Author Topic: Giving Up on Earth Boxes  (Read 5408 times)

EarthBoxAdmin

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Giving Up on Earth Boxes
« on: July 07, 2017, 10:30:47 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Newbie, Reg Jim. This was originally posted on August 17, 2013.

I think we are gonna give up on EB's.  Last year our entire EB crop failed, total of 8 boxes.  NOW, that failure was our fault as we did not use the proper dirt. So EB get's a pass on last year.  This year is another story.  We used a premium "potting soil" mix (Dr. Earth Potting Soil) that was highly recommended for container gardening by our local garden center and in speaking with the Dr.Earth sales rep.  We dumped last years soil into our roses and started fresh.  We prepared our boxes exactly per the instructions.  WE planted 3 boxes of "String Beans".  The seeds are heirloom seeds that my wives family has been using/saving for over 100 years. The plants started out beautiful and climbed about 5 feet.  Just after the flowers dropped and the fruit started forming the plants started turning yellow with the leaves falling off.  In other words, it's dying.  We water "religiously" and they have never run dry.

For some reason, I can't post PICS.  Sorry

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Re: Giving Up on Earth Boxes
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2017, 10:32:34 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, movrshakr. This user is located in Zone 10a - near Cape Canaveral. This was originally posted on August 17, 2013.

Dr Earth web site does not give percentage of ingredients, but Peat moss is listed as third ingredient in their potting soil. EarthBox recommends a 'high percentage' of peat moss plus vermiculite/perlite (which is not listed at all).  I think you were 'upsold' by the garden center to buy something they have a high profit margin on.

Cannot be certain, but I think you did not have the right media yet again.

http://drearth.net/blog/products/organic-soils/pot-of-goldall-purpose-potting-soil/
Ingredients:
Formulated from a fine selection of composted organic materials. Our blend is packed full of the organic materials that help plants become established. We only use: Forest Humus, Fir Bark, Peat Moss, Pumice, Earthworm Casting, Kelp Meal, Alfalfa Meal, Soybean Meal, MicroActive Seaweed Extract, Aloe Vera, Yucca Extract, Oyster Shell & Dolomite Limes. We have also included ProBiotic beneficial soil Microbes plus both Ecto and Endo Mycorrhizae.

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Re: Giving Up on Earth Boxes
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2017, 10:34:20 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, potatohead. This user is located in 9A Desert Southwest. This was originally posted on August 17, 2013.

Reg Jim, please do not give up! EarthBoxes are not like regular container gardens and unfortunately garden centers many times give out the wrong advice in regard to EarthBoxes because it is so different and they don't understand the system. Try again but use the potting mixes that are recommended on the EarthBox website. If you are not sure, ask here rather than asking your garden center.

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Re: Giving Up on Earth Boxes
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2017, 10:37:50 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Jr. Member, bsquared. This user is located in Atlanta - Zone 7B. This was originally posted on August 17, 2013.

You may be leery of investing a lot of money in potting mix again, so why don't you give it one more try with one of the correct recommendations here at Earthbox. Only this time try just 1 or 2 boxes and see what happens. It wouldn't cost you much to see if that makes a difference. It sounds like your mix may have had compost in it, which is a no-no.

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Re: Giving Up on Earth Boxes
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2017, 10:40:18 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Full Member, cycler68. This user is located in Sioux City, IA Zone 5a. This was originally posted on August 18, 2013.

Jim, you made the same mistakes I did when first starting out using Earth boxes but instead of buying the mix I made my own and put about 1/2 compost in it. I used it on lettuce, spinach and tomatoes. My plants didn't die but the tomatoes sure didn't produce like they should have. All I got were little plum sized ones and the mix was a soggy wet mess. This year I finally used the correct mix and the tomatoes look great. Full sized and just tons of them!
One more thing, make sure you used the right fertilizer and dolomite according to directions. I also have used the wrong fertilizers and garden lime. Gardening in Earthboxes is somewhat fussy and very different from dirt gardening or using regular top watered containers.

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Re: Giving Up on Earth Boxes
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2017, 10:41:28 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Jr. Member, corinne. This was originally posted on August 18, 2013.

Don't give up. I was just as discouraged last year and am glad I stuck with it and gave it another go.
Last year I had one soggy mess in my 'soil' in the boxes. This year I ORDERED(no one seemed to have it in stock) the ProMix BX from a local hydroponics store and have been harvesting so many tomatoes, I wish I knew how to can!!!
I find that the hydro stores have more of a selection and are more knowledgeable about EB's and other alternative ways of growing than the garden centers. One bale of BX goes a long way too.

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Re: Giving Up on Earth Boxes
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2017, 10:43:43 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, baileyj. This user is located in Zone 7A---Annapolis, Maryland. This was originally posted on August 18, 2013.

