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Old March 27, 2017   #1
roper2008
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Default Earthbox fertilizer question

What fertilizer's do you all use with your Earthboxes? I only have organic fertilizers, but
the earthbox instructions says they need to be between 5-15. All of mine are below 5.
I will probably experiment between the synthetic and organic, if I can find an organic
above 5.

Another question. I know I sound like a newbie, but pro-mix is too expensive to use in
my earthboxes. I bought a potting mix called Just Natural. I hope it will work well. It does
have worm castings, but probably not much that I have to worry about it. My local
Wal mart is selling it for almost $10 1 cubic foot, online for $6.77. I found it at Southern
States for $4.57 1 cubic foot.

Last edited by roper2008; March 27, 2017 at 03:02 PM.
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Old March 27, 2017   #2
shatbox
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Earthbox's faq says

"What kind of fertilizer does the EarthBox need?
Each time you plant in the EarthBox, use 2 cups of a dry, granular fertilizer or plant food for vegetables (use 3 cups if the fertilizer is organic). The three numbers of the elements making up the fertilizer content (NPK) should be in the range of 5 to 15 (i.e.12-8-10, 10-10-10, 6-8-10) for non-organic fertilizers. "


and

"Can I use organic fertilizer?
Absolutely! Many EarthBox gardeners prefer growing their plants organically. We have recommended several brands of dry, granular organic fertilizers that can be used by placing 3 cups of organic fertilizer, in the form of a strip, in the EarthBox."


I use whatever fertilizer is on sale with the appropriate NPK (which happens to be Ecoscraps' Rose and flower food, lower N level and was on clearance). We need to keep in mind that the NPK numbers are what is immediately available to the plant, so when they say two (or three) cups, and a cup is mostly around a pound; then we are just taking the numbers up to the conventional fert numbers.

I agree, Promix is expensive and I regret using peat (mixed my own). I have used the Just Natural but as regular in planter potting mix. With hand watering, I think the plants didn't get the aeration they needed.

If I could start again I would buy a Coco Coir brick and get pearlite from Home Depot. No more adjusting pH with lime
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Old March 27, 2017   #3
TC_Manhattan
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I used Espoma Plant Tone last year in mine, and that's a 5-3-3. Worked fine for me.
It was my first year using earthboxes, and I did not use them to grow tomatoes, but the kale, pole beans, bush beans, and peppers did extremely well.

I did give them a little extra Texas Tomato Food every couple of weeks down the watering tube. (Even my banana tree loves Texas Tomato Food!)
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Old March 27, 2017   #4
ginger2778
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I use Tomato Tone, and ProMix BX, which is $26 for a 3.8 cu ft bale, and it will fill 3 Earthboxes. Keep in mind, you are re-using it year after year, and only adding about 1/5 more after you dig out the old fertilizer strip.
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Old March 28, 2017   #5
roper2008
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I'll go buy some Espoma at Home Depot.. That's a good deal for pro-mix. Here in Virginia Beach,
everything is expensive. The cheapest pro-mix I can find is 38.99 for a 3.8 cu ft bale.
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Old March 28, 2017   #6
ginger2778
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I found this for the Espoma Tomato Tone online.
https://www.idealtruevalue.com/store...hVsaAlgY8P8HAQ
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Old March 28, 2017   #7
sdambr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roper2008 View Post
I'll go buy some Espoma at Home Depot.. That's a good deal for pro-mix. Here in Virginia Beach,
everything is expensive. The cheapest pro-mix I can find is 38.99 for a 3.8 cu ft bale.
That's what it is here in NY also. The promix is very compressed, once released it is about 6 cu ft. so works out about the same as if I had bought the bags at the big box stores.
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Old March 28, 2017   #8
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I dont grow in earth box's so I dont give advice on things I do not do for the most part.
But here is what I feel is the best way to go about it.
Organic is the best way to go because the situation kin the earth box does not allow for flushing of salts from what I can tell.
The numbers on organic are not the same as the artificial fertilizers as far as the NPK goes the organic will go a longer.
Hard to explain because I dont understand it.
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Last edited by Worth1; March 28, 2017 at 12:07 PM.
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Old March 28, 2017   #9
Sun City Linda
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I don't like organic in EBs for a variety on reasons. Primary one being in my very hot arid climate the micro herds are subject to die off so the tomato plants which are heavy feeders starve regardless of how much granular you have added, and, in my experience you need to add a lot more than 3 cups organic. Actually guy who worked for Epsoma was posting on EB forum for a while and he said he started with 5 cups total, some TTone and Some BioTone and then supplemented. The cost of continuing to add micros and additional available foods is too pricey for me!
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Old March 28, 2017   #10
Sun City Linda
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shatbox View Post
Earthbox's faq says

"What kind of fertilizer does the EarthBox need?
Each time you plant in the EarthBox, use 2 cups of a dry, granular fertilizer or plant food for vegetables (use 3 cups if the fertilizer is organic). The three numbers of the elements making up the fertilizer content (NPK) should be in the range of 5 to 15 (i.e.12-8-10, 10-10-10, 6-8-10) for non-organic fertilizers. "


and

"Can I use organic fertilizer?
Absolutely! Many EarthBox gardeners prefer growing their plants organically. We have recommended several brands of dry, granular organic fertilizers that can be used by placing 3 cups of organic fertilizer, in the form of a strip, in the EarthBox."


I use whatever fertilizer is on sale with the appropriate NPK (which happens to be Ecoscraps' Rose and flower food, lower N level and was on clearance). We need to keep in mind that the NPK numbers are what is immediately available to the plant, so when they say two (or three) cups, and a cup is mostly around a pound; then we are just taking the numbers up to the conventional fert numbers.

I agree, Promix is expensive and I regret using peat (mixed my own). I have used the Just Natural but as regular in planter potting mix. With hand watering, I think the plants didn't get the aeration they needed.

If I could start again I would buy a Coco Coir brick and get pearlite from Home Depot. No more adjusting pH with lime
Earthbox switched to using Coco Coir bricks with their ready to go EB packages a few years ago and it was a big failure. Most reported lots of problems and EB went back to the peat based product.
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Old March 28, 2017   #11
ginger2778
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I have also tried coco coir- it was awful.
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Old March 28, 2017   #12
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I think you got to rinse the Coir to get the salts out. The pre-rinsed coir is REALLY expensive. The hydro store told me to rinse the bricks until the water came out clear. I used the blue Walmart bags for that and elevated it to make sure the water was clear. At one point I left them outside for the rain to wash them for over 6 months.

----
On Tomato Tone, it says to use 2 Cups per cubic foot; so that would be 4 cups for an Earthbox. In the fall, I used the 4 C of TT and Plant Tone combo - then I switched over to just using Master Blend liquid solution. Because of this, I am really concerned about using my mix again.

ProMix by me is really expensive as well - $41 + 7% tax.

I'm testing an EB now with a 1.5 Cubic Foot of Lamberts Potting Mix - nice and light - no junk, decent size Perlite. It was <$8 at Walmart. To save $$$$$, I'm thinking of forgoing the LOAF. I stopped using the EarthBox covers (ran out) and have been using White Compactor Bags - about $.30 each. I then found I don't need to double up on them so can get 2 EB on the same bag making it $.15 each.

Then Marsha gave me a link where the guy stuffs the cover underneath. I've done this twice now with the compactor bags. So if I can fill an EB without the Loaf with 1.5 Cubic feet that would reduce the mix cost by 25% no matter what I used.

Any thoughts about forgoing the loaf?
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Old March 28, 2017   #13
Sun City Linda
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I use trash bags and tuck also, which I think Garden Doc on EB started doing and it works fine. The loaf does add to the total amount of growing media available but I think one of the main reasons was to insure a tight fit for the shower cap cover which EB sold.

In my experience using synthetics both solid and liquid there is white stuff (salts) which rise to the top of my growing media. I always scrape that off and whatever I can find of the old fert strip. and then prep box for replant. Its been 8 years for some of them now.
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Old March 28, 2017   #14
shatbox
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sun City Linda View Post
Earthbox switched to using Coco Coir bricks with their ready to go EB packages a few years ago and it was a big failure. Most reported lots of problems and EB went back to the peat based product.
I think the key to coir is getting the best brand you can afford, always using that brand, rinsing, and of course getting the perlite ratio dialed in.

Also Sun City Linda, I wanted to start using masterblend too and was thinking of putting the EB up on blocks to drain into buckets every once in a while to rinse salts out but as I type, it's sounding less and less appealing.

Barb, is the loaf to run rainwater off the EB so it doesn't pool?
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Old March 28, 2017   #15
roper2008
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Well I'm just going to buy 3 bales of pro mix bx. It won't be so bad if I only have
to replace 1/5 of the soil in each earthbox. Home Depot was out of tomato tone. I
did buy another organic fertilizer that is 5-5-5.

I going to put peppers and eggplant in my earthboxes.
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