Author Topic: Soil Wicking Question for Second Year EB's  (Read 10605 times)

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Soil Wicking Question for Second Year EB's
« on: June 02, 2017, 09:40:01 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Guest, alicemagooey. This was originally posted on April 15, 2009.

Hi.. I started last year filling my EBs per Donalds suggestions , moistening the mix as I went and filling the EB.

Now, I am reading in the EB instructions and hearing other people who have used EBs for years saying that a person can simply
1.remove old plant stems
2.dig out old fertilizer strip( probably some of the crusty soil on top also although the official EB PDF file does not say this)
3.add new fertilizer strip
4.cover with cover, secure and cut
5.plant new plants
in the EB replant kit instructions PDF, it says to pull back the x flaps and water from the top into each hole.  It does not mention when or how to fill the reservoir with water..
first or afterward?

Do people actually find that this method wicks as well as the start from scratch method of moistening and adding mix to empty earthbox?

i am hoping that i did not miss this in my searching for an answer..but sometimes, there are several differing opinions..and i would appreciate hearing them.
i do not want to do the process over after finding that my old , renewed EB was not going to wick correctly.

thanks
alice

ps... i have been reading and re reading old posts and Mickie whose opinion i respect, says that she just leaves her boxes mostly full and just replenishes the top.
I guess if i do not get any responses from anyone who consistently does anything different, like maybe Donald(??) ( i could not find specifically what you do but since you usually mix your dolomite into your whole mixture when first filling your EBs, i would think that you would empty and re fill your boxes yearly, using your time tested method of using a separate container to moisten and mix the mix before placing and pressing it into the EB.)

a
« Last Edit: June 02, 2017, 11:34:08 am by EarthBoxDD »

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Re: Soil Wicking Question for Second Year EB's
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2017, 10:18:17 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Guest, cushman350. This was originally posted on April 15, 2009.

Alice,
 
If I have 30 boxes I can tell you what method I will use and it wont be dumping. If I have 1-5 I will dump and mix and wet until I am unable. I like to be certain about things I can control. I dont feel comfortable waiting to see if a box is going to come to life if I can make it 99.9% certain it will wick OK myself. IMO

Think of Box lady 1400+ EBs. I dont think they dump.

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Re: Soil Wicking Question for Second Year EB's
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2017, 10:19:38 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, FloridaPat. This user is located in Florida Zone 9A. This was originally posted on April 15, 2009.

I just use the old soil. Top it off if needed. Add dolomite and Azomite fertilizer and mix in the top two inches or so. Plant. Fill the eb via the tube and then water from the top. I give it a good drenching the first time. I dont water as I go. I havent had any problems yet.

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Re: Soil Wicking Question for Second Year EB's
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2017, 10:21:38 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, mjb8743. This user is located in Zone 7, South NJ, Garden State. This was originally posted on April 15, 2009.

I have 61 boxes sitting out in the yard, exposed to the elements since my plastic sheeting blew off with the first good wind. Although I emptied all the reservoirs last fall, Im sure theres water in them now. All the mix is moist/wet. When I replenish, I have no doubts that they will wick properly. Now, if the boxes were bone-dry, I would want to fill the reservoir a few days before replenishing, and watch to see if the boxes wick up to the surface. If necessary, do a kick-start  by pouring warm water across the top before you add the new fertilizer strip.

Mickie

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Re: Soil Wicking Question for Second Year EB's
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2017, 10:23:14 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Newbie, maryal36. This user is located in Waukesha, WI Zone 5B. This was originally posted om April 16, 2009.

Thanks for the help.  I didnt want to dump, either.  But hos can you be sure that the old mix has enough water in it to wick properly?  Squeeze it, perhaps?

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Re: Soil Wicking Question for Second Year EB's
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2017, 10:24:01 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, mjb8743. This user is located in Zone 7, South NJ, Garden State. This was originally posted on April 16, 2009.

Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Newbie, maryal36. This user is located in Waukesha, WI Zone 5B. This was originally posted om April 16, 2009.

Thanks for the help.  I didnt want to dump, either.  But hos can you be sure that the old mix has enough water in it to wick properly?  Squeeze it, perhaps?

A box that has been wicking properly should have a dark brown color - somewhere between dry coffee grounds on the dark side to damp/wet earth/ground on the light side.  And when you grab a handful, it definitely feels damp like a wrung wash cloth uniformly across the whole surface.  Drier or a lighter color and not a uniform color (aside from the surface fungus/salts/etc.) are signs of faulty wicking.

Mickie

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Re: Soil Wicking Question for Second Year EB's
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2017, 10:25:21 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Guest, alicemagooey. This was originally posted on April 16, 2009.

Thank you , Thank you ..Thank you !!! all ...for the terrific answers..!!

yes, Cushman.. i realized that the people with zillions of boxes probably would not dump..
but the additional information by Mickie about how exactly to tell if they are wicking and what to do in the case of wet, element soaked boxes( which i have some of also) and dry, garage stored boxes, (which i also have a quantity of)..how to deal with each kind specifically...

You all made it crystal clear.. perhaps this post should be stickied somewhere also as it is so specific and terrific !  It cannot go into the New to Earthboxes, start here sequence...post..
not sure where it should go but it should answer all questions about how to get up and running for year two onwards..!!

Cheerio and thanks again.!
have a great EB year !
alice

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Re: Soil Wicking Question for Second Year EB's
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2017, 10:26:05 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Guest, cushman350. This was originally posted on April 16, 2009.

Place maybe in Tip of the Day.

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Re: Soil Wicking Question for Second Year EB's
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2017, 10:27:41 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, grb1. This user is located in Zone 5b Southeastern Wisconsin. This was originally posted on May 26, 2009.

For those of you who have too many Ebs to dump and clean the mix, how do you deal with the thick mat of roots that collect on the aeration screen just above the water reservoir? I only have 4 Ebs so it wasnt a big deal to dump the mix to clean out the old roots. I was amazed at how thick the roots on the aeration screen were.

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Re: Soil Wicking Question for Second Year EB's
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2017, 10:33:24 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, mjb8743. This user is located in Zone 7, South NJ, Garden State. This was originally posted on May 26, 2009.

Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, grb1. This user is located in Zone 5b Southeastern Wisconsin. This was originally posted on May 26, 2009.

For those of you who have too many Ebs to dump and clean the mix, how do you deal with the thick mat of roots that collect on the aeration screen just above the water reservoir? I only have 4 Ebs so it wasnt a big deal to dump the mix to clean out the old roots. I was amazed at how thick the roots on the aeration screen were.

I don't deal with them. My boxes are left out all winter, which gives them roughly 7 months sitting idle with no plants growing. By the time I get to them in mid-spring, I don't find any roots except the large tap or anchor roots still attached to the leftover stumps...those just pull out with a firm twist. Everything else has decomposed, and water coming out of the overflow is a good, clear, forceful stream, indication no blockages. That's good enough for me.

Mickie

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Re: Soil Wicking Question for Second Year EB's
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2017, 10:34:32 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, grb1. This user is located in Zone 5b Southeastern Wisconsin. This was originally posted on May 27, 2009.

Mickie, Thanks for the reply.  Do you do it that way with all your other boxes (non earth boxes) to? Also do you plant the same things like tomatoes and beans in the same boxes year after year?

grb1

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Re: Soil Wicking Question for Second Year EB's
« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2017, 10:36:07 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, mjb8743. This user is located in Zone 7, South NJ, Garden State. This was originally posted on May 28, 2009.

Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, grb1. This user is located in Zone 5b Southeastern Wisconsin. This was originally posted on May 27, 2009.

Mickie, Thanks for the reply.  Do you do it that way with all your other boxes (non earth boxes) to? Also do you plant the same things like tomatoes and beans in the same boxes year after year?

grb1

Yes, I pretty much do the same in my other tote planters. In the fall, I cut off or pull out (whichever ie easiest) the spent plants. Then I put the lids on the totes for the winter. It better if the mix is moist when I do this. Come Spring, no real roots to be concerned with. I look at it this way: Mother Nature doesnt rototill or remove old roots before reseeding the earth... Im blessed with winters and a few very cold weeks to allow Nature to prepare my boxed earth.

I do try to shift my plants to other boxes where possible. Since I pretty much grow the same things or families of plants, I just rotate over to the next rows, or trellises. Its not perfect, and some boxes wind up with similar plants in consecutive years. Keeping a journal helps keep track of such things.

Mickie

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Re: Soil Wicking Question for Second Year EB's
« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2017, 10:37:28 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Active Member, JoeV. This was originally posted on May 28, 2009.

So your saying, just leave the boxs out all winter...so freezing weather wont hurt the boxs...I would think the water or moisture left behind would freeze and expand in the boxs. Could this damage the box etc.

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Re: Soil Wicking Question for Second Year EB's
« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2017, 10:39:36 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, KayakerNC. This user is located in Eastern North Carolina USA - Zone-8. This was originally posted on May 28, 2009.

Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Active Member, JoeV. This was originally posted on May 28, 2009.

So your saying, just leave the boxs out all winter...so freezing weather wont hurt the boxs...I would think the water or moisture left behind would freeze and expand in the boxs. Could this damage the box etc.

You could always just tip it a little, towards the drain hole.

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Re: Soil Wicking Question for Second Year EB's
« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2017, 10:40:27 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, mjb8743. This user is located in Zone 7, South NJ, Garden State. This was originally posted on May 28, 2009.

Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, KayakerNC. This user is located in Eastern North Carolina USA - Zone-8. This was originally posted on May 28, 2009.

Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Active Member, JoeV. This was originally posted on May 28, 2009.

So your saying, just leave the boxs out all winter...so freezing weather wont hurt the boxs...I would think the water or moisture left behind would freeze and expand in the boxs. Could this damage the box etc.

You could always just tip it a little, towards the drain hole.


Exactly... with the help of a friend, we tip the boxes to pour off as much water as possible, which is nearly all. This winter, I tried laying out sheets of plastic, but the wind took them and made a big mess, so most of the boxes were left exposed to the snow and rain, with no ill effects. Im trying to come up with a winter cover, sort of like the shower curtain, except no elastic, just ties. I need to find the right material that I can work with to make the hem for the ties and will hold up to the elements for several/many seasons.

Mickie