Recently Cara went to a workshop at the Inter-faith Food Shuttle Farm on Tryon Road. She came home with a lot of good ideas and a few seedlings to build our garden. Unfortunately the quality and quantity of space we have for such activities is extremely limited. This creates a small hurdle in planting a garden but not one that you can’t solve using a little technology and creativity.

I had read a couple of articles on self watering planters on lifehacker.com (here and here) using storage containers. If you read about the EarthTainer on tomatofest.com and watch the videos you’ll be sold on the concept of a contained self watering planter. At least – I was. The obstacle? Finding the time to get the parts, build the box and do it all before the plants were beyond being able to be planted.  Bottom line? We needed one of these that was already built and ready to grow. Fortunately they do exist and are relatively easy to find under the common name EarthBox and they can be purchased locally at Logan’s Trading Co. and Plow & Hearth (where we got ours on sale).

The concept here is simple – the container creates a self-contained, closed loop “eco-system” that efficiently uses water. The plants sit over a water reservoir that feeds the roots so there is no water run off. The setup was simple and in the pictures after the jump we have the step by step setup of the box as well as pictures of all the parts.  We are hoping to grow cauliflower, broccoli, squash, and a pie pumpkin in our container. Optimistic? Maybe. But we’ll see. If this works we might try to increase the number of boxes we are using by spring planting. From start to finish putting the pieces together took about an hour with stopping on occasion to take pictures of what we were doing.