Although Santa Monica is a beautiful, beach-y city just far enough from the grasps of Los Angeles, it just doesn’t prove suitable for abundant and spacious gardening. You see, Santa Monica is a tourist town; a hustling and bustling casual joint. The city is an antonym in itself. Travelers stroll down the Promenade oiled up in their bright bikinis and big sunglasses, taking in the sunshine as they mindlessly hop from one tchotchke store to the next. However, these roving guests are practically mulled over by the hasty locals, traveling by car, bike, and foot…urgently trying to get somewhere….probably The Coffee Bean. Anyway, I’m getting off topic. Simply put, Santa Monica is a charming city that is so over-crowded, space for anything is few and far between.
So, what do you do when apartments are stacked on top of each other and that one square foot of luscious green space for planting is communal and technically not yours to mess with?! I suggest to you….Earthbox! A sub-irrigated, compact, mobile, organic solution that allows you to simply grow any plant you want with amazing results. Earthbox is a raised gardening system that is easy-to-use for all types of apartment and small space planting.
When we first moved in, we decided we could cut grocery costs by planting a few tomatoes and lettuce varieties. We inherited a handful of planters and soil from a neighbor that was moving out. We began planting right away. They grew SO big. We complimented ourselves on our green thumbs and may have even high-fived. Then one day, they stopped growing. What? How could this be, we did everything right. Well…Google told me our plants had developed a fungus, Fusarium Wilt, transferred from used soil. Something that was even growing within the planters themselves. What a drag, I could practically taste those tomatoes. Side-note, our landlord said it was bad Karma from the previous planter owner. LOL…well, we don’t want any bad Ju-ju.
We forged ahead. We stumbled upon Earthbox (earthbox.com). At first look, the box itself seems quite elementary, but sometimes the most practical things produce the best results. Essentially this planter box has a base aeration screen that separates the soil from the water. A side fill tube allows you to pour water into the bottom as needed. There is constantly a source of water for the roots of your plants to drink from when they’re thirsty. Easy instructions come with each Earthbox that include suggestions for Organic soils and fertilizers. Minimal fertilizer is used as you make “troughs” during layering. Basically all the elements are layered and the plants pull from the elements as needed. You cannot over-water or over-fertilize your plants. Dolomite is provided as well as a mulch bag cover that keeps your soils safe from bugs and… FUNGI! Humidity created by the bag allows your soil to flourish, much like a green house. Wheel casters, Automatic Watering Systems, Staking Systems and many more items are also available as additions to your Earthbox. We personally have the staking system for our tomatoes which provides a netted wall for the plants to grow up, unharmed by metal or wood stakes that could break vines. The net keeps our plants organized while the casters allow for ease of movement; a highlight for our small apartment gardening setup.
We’ve now watched our plants grow for a month now. Below you’ll see a picture of the first salad I made with our lettuce. Our tomatoes and peppers are not far behind. We’re so happy with the results and ease that Earthbox provided. It’s the best value for anyone needing a hobby or who wants abundant growth with very little space to do it.
Here are a few pictures.