Sunday, March 15, 2009

Earthbox gardening

I am a green thumb challenged homeschooler who has been cursed, um blessed, with two children who are desperate to grow things. After it cost me in excess of $200 per tomato last year I swore off ever growing vegetables again.

In my defense, we have little or no room in our backyard and what room we do have is severely sun challenged. Last year I tried growing veggies in containers in the tiny area that does receive sunlight but they required so much watering (at least twice a day), that our water bill shot up by over $100 a month. I don't quite know what I did wrong, but I got weird vegetables that were eaten by wild creatures before we got to pick them.

Today I received a notification that Green Alternatives, a neat little ecostore around the corner from me, is hosting an Earthbox Meet Up on Saturday, 21 March at 2pm.

The little blurb got me excited that perhaps my plant killing days aren't yet over.
"An EarthBox is ideal for aspiring and experienced gardeners that are tight on space or just enjoy having a controled environment for their fruits, veggies, and herbs.
The class will be taught by a local professor who currently uses about 30 EarthBoxes for his gardening. "

I just had to google Earthboxes and discovered that these little boxes are on casters that allow you to move the boxes to the light. They also have the watering problems solved.
The EarthBox's plastic cover drastically reduces the water evaporation rate and returns condensed water vapor to the potting mix. As the plants draw water from the reservoir, they consume only what they need to stay healthy. Plants cannot be over-watered or under-watered if the reservoir is kept full. The plastic cover also prevents fertilizer from being diluted or washed away by rain.

The Tobagan government is using Earthboxes to solve their food security problems.

If a country can use Earthboxes to ensure they grow enough vegetables for their country, perhaps I can grow just part of the Silverberg family's vegetable needs.

Earthbox also has an entire education site. You can purchase the earthbox, together with education manuals for different grades.

I had a look a the sample on their website for the 2-5th graders and it looks like it might be worthwhile.

The website says
The curriculum support of the complete edition provides 17 standards-based sequential lesson plans divided into 45 minute classroom periods that require 60 days to complete in their entirety. Elementary Sample Lesson Plan.pdf. The 60 day time-line includes the treatment intervals between the real time experiments, but the actual lessons can be completed in twenty-seven, 45 minute periods. Not all lessons are interconnected. Instructors can choose the lessons appropriate to their objectives to focus on individual goals.

They also have pared down educational programs.

I'm really excited about the possibility that I too can have tomatoes like this

or spinach like this

Who knew spinach grew on vines?

This looks promising for someone like me. Perhaps I could have a real veggie garden this year and educate the children at the same time. Is anyone interested in joining me at Green Alternatives on Saturday 21 March at 2pm to find out about Earthboxes?

1 comment:

Greenscaper said...

Hi Shez, You are definitely on your way to acquiring a green thumb...your kids too. I highly recommend making some sub-irrigation planters from recycled pop bottles. EarthBox is a brand name but sub-irrigation (aka "self-watering") is the generic process that it uses. In over 30 years of using and making sub-irrigation planters I know of no better way to learn and teach about sub-irrigation and plant science. I call it the Rosetta stone of sub-irrigation education and plant science. You can clearly see what is going on with the soil system
and the plant's growth. I write about the subject at
Pop bottle planter instructions: [www_insideurbangreen_org]

p.s. It looks like you have the same YouTube tomato URL for the spinach video. Both play the same video