I previous blogged about how I experimented with a homemade self-watering container made out of two Styrofoam coolers. While I consider my attempt at making something similar to the Earthbox and the Grow Box a success, I wanted to know what it would be like to use the real thing. I'm talkinga bout one with like a brand name and everything. So, the good folks at Clean Air Gardening set me up with a Deluxe Grow Box to try on my porch garden and review.
In my Deluxe Grow Box I'm growing an indeterminate tomato plant, sage, Spicy Greek Basil, what's suppose to be purple leaf basil, Mexican Sour Gherkins, a Lemon Cucumber, and Queen Anne's Pocket Melons. In just the shorts month's that I've been growing these edible plants I can see the difference that growing vegetables and herbs in a container like the Grow Box makes. Everything is larger and healthier than similar plants growing in regular containers.
the Deluxe Grow Box is a thing of beauty. This self-watering container is a seamless, sturdy piece of formed plastic that is designed to be used to grow houseplants, vegetables and herbs in and indoor garden or outdoors on your patio, deck or porch. Take a look inside of the Grow Box's water reservoir and you'll see four pegs. You can puncture these if you are using your Grow Box outdoors and garden in an area with a lot of rainfall.
Assembling the Deluxe Grow Box is easy and there aren't any tools you need to put it together. After deciding whether you want to create drainage holes in your Deluxe Grow Box just lay down the tray with the wicking fabric in the water reservoir.
The next step in assembling your Deluxe Grow Box is to insert the watering port. The tube here allows you a clean and easy way to add water. There is also a something similar to a water buoy inside. It lets you know the level of water inside by floating up when the reservoir of the self-watering container is full, and then lowers when the water is used up by plants and the soil mix dries out.
Once you've assembled the Deluxe Grow Box the next step is to fill it with a light potting mix and add your plants or seeds.
The Deluxe version of the Grow Box even comes with casters that make moving around your Grow Box especially easy. The 30" metal cage (or four-sided trellis really) that comes with the Deluxe Grow Box is easy to assemble, to. It just snaps together, but even though it is easy to put together I think it would go faster if you had an extra set of hands.
Here is a closeup of the tomatoes I'm growing in my Deluxe Grow Box alongside my basils, sage and cucurbits. A tomato plant (same variety, started at the same time) growing in normal container is smaller than the one growing in the Deluxe Grow Box and even has less fruit forming.
Here is an overhead view of the vegetables, fruit and herbs I'm growing in my Deluxe Grow Box on my back porch. Doesn't it look like a jungle in there? Really, I didn't expect for the plants to do so well so I planted more than I should have. So, let's just say that I'm planting using the Square Foot Gardening method and pretend I did this on purpose.
Indoor Gardening with the Deluxe Grow Box
As I mentioned above, the Deluxe Grow Box is a single piece of plastic with no drainage holes making it a good container if you want to grow plants using hydroponic methods. You can also think of this version of the Grow Box as an indoor window box. Urban dwellers who live in apartments and condos that have huge windows can probably grow some food and herbs year-round indoors. Also, the water port would make this a good container for people who over water houseplants because the water indicator helps you see when the container needs water.
Outdoor Gardening with the Deluxe Grow Box
As an urban dweller with a very small space in which to garden and participate in urban food production I really appreciate how easy the Deluxe Grow Box makes things. It is neat, compact, attractive and in comparison to my regular containers my plants are larger and healthier. You can barely make out a container to the right of the Grow Box in two of the pictures above. It is a standard plastic pot and in it there is also a tomato and several varieties of basil growing. Those plants were started months prior to the ones in the Grow Box and not only have these plants caught up-- they've surpassed their growth. This Grow Box has a watering port that I've been using instead of watering directly on the soil mix and I have to attribute my healthier plants to it. Without water splashing on the leaves of the vegetables and herbs or splattering soil I don't have to worry about transmitting diseases to my plants. In my regular containers I've already had to remove some lower leaves from my tomatoes after they began to show signs of disease. You can easily create drainage holes in the Deluxe Grow Box, but I elected not to because I would be placing it in full-sun and I knew it would get really hot on my back porch.
Yes, you can make something similar to Deluxe Grow Box and if purchasing a self-watering container like this isn't in your budget; by all means go ahead. But there's something to be said about a well-made garden product like this one that I really appreciate having around. I know I'm going to be growing some of my own food in it for a few seasons to come. I only wish I had the window and floor space to bring my plants inside and extend my growing season. If you're looking to purchase a Grow Box or similar container for your home or garden I highly recommend purchasing it at Clean Air Gardening. They provided me with the product, free of charge, and allowed me to post my honest opinion of it. As of this Writing the Deluxe Grow Box is on sale and it comes with free shipping in the 48 United States. Even if you aren't in the market for a self-watering container check out their website for other eco-friendly gardening tools and products.
The Garden Patch Grow Box
Homemade Sub-irrigation Planter Like the EarthBox and Grow Box