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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Could this be the year?

About every other year I decide I really want to grow tomatoes. And every other year I enthusiastically post a photo of our beautiful little tomato plants. And every other year I report back at the end of the summer that I killed everything. I am cursed.

anna and the earth box web

This year is going to be different. I know I’ve said that before, but really, it is! I bit the bullet and invested in two Earth Boxes. My friend Natalee has used them the last few years and has amazing success. The beauty of the Earth Box is that you cannot overwater the plants – they always have just the right amount of water. You can use the boxes forever and you get about 8 growing seasons before you need to replace the soil. The woman at the garden center said she also loves the Earth Box. I really really really think this year is going to be different, folks.

earth box for tomatoes

What’s that? Locusts in my backyard destroying my tomato plants? Figures.


  1. 1
    Michelle Hannigan

    We had great luck with them for quite a few years, but now the plants struggle. Can’t tell if it is a water issue (they water themselves so it shouldn’t be) or a soil problem. Hopefully your new harvest will be wonderful because I know you will share yummy tomato receipes!

    • Jane Maynard

      maybe it’s the soil – that would be my guess!

      yes, really hoping we have a great harvest!!

  2. 2

    It seems like the move to S. California might make a difference, too. Good luck.

    • Jane Maynard

      I sure hope so! menlo park wasn’t too shabby when it came to weather, but for some reason they always failed terribly. hopefully san diego is lucky!

  3. 3

    So last year, I got some tomato plants super cheap at Lowes, along with a beautiful blackberry bush and a couple blue berry bushes- all on sale. Yay! So I took our old wooden sand box, converted it into my garden. The kids were excited, I was excited. Then I decided to do some research on blackberry bushes. The first thing I read – blackberry bushes should not be planted anywhere near tomato plants and you have to give the soil like a two year break between planting the two. Just my luck! Everything died anyway, we got a handful of blackberries and they were sour. The birds got all the blueberries and no one got any tomatoes. C’est la vie!

    • Jane Maynard

      I love this story because it makes me feel much better about myself – this is exactly the kind of thing I would do! 🙂

  4. 4

    I start my seeds indoors first week in January. I then plant them in 20 gallon pots usually by Valentines day.

    These pots are now available at Walmart-$5.99(previous 3 years I got them at Home Depot), and are marketed as utility tubs.
    I drill 5 drainage holes in the bottom and load them up with potting soil.

    I have pretty good luck with tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and zucchini.
    My zucchini is almost done for this year, as we’ve been visited by the squash vine borer….darn it, and they wreaked havoc on my squash. Oh well, it has been abundant for the past 2-3 weeks.

    Right now I’m harvesting tomatoes daily and soon will be peppers, then cucumbers and beans will be later.

    Good luck with your gardening ventures this year!

    • Jane Maynard

      thank you for sharing your process, so helpful and I just may try to replicate one day!

  5. 5

    Which earth box kit did you buy?

    That looks really interesting but there are a lot of bunnies and birds in my neighborhood.

    • Jane Maynard

      good question, pam.

      I bought the original earth box gardening system, as well as the staking system for tomatoes.

      the thing is, when you buy it online versus in a store different things come in the package. it was more expensive at the armstrong garden center where I bought mine than online, but it comes with wheels for box as well as the fertilizer and dolomite pre-measured. I bought my soil separately, based on what the people at the garden place recommended. they also sell ready-to-grown kits online that come with the wheels/dolomite/fertilizer and a bag of soil, which is a little more similar to what I bought. you can get the ready-to-grow kits organic or non-organic.

      hope this is helpful!

  6. Good luck with your tomatoes! Gardening is definitely a learning process. I have a small raised bed and have grown tomatoes for the past five years. First year was awful and every year since then has gotten better. Last year I added crushed aspirin and calcium pills to the soil and I ended up with so many tomatoes that we are just now finishing the tomatoes I canned! 🙂

  7. 7
    Stephanie P.

    We’ve got 5 Earth Boxes, and I wish we’d have 10 more! Ours are freshly planted in NE Ohio so it will be a couple months, but they really do great with tomatoes (the staking system was a good purchase too), I hope yours work well.

    The only minor problem we run into is when we had heirloom cherry tomatoes planted in the same box with parsley, the parsley didn’t fare so well because the tomato plant seemed to suck in all the good stuff, so this year herbs are separate.

    Can’t wait to see how yours turns out, good luck!

    Here it is May 25th and we’ve got frost warnings tonight, I believe (as much as possible, I do enjoy lemons and limes!) in eating seasonally and locally, and I’m craving corn on the cob so badly–it’s probably 2 months away, so I’m going to focus on asparagus for now and just be happy things are green again!

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