBox
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 3815


The mountains of PA Zone 5, almost 4.


« Reply #29 on: November 24, 2008, 11:06:02 AM »

You can use a commercial mix with fertilizer in it, (wherther it be soluble or time released) but you still need to use a  granular fertilizer strip.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2008, 03:57:32 PM by kathy » Logged

kath, gardening is my game,  over 45 years in the business.
Pages: 1 [2] 3 4 5
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!


Google visited last this page November 12, 2014, 05:34:10 AM

Google visited last this page November 12, 2014, 05:34:10 AM