How to Make an Earth Box for Gardening


An EarthBox is a product that allows you to grow vegetables and other plants in a special self-watering, self-fertilizing container. Creating your own version requires little money and only a little time. You can create your own EarthBox style planter with readily available items while also controlling the size of your planter. Plants grown in these planters require no top watering or fertilization throughout the growing system. Pruning and watching for insect problems is still necessary.

Step 1

Purchase a large plastic storage tub. Cut out the inside of the lid with a utility knife, leaving the rim in one piece.

Step 2

Set a pond basket on top the lid cut-out near the center. Trace around it with a permanent marker. Cut it out with the utility knife.

Step 3

Drill a 1-inch diameter hole in one corner for the watering tube. Drill ½ inch diameter holes 2 inches apart in rows over the rest of the lid cut-out.

Step 4

Set the lid cut-out on top the pond basket with the basket under it's hole cut-out, the open side of the basket facing up. Attach the pond basket to the lid piece by wrapping plastic zip-ties around it and through the drilled holes in the lid.

Step 5

Place the lid cut-out inside the plastic tub with the bottom of the pond basket sitting on the bottom of the tub. Slide a 3-foot length of 1-inch diameter PVC pipe into the corner hole cut-out. Drill a ½ inch hole in the side of the plastic tub just beneath where the lid screen sits inside.

Step 6

Fill the pond basket with a soil-less potting mix then moisten it. Finish filling the tub with moist potting mix until it is even with the top of the tub.

Step 7

Pour water into the PVC fill tube until it comes out of the overfill hole drilled in the side of the tub. Water at least once a week until it comes out the overfill once the box is planted.

Step 8

Sprinkle 2 cups of granular fertilizer lengthwise down the center of the soil. Do not work the fertilizer into the soil or cover it up. The fertilizer will leach into the soil slowly over the growing the season.

Step 9

Place a sheet of black plastic mulch over the top of the soil. Place the lid rim onto the tub to hold the mulch in place.

Step 10

Cut holes in the mulch and sow your plants into them as you would in a regular planter or garden bed. Avoid planting directly in the fertilizer stripe.

Tips and Warnings

  • Tomatoes and other plant requiring trellises must have the trellis installed at the time of planting. Attach them to the outside of the planting box to avoid damage to the inner screen.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic storage tub
  • Pond basket
  • Marker
  • Utility knife
  • Drill
  • Zip-ties
  • Soil-less mix
  • PVC pipe
  • Plastic mulch
  • Fertilizer


  • Seattle Peak Oil Awareness: Making A Self Watering Container

Who Can Help

  • Earthbox planting and fertilizer guide.
Keywords: homemade EarthBox, self-watering planter, container gardening

About this Author

Jenny Harrington is a freelance writer of more than five years' experience. Her work has appeared in "Dollar Stretcher" and various blogs. Previously, she owned her own business for four years, selling handmade items online, wholesale and via the crafts fair circuit. Her specialties are small business, crafting, decorating and gardening.