Earth Box Gardener--New to Gardening

Asked January 7, 2013, 3:24 PM EST

I am a Denver resident with no backyard, but I have a huge patio. This year, we are investing in Earthboxes to grow tomatoes, basil, and a few other herbs. We are aware of all the hydroponic supply stores in the area, but a lot of these businesses promote marijuana growth and we are not interested in that. We are having a lot of trouble getting started and finding reliable resources on Earthbox/small space gardening for beginners. Any advice on soil types, best time to plant, and things to avoid? Or, if you could point me toward a reliable print source (book) in the field, I would be forever grateful.

Denver County Colorado lawn and garden equipment small space gardening horticulture

1 Response

Hi Natalie,

I am not familiar with an Earthbox system, but I assume you are thinking of growing vegetables in containers on your patio. This is easy to do as long as you use big enough containers, provide ample water and fertilizer, and have a spot that is in full sun -- at least 6 hours of direct light a day.

Lettuces, beans, peppers, herbs etc. can be grown in smaller containers ( 10-12" pots) but tomatoes need to be in at least a 5 gallon sized container for best results. Make sure you don't crowd your plants, as containers are very small and constrained spaces for the roots so you want to make sure and provide enough room so the plants don't compete for water and nutrients.

Container gardens need regular (at least daily if not more frequent) watering. This is the biggest issue we have in our climate -- when we are regularly having 95 degree days, the pots will dry really quickly. Make sure you have a plan for watering. If the containers dry out it will have a big impact on fruit set. Also, veggies need regular fertilizer throughout the growing season, so be prepared to meet this need as well.

Here is a fact sheet on growing veggies in containers, http://www.cmg.colostate.edu/gardennotes/724.html
http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/garden/07238.html
http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/09378.html

Good luck!