The EarthBox Makes Your Dream of Homegrown Produce a Reality

I'm an awful gardener, and it even worked for me

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EarthBox Tout with produce growing

The Spruce Eats / Jason Horn

I love the idea of growing my own fruits and vegetables. I visit the farmers market almost every week to buy locally grown produce, and I live in sunny Southern California, where you can have an outdoor garden all year round. So when my wife and I moved into a house with a lawn (AstroTurf; we don’t have to water or mow), I excitedly bought a big metal frame for a raised-bed garden and filled it with dirt and seasonally appropriate fruits and veggies.

Today, I own three