Reg Jim,

I know it is exasperating, but it sounds like two seasons of mistakes....the key to the system is to follow the directions to the letter !! 

Not trying to lecture, but if you vary off the directions without understanding the concepts it does not work.

We all have times when the season is not ideal based on the weather, but if you follow the EB guidelines .....you will be successful.

Obviously you were serious about using the system since you have 8 boxes !!  You can get a significant harvest from 8 Boxes.

I started with 3 in 2005 and have added more each year until now when I have 40...it is really more than  I can handle, but it is because they are so prolific that I am overwhelmed with the harvest....Some vegetables work better than others ....and all boxes are not equal in there productivity.

The system does work if you follow it to the letter, you will be surprised if you try one more time with an acceptable mix and fertilizer.

Good luck, I hope you are reconsidering and will post your successes here..

JB

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Re: Giving Up on Earth Boxes
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2017, 10:45:08 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Jr. Member, corinne. This was originally posted on August 18, 2013.

Jim, how do you manage the watering of so many EB's? Do you have a system?

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Re: Giving Up on Earth Boxes
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2017, 10:47:23 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, cushman350. This user is located in Tomato Hell, Wichita Falls, TX Zone 7b. This was originally posted on August 19, 2013.

Nurseries think in terms of rich soil. EBs need a proper wicking media to move water effectively, not feed plants, your Fertilizer Strip does that. There in lies the misunderstanding  and the source of many bog boxes, too wet conditions that drown your plants. In-ground gardening and EBing are not comparable when it comes to wicking performance. The wicking media does not need to be "rich". With rich, usually means overly wet in an EB.

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Re: Giving Up on Earth Boxes
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2017, 10:48:48 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Newbie, Reg Jim. This was originally posted on August 19, 2013.

Because of our failure last year, we only planted 3 boxes.  Watering has not been a problem.   Thanks for everyone's input. I am encouraged.  I'll keep plugging on...  with different soil mix. Live and learn.

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Re: Giving Up on Earth Boxes
« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2017, 10:51:24 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Active Member, DonAndRene. This user is lcoated in McKinney, TX; Zone 8a. This was originally posted on August 19,
2013.


Quote
Because of our failure last year, we only planted 3 boxes.  Watering has not been a problem.   Thanks for everyone's input. I am encouraged.  I'll keep plugging on...  with different soil mix. Live and learn.

I know it has been touched on before, but don't think 'soil'. Start thinking and saying 'growing medium'. I know it sounds anal retentive, which I am :-), but I believe that therein lies the big reason for the failure. If you stop thinking 'soil', you will stop shopping for it and look only at products call 'growing medium'.

I am still a newbie of sorts, so I still buy everything from www.earthbox.com.  I may spend more, but I know I am using the right stuff until I feel like I am 'expert' enough to kick the training wheels off...

Best of luck, and hang in there.

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Re: Giving Up on Earth Boxes
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2017, 10:52:29 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, movrshakr. This user is located in Zone 10a - near Cape Canaveral. This was originally posted on August 19, 2013.

That's true, but unfortunately, the industry is not standardized nor consistent with the terms they use on their products.  There are perfectly fine mixes that have 'soil' in their name.  You just have to read the ingredients to be sure of the composition, and that there is no
dirt
sand
compost (but ack, terminology again, composted forest by-products in small percentage are oK)
manure
---what did I leave out as no-no?

And on positives, that there is a HIGH percentage of peat moss.

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Re: Giving Up on Earth Boxes
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2017, 10:54:06 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Newbie, Reg Jim. This was originally posted on August 1, 2013.

I originally purchased enough "Dr Earth Potting Soil Mix" for all my EB's.  As I said, I only planted three.  Fortunately, I was able to exchange my Dr E for E.B. Stone Organics Edna?s Best Potting Soil.  This is the ONLY growing medium I could find locally that is on approved Earth Box list.  Our growing season runs up to December.  Going to plant some late fall vegis.  I kind of feel like the Little Train:  "I think I can.  I think I can!"

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Re: Giving Up on Earth Boxes
« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2017, 10:56:05 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, bobk. This user is located West, Central FL - Zone 9b. This was originally posted on August 19, 2013.

You keep saying soil and dirt, in general these are the wrong products for the earthbox.
If you can find a bag labeled potting mix, give that a try.

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Re: Giving Up on Earth Boxes
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2017, 10:57:45 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Full Member, cycler68. This user is located in Sioux City, IA Zone 5a. This was originally posted on August 19, 2013.

Jim,
It may be helpful to think of Earthbox gardening as similar to hydroponic gardening in that you don't use soil and all the nutrients for the plants come from basically non-organic fertilizers and chemicals that you put in the growing medium. It has been said quite a few times in this forum that hydroponic staff have a better idea of what you want for an Earthbox than nursery people who deal with regular dirt gardening.