How to Build Your Own Earth Box


The Earth Box is a complete container gardening system designed to provide ideal amounts of water and fertilizer for the plants. The manufacturer claims the system will double yields and reduce the amount of water and fertilizer needed. It is possible to build your own earth box system. Building your own earth box allows you to choose a container that fills your needs. If your system is much larger than the original 13.5 inch by 29 inch, add more cut outs in the wire mesh and be sure to pack the soil into the cut out spaces.

Step 1

Choose a suitable container for your earth box garden. Drill a drain hole through the back of the box 3/4 inches from the bottom of the container.

Step 2

Cut a piece of 1/2-inch wire mesh screening 1 1/2-inches longer and wider than the container. Cut out a 2-inch square on each end of one side of the length of the screen. Use small pliers to bend down a 3/4-inch strip around the length and width of the mesh. Bend to a 45-degree angle. Place this screen in the bottom of the container with the cut out squares to the back. It should stand up 3/4-inch from the bottom of the container, creating a water reservoir.

Step 3

Cut the window screening to fit top of the reservoir, cutting away the 2-inch squares at the back corners. Place this screening on top of the wire mesh.

Step 4

Place the PVC pipe in the center of the front of the box. Attach it to the box with duct tape to hold it into position. It sits vertically on top of the wire screening.

Step 5

Pack potting mix into the two square cutouts at the back of the box down into the water reservoir. Fill the box half full of potting mix on top of screening and around the PVC pipe. Gently water the potting mix to moisten it and pat it down. Pat firmly over the two back corner cutouts.

Step 6

Finish filling the container to the top with potting mix. If planting vegetables or tomatoes, mix 2 cups of hydrated lime into the top half of the potting mix. Water again gently and smooth the soil.

Step 7

Mound a row of potting mix in the back of the container if you will plant one row in the center of the pot. If you will plant two rows, mound the potting mix down the center of the container. Create a trough in the mound and pour in 2 cups of dry fertilizer. Do not mix into the soil. Cover the fertilizer with potting mix and pat down.

Step 8

Cut a piece of black plastic to fit the top of the container. In hot climates, use white plastic. Place the plastic over the top of the soil to keep in moisture and prevent weeds. Tuck the ends of the plastic into the edge of the soil, or hold it down with a few pieces of gravel.

Step 9

Cut an X into the plastic where the plants will be placed. Dig a hole large enough for your plant through the X. Plant the plants through the X, firming the soil around the roots. Water the new plants through the hole. All future watering will be through the PVC pipe.

Step 10

Place the container in a sunny location and fill the water reservoir through the PVC pipe. Excess water will flow out the drain hole when the reservoir is full. Keep the reservoir full, adding water every day or two. Mature plants will need daily filling. Do not add more fertilizer.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not use liquid fertilizers. The mound of fertilizer added initially will fertilize the plants all year.

Things You'll Need

  • Planting container, approximately 29 inches long, 13.5 inches wide, and 11 inches high
  • Drill with 1/4-inch bit
  • 1/2-inch wire mesh screening
  • Window screening, to fit container
  • Wire snippers
  • Potting mix
  • 1-inch diameter PVC pipe
  • Duct tape
  • Balanced dry fertilizer such as 10-10-10
  • Black or white plastic or heavy duty trash bag
  • Scissors
  • Plants


  • Earth Box: Instructions
Keywords: build your own earth box, earth box system, container gardening

About this Author

Diane Watkins has been writing since 1984, with experience in newspaper, newsletter and web content. She writes two electronic newsletters and content around the web. Watkins has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Clemson University. She has taken graduate courses in biochemistry and education.