What is the most challenging part of having a veggie garden?
Weeding, Pests, Sunlight, or Water.
For many people, under and over watering are primary culprits to having an unsuccessful vegetable garden. So, what are your options? Did you know you could try an alternative planter box called a self watering box, or an earth box.
What is a self watering box, or earth box?
These are self watering planters, that have a built in water reservoir to provide water to your plants at the pace at which they are absorbing it. There is an internal screen system that helps the water travel to the plants as well as create aeration for the roots to ensure they do not drown. There is typically an overflow hole in case there is too much water and the roots do not have enough space to grow. The combined wicking and evaporation systems ensure that the plant can breathe and take water as it needs. Having this continual source of water, allows the plant to grow and thrive at its own pace since the water is always accessible. This typically results in a larger, more frequent yield of the plant. Since the system is also closed, the nutrients are not lost and will remain in the soil for the plant to uptake as needed.
Often times, people will do their best to water lightly and more frequently to avoid water logging their plants, or losing the water through the garden boxes they currently use. Though this seems like a great solution, shallow watering encourages shallow root growth, which makes your plants more susceptible to damage and disease. The moisture fluctuates to a higher extent, creates a poor foundation for larger heavier plants such as tomatoes, and there are less nutrients available in the higher levels of soil.
The other alternative, would be to deep water your plants less frequently. This comes with its own set of problems as well, including that it washes the nutrients out of the soil, and can result in disease and fungal growth on your plants.
Top reasons why a self watering Earthbox may be a great addition to your garden:
Busy schedule. These boxes are a great option for people who may not be able to water their garden daily due to their busy schedule.
Limited space/location of garden. These boxes create an optimal environment for growth, in even the most difficult spaces to grow plants. They are a great option for people with high rise balcony gardens where the weather conditions are inconsistent.
Weekends away. With an earthbox you won't have to worry about asking your neighbors to water your garden, or overcompensate the watering a few days before leaving for your summer weekend getaway.
High heat. You may notice throughout the day that your plants start to wilt, this does not mean that they are dying, but it does mean they may be suffering from heat exhaustion. What becomes difficult is that you should avoid watering your garden during the day while the sun is out because it can actually do more damage than good. The earthbox will provide water directly to the root system, keeping your plants full of water even in the exhaustion of heat waves.
Difficulty gauging water requirements. Over watering and under watering can be difficult to gauge for any plant, especially in a garden with various vegetables. Having an earthbox will supply each plant with the appropriate amount of water for optimal growth without you having to think twice about it.
These boxes are also an investment, often lasting several years and are very durable for various weather conditions.
Benefits of using a Self Watering box:
They require less water. Since the water is all directed towards the roots and right to the source of growth for the plant, less water is wasted when using these boxes. Not only that, but you will likely only have to fill the reservoir once per week (depending on heat levels). This will save water, but keep in mind that Earth boxes are more expensive than your average garden box.
Flexible watering schedule. Since you are only watering once a week and you are not applying the water directly to the leaves of the plant, you can fill the water whenever it works best for your schedule. That being said, you still need to make sure that you are watering your plants on a regular basis.
Generates higher yield. These boxes are more efficient than traditional garden boxes in almost every way. This helps to eliminate room for error, and provide your plants with optimal growing conditions for top yield.
Requires less fertilizer. Since these boxes keep the system contained, the nutrients from the initial soil will remain available for the plant to absorb when needed. Less fertilizer is required throughout the season as most of the nutrients are not lost.
Versatile, coming in various sizes to accommodate any space. Some of the earth boxes even come with wheels so they are mobile and can be moved around your space.