Do Those Actually Work? Earth Boxes and Hose Reels

I am a curious person and sometimes I indulge my inner skeptic by purchasing something that I’ve always wondered about, “Do those actually work?”  So often it seems there are gimmicks on TV or in the stores and they seem like a good idea, but the thrifty person in me wants to learn from someone else’s experience.

You can learn from my experiences this time around. 

I’m here to report on two products:  Earth Boxes and self-winding hose reels.

Three years ago, I bought my first Earth Box online.  I planted it with two tomatoes to grow them on the deckYes, they work.  They really work well, so the next year I bought four.  I’m growing tomato plants the size of small trees (seriously!)  and the fruit are abundant and ripening well.

What I really like best about the Earth Boxes are (1) the way the regular watering from the self-watering feature keeps the tomatoes from the stress that causes splitting of the fruit; and (2) the watering from below and the cover on top serve to keep soil-borne foliage and fruit diseases  to a minimum.  Before I pruned off some of the leafy growth (so that the fruit can develop fully), the plants looked like this (right) in a photo taken a month ago (June 2012).

If the leafy growth was allowed to continue at will, it will.  What do you get?  You will have great big plants with fruit that are acceptable in size, but some of the larger fruiting varieties might disappoint.  However, if the number of flower stalks are limited to ones occurring on primary branches, the fruit will develop faster and more fully.  It’s how I am growing Black Krim and Mortgage Lifter that are nearly ready to harvest now–and they are big, beautiful fruit.  I’ve had to rig up a staking arrangement with a trellis, but that’s only because I like the challenge of trying to make something better than what’s available commercially.  Soon, I’ll take photos of some of the harvest so you can be a believer too.

I’m absolutely sold on Earth Boxes because my deck is the sunniest part of my yard and my tomatoes love the heat and the regular water…and I love tomatoes.  So, we’re all happy.  Check the end of this post for recent photos of the plants and harvest.

I am also happy to report that I love my self-winding hose reel.  It’s one of the hose reels that automatically rewinds using water to drive the rewinding mechanism.  Placement has been key.  I have the water discharge hose placed to deep water my Japanese Maple which must feel like it won the tree-placement lottery.  It’s exceedingly happy.  I’m happy.  What can I say?  We’re a happy group these days around my house.

I like the way the brown box of my hose reel blends right in with the flower bed and almost disappears.  I don’t have a red arrow in my yard, but I thought you might find it helpful.  The only thing I needed to do to make this hose reel perfect was to install some hose guides to keep the rewinding hose from damaging my hostas.

Not all the time do I have such gardening joy to report, but I’m happy to say that the answer to the question, “Do those actually work?” when it comes to Earth Boxes and self-winding hose reels… is ….YES!




Categories In the Garden, Inspiration | Tags: | Posted on July 28, 2012

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