The Earth Box is a gardening system that attempts to be as self-contained as possible. Manufactured in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the Earth Box holds a patent as an improved plant management system. Plants automatically receive fertilizer and water as needed, allowing them to grow at their best possible rate.
Container Garden System
The Earth Box is a container garden in the form of a window box. It is rectangular and 29 inches long, 13 1/2 inches wide and 11 inches high. Seeds or transplants are planted in potting mix in the assembled container and covered with a plastic cover to keep out weeds and pests and keep in moisture. Placed in a sunny window or outside, the system delivers everything the developing plants need.
The Watering System
In an Earth Box, water is delivered through a tube at the back of the container. The water flows to a reservoir in the bottom of the container. Moisture is wicked up from the reservoir into the soil as it is needed. This wicking action automatically keeps the soil moist, with excess water draining back into the reservoir. Coupled with the plastic cover on top of the soil, the system conserves water, using much less than conventional container gardens.
The Fertilizer System
Another difference from other container gardens is the way the Earth Box delivers fertilizer to the plants. The fertilizer rests in a trough in the top layer of the soil rather than mixing into the soil. Fertilizer gradually releases into the soil, keeping the system fertilized for an entire season with one application of fertilizer.
A plastic cover fits over the top of the assembled Earth Box container filled with soil mix. This cover is much like the plastic mulch used in many home and commercial gardens. A small X cut in the plastic allows access to the seed or transplant. The plant grows through the hole, keeping moisture in and pests out. In cold climates, a black cover helps warm the soil. In warm climates, a white cover reflects the sun to keep the container cooler.
The Earth Box is an ideal system to use in classrooms because it needs only minor maintenance and stimulates vigorous growth. The American Horticultural Society, along with the United Nations, uses the Earth Box system as part of their Growing Connections program. Children learn about the origins of their food and learn how to grow their own food. Some programs are even selling the produce, teaching farming skills from seed to profit.