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Have a great invention to help with gardening? Are you the self-reliant type that prefers Building It Yourself vs. buying it? Share and discuss your ideas and projects with other members.

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Old February 22, 2011   #31
skinwins
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i found a deal on 22gal roughneck tubs. would i need to use a smaller basket in the bottom if i went and built a few smaller ones
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Old February 22, 2011   #32
les matzek
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hi ray,
i did not mean to not use the top bolts although they do not add any strenght to keep the container from bowing out !! the two bolts spaced
evenly would keep the bottom of the potting mix container sageing to
very little.
it is much quicker and much faster to stack two totes on top of each
other the only cutting is for the wicking unit and drill the holes for
airertion and with the units stacked you get little bowing out on the
side walls,i space the top container spaced 2 inches higher then it
would nest without a spacer, my minitainers are gravity fed and they
hold 3 1/2 gallons in the reservoirs.

skinwins,
i have used air stones in my reservoirs for the last 3 years you can see
the difference in the growth on my post my winter minigarden both maxi-
tainers wher planted at the same time but one did not have air stones
in the reservoir,regards

les
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Old February 22, 2011   #33
rnewste
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skinwins View Post
i found a deal on 22gal roughneck tubs. would i need to use a smaller basket in the bottom if i went and built a few smaller ones
skin, I used the same 3-5/8" orifice and 5" wicking basket on my 18 gallon InnTainers, and they have performed beautifully. I suppose narrowing the orifice to say, 3 inches may be more appropriate, but I saw no ill effect using the larger opening. If I had had a 3 inch diameter hole saw, I would have used that size.



I think what is more relevant is the composition of the Grow Media, and I have found using Sunshine #4 Mix (or Pro-Mix BX) in combination with Bark Fines and Perlite in my 3:2:1 ratio is key to controlled wicking.

Raybo
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Old February 22, 2011   #34
skinwins
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thanks, off to get some tubs
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Old February 24, 2011   #35
Toothless_Kitty
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We're getting ready to make the leap and build several Earthtainers. LOVE the design! My question has to do with soil. Last year we set up our roof garden using pots and TONS of high quality potting mix. Never could keep them watered. It was a chore!!! I believe it was miracle grow. I'd hate to have to dump all that and start over since it's only been used one season. Can I add something to it that will help it work with the earthtainers?
Laura
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Old February 24, 2011   #36
rnewste
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You use the word "soil". Can you be more specific on the Brand and type of product you have from last Season. If it truly is "soil" it will not make you a "happy camper" come August timeframe if you use it in an EarthTainer.

Raybo
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Old February 24, 2011   #37
Toothless_Kitty
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Wow that was fast. It was Miracle-Gro Premium Potting Mix.
Laura
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Old February 24, 2011   #38
rnewste
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Laura,

Then you are in good shape!

While I prefer Sunshine #4 Mix or Pro-Mix BX, what you currently have will work fine. Read the "Tweaks for the Experts" Chapter in the EarthTainer III Guide for my 3:2:1 Combo Mix of Potting Mix, Bark Fines, and Perlite. This should give you great results.

Raybo
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Old February 24, 2011   #39
Toothless_Kitty
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Good news thanks!
Laura
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Old February 25, 2011   #40
Toothless_Kitty
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On second thought it may have had the moisture control. I've been going back through the guide trying to absorb ( Get it? Absorb?) all the information. Why is that a bad thing. Oh bother!

Laura
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Old February 25, 2011   #41
rnewste
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toothless_Kitty View Post
On second thought it may have had the moisture control. I've been going back through the guide trying to absorb ( Get it? Absorb?) all the information. Why is that a bad thing. Oh bother!

Laura
Laura,

The first year, I used MG with MC. What I found at the end of the Season was a mix smelling like rotten eggs as I emptied the container. Upon further analysis, I was simply retaining too much moisture in the EarthTainer. The following year, I switched to Lowes Sta-Green Potting Mix (no longer available), then MG without MC. Much better results in Season 2.

But even so, I found the plants to be leggy, and the taste of the tomatoes not what I had remembered from in-ground growing. I then began to amend the MG with bark fines and Perlite, experimenting with 30 combinations including Turface, Cactus Mix, Redwood Compost, etc. By trial and error, I found the 3:2:1 Combo Mix of Potting Mix, Decorative Groundcover Bark, and Perlite gave me the best combination of wicking along with the needed aeration of the root system (and better tasting tomatoes!)

Can the ratio (and ingredients) be further optimized - YES! But as of now, I think we are about 90% of the way there. A little bit of History.....

Raybo
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Old March 10, 2011   #42
erlyberd
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Got to hand it to you Ray. Nice job. I really love it!

Now if it could only be done with cheaper, locally available, renewable/sustainable materials it could be available to anyone! Somehow I have a feeling it would not have the great looks that your system has but some have to scarfice.

My point of view comes from being currently unemployed! So this suddenly becomes a rich mans toy to me but I have to make two units for my Niece and Nephew so they can improve on last years tomatoes!

Perhaps I'll try some scrap lumber and a trash bag or something? Anything will be an improvement from the lousy pots they used last year. You've inspired me to come up with a solution. Will it work out as nicely as your system? I'm afraid not! Will it look good? Definately not!


My only saving grace will be I'm starting true dwarfs for them! There is hope.
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Old March 10, 2011   #43
rnewste
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erly,

Keep me posted on what you finally use to make your improvised 'Tainers, and I will be happy to walk you through the construction steps so you have a "Happy Outcome"!!

Raybo
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Old March 10, 2011   #44
acorn
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Raybo, out here in the desert there is a type of cooler that is used extensively due to the low humidity called a swamp or evaporative cooler. It uses a simple float valve for filling the water reservoir that could be easily adapted as another option for automatic filling of the reservoir on your ET to the appropriate height without having to worry about filling every few days. If I ever get around to building some of these I will likely use one of those to keep them topped off. Any thoughts?

btw, here are a few example images


Thanks,
- Aaron

Last edited by acorn; March 10, 2011 at 06:08 PM.
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Old March 10, 2011   #45
rnewste
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AAron,

I toyed with the idea of using a mini-float valve from U.S. Plastics, and adapting it inside the water reservoir to control water level. I even bought 3 to try out the design. Frankly, the EarthBox Automated Watering System has worked flawlessly for me for the past three years that I have lost all motivation to deviate from this ingenious design, and attempt to replicate this functionality with a float valve.

At about $13.00 per EarthTainer, the EarthBox AWS is a godsend, in my opinion!

They could double the price tomorrow - - and I would still buy it. It has saved me countless hours manually watering my 31 EarthTainers.

Raybo
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