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Earthbox Jr. Is Great for Small Spaces

Earthbox Junior Review

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating


Earthbox Jr. Is Great for Small Spaces

Earthbox Junior with Tomatoes

Photograph © Kerry Michaels

I'm an unabashed Earthbox enthusiast. I have found them to be the best single way to grow vegetables in containers. Earthboxes are one of the few products I've tried that actually live up to their advertising hype. Vegetables do grow more abundantly, bigger and more easily in this system than any other I've tried.

I'm happy to say, Earthbox Junior lives up to it's larger sibling.

Earthbox Junior Is Great for Small Spaces

Each year I plant about 10 Earthboxes with tomatoes, cucumbers, tomatillos and peppers. I have had great success with this system so was curious, when they sent me an Earthbox Junior, a much smaller version of the same self-watering system to trial.

I planted it, as per the instructions, which were clear and easy. Set-up takes about 15 minutes, once you get the potting soil. I planted the box with two Tiny Tim tomato seedlings--a small variety of determinate, cherry tomatoes. The results were staggering. I have never had more prolific or robust tomato plants. They went crazy! The plants got huge, then absolutely covered with flowers, with huge numbers of tomatoes following.

To give the Earthboxes a true trial (though not scientific) and to see if the results were due to the Earthbox system, I planted a few Tiny Tim seedlings in other containers. Those seedlings either failed altogether or produced very few tomatoes.

Part of the success of these particular tomato plants may also be due to the fact that I fed them intermittently with milk. When a gallon of milk was finished, or almost done, I would fill it with water and pour it into the watering tube, knowing that sometimes my tomatoes grown in Earthboxes have need additional calcium. Again, I have no scientific basis, or way of knowing if this had any impact on the tomato's incredible productivity, but garden lore has it, that milk adds calcium and can be an anti-fungal agent, so I tried it.

Following this experience, I bought two Earthbox Juniors for my mother, who wanted planters on her small deck. She travels a lot in the summer, so needed a self-watering system. This proved to be a good system for her, though she wasn't crazy about the look of the soil cover, which resembles a black or white shower cap. The plants did fine, but the planter wasn't as attractive as she had hoped. I have tried Earthboxes without the soil cover, and they work, just not as well and if there is a lot of rain, the plants risk over-watering, which the cover prevents. To solve this problme, you could also choose "spiller plant," that would drape over the sides to hide the cover.

I did find that I had to water the tomato plants every day, once they got large.

I would definitely recommend the Earthbox Jr. to anyone gardening in small spaces. For the best success, my advice though is to follow the directions carefully and not to exceed the number of plants recommended.

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Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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