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11.7.10

Deluxe Grow Box Self-Watering Planter

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.

Delux Grow Box for urban farming vegetable gardening on patio


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.

Inside of the Grow Box

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.


Water reservoir and wicking of Delux Grow Box

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.

How to water a grow box, water gauge

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.

Grow box casters make Grow Box portable

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.

Tomatoes growing in Grow Box planter

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.

Growing tomatoes, basil, sage and cucumbers in Grow Box planter

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.

Related Posts:
The Garden Patch Grow Box
Homemade Sub-irrigation Planter Like the EarthBox and Grow Box

13 comments:

  1. Ooooh, this sounds awesome! I really want to try it!

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  2. Ah HA! Maybe this sexy planter is what the dude in the alley was staring at, lol. I've heard a lot of people swoon about grow boxes and now I see why. My brain is spinning for a way to make my own, but I'm not quite sure how I'd jury-rig the wicking bits. I do love that it has one specific place to put in water and casters are awesome as I like to move stuff around. The price seems worth it and I'd spring for one if I weren't self-unemployed.

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  3. I used one of these Tomato Success Kits (http://j.mp/bchWiK) from Gardener's Supply Company last summer and had fabulous results. Big beautiful tomatoes and lots of them! It looks from your photos to be the exact same planter as the Deluxe Grow Box except the Success Kit is slightly wider. I was sad that this year I wasn't able to use it as we moved and I have less space on my patio. I'll keep the Grow Box in mind for next year! Thanks!

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  4. You lucky dog getting this freebee!

    My oldest daughter was the first to tell me about Grow Boxes several years ago when she was living in a north side condo and gardening on her (very small) back porch. (I learned about vermicomposting from her too. She did a worm bin with her students, and brought it home after the school year ended.) Fantastic strategies for small-space gardeners.

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  5. For sure I can make your own sub-irrigated (aka self-watering) planter for pennies; that doesn't mean I can't be unbelievably jealous of this beautiful ready-made system. :-)))

    I am curious because you say the design is seamless: is there any provision for drainage if it gets flooded, other than poking the holes which, it seems, would interfere with the reservoir function?

    I do want to point out that the homemade version works just as well as the expensive ones, from what I can tell. I love comparing the regular container tomatoes (even with various watering devices) to the self-watering ones!

    I made a bunch of nice big planters last year, and this year, out of stuff I found at the curb. Except for soil, they basically cost nothing. Read about my adventures (and how-to's) in CHEAP sub-irrigated planters here:
    http://ronypony.blogspot.com/search/label/sub-i

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  6. Just wanted to add: I discovered last year that slow, controlled access to water (ie a sub-irrigated planter) really helps the tomatoes develop evenly without splitting, end rot, etc.

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  7. Lucky you! I'd love to try out something like this! Not only does it have the cool self water feature, but look at the grow cage! Fantastic!

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  8. Two of my family members have these boxes and absolutely love them!!!

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  9. I'm trialing the Earth Box right now, but I already like this better because of the drainage holes or resevoir option and the water level indicator. That trellis is super-handy, too. What are the dimensions of the planter?

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  10. @meemsnyc,
    You should try one of these "self-watering" containers. They're pretty neat.

    @Monica,
    LOL. You could easily make the wicking bits, I saw someone do it a wick similar to this for a bucket container. Yeah, the casters didn't impress me much until I need to move stuff around. Then I realized how genius they were.

    @Kate,
    It does look similar to the one in that link. Although, it looks slightly different. The tomato kit looks wider while the Deluxe Grow Box seems longer. Keep it in mind for next year.

    @Garden Girl,
    I can't believe my luck either! I've been reading about them for a while now and usually rolling my eyes at people buying them when standard containers were just as good. I've got a review of another one coming up.

    @Jennifer,
    There is something to be said about products that are already made. If only I had my own plastics company so I could make my own. :0)

    I probably should get a thesaurus because I don't think I meant seamless, more like leakproof? In the second picture there are four tube-shaped protrusions. The tops of those are what you puncture to allow for drainage if you are using a Deluxe Grow Box outdoors. I didn't create the drainage holes in my planter because I figured rain wouldn't be a problem and in creating the drainage holes I'd only have a reservoir a couple of inches deep.

    I've seen your sub-irrigation posts, that's some good stuff.

    You're right about the tomato development. The fruits on the tomato growing in the planter are doing a lot better than the one I'm growing in a standard containeer.

    @Laura,

    The cage is a nice touch. I wish it was folding or collapsable like the texas tomato cages. But it still is better than the bamboo sticks I generally use. Also the trellis hooks onto the sides of the planter to keep it from falling off.

    @Julie,
    I can see why your family members would love these planters they're great.

    @Lisa,
    Make sure you send me a link when you publish your Earth Box review, I'd love to see what you think about it.The dimensions are 33.25"W X 14" D X 13.5"H.

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  11. Is it already available in the market? I am going to but one of that self watering planter. That will be perfect in my little condo unit. I wish I can have sooner.

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  12. I'm grateful to have found your blog; I'm in love with the first picture!!!
    Newb at gardening and I would love to beautify my balcony with a boxed garden.
    I've always been afraid because there are toxic plant to my two cats.
    I'm tired of cat grass... =(
    I can't plant the tomatoes, but the rest seem to be safe.
    I've never heard of lemon cucumbers or queen anne's pocket melons.
    Now, I just need to know WHEN to plant these.

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  13. Hi aJ,

    When you buy seeds the seed packets should have suggestions for sowing the seeds. Usually, you can start seeds indoors about 3-4 weeks before your last frost. Gardening with cats may pose a problem for you in this aspect, but you'll learn to be creative and work around your cats.

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