Monday, September 19, 2011

Another look at how to replant an EarthBox

A few weeks ago I wrote about mealybugs that infested my EarthBox strawberries. At that time I was thinking about trying to remove the plants completely, washing the roots, and replanting them again but I decided after trying to get rid of the pesky critters for awhile that it wouldn't be worth trying to save the six plants while risking that I wouldn't get rid of the bugs and they may spread. I decided just to sacrifice the six plants.
We have plenty of other strawberry plants in the garden that are multiplying like crazy so it made sense to get rid of the infested ones in the interest of preventing problems with the others.

So I had an empty EarthBox hat needed to be replanted
The first step I took was to scrub and clean the box as effectively as I could.

I used Safer brand insect killing soap to clean the box because it is effective against mealybugs
Once my box and all the components were clean, it was time to replant
I collected my supplies and headed for the roof because all of our EarthBoxes will be on the roof during the fall and winter growing season. I wrote about planting an EarthBox before but I made a couple of minor mistakes so I thought I should revise that post and hope that I'm doing everything correctly this time.

Supplies needed:
Ready to go

Dolomite should be easy to find at your local nursery and will help balance the nutrients in your  EarthBox 
  • Step One - secure screen in bottom of earth box and place tube at an angle so it rests on the edges of the box. Use the hole provided in the screen.
  • Step Two - pack soil in the box tightly, especially in the corners, leaving a few inches at the top. 
  • Step Three - add your dolomite and spread evenly 

EarthBox with packed soil and dolomite
  • Step Four - fill the rest of the box up with your soil, packing it firmly

Almost full
I leave just a bit of space at the top because It's easier as far as I'm concerned for creating your fertilizer trench.
  • Step Five - create a trench for your fertilizer, I just leave enough space to do this by pushing the dirt up on the sides, filling the sides of the box completely. 

Fertilizer trench
  • Step Six - add 3 cups organic fertilizer distributed evenly across the trench
  • Step Seven - build a mound on top of your fertilizer strip

"Okay...chard may attract rabbits...but how in the world do you expect them to get onto the roof?! I'm never going to catch a rabbit, am I?"

Fertilizer in, mound built

  • Step Eight - Place your "mulch" over the box

Place the tube through the pre-cut hole in the mulch and then secure around the rest of the box

Mulch secured
  • Step Nine - cut holes in mulch to put the plants through and push soil aside to create holes big enough to plant seedlings in
Holes in mulch on one side

  • Step Ten - Plant your plants

I planted these starter seeds with the idea in mind that I would keep 2 plants from each pot

There are 4-6 seedlings in each of my pots with space to separate 2 clusters of seedlings

The separated seedlings

I will stick the plant in the hole and then pack it by reaching under the mulch and securing the plant firmly in the hole
I waited a couple of days after putting in my seedlings to thin them so I could choose the ones that looked the best, there are now a total of 6 plants in the box.
  • Last step - water in the tube until water comes out of the overflow hole at the bottom of your box
You'll probably need to wash your hands when you're done but gardening without getting a little dirty is no fun.


  1. This is a great and helpful post! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Lots of Good information in your posting, I bookmarked your blog post so I can visit again in the near future.
    Growing Medium

  3. Thanks! I got my Earthbox in 2012 and I'm about to do my first re-planting. I got the Espoma Garden Lime (dolomite) and Espoma Gardentone organic fertilizer that are on Earthbox's recommended list (the fertilizer at Lowes and Garden Lime at Home Depot, inside w/ the small-container fertilizers). I am amazed at how little mess you made when replanting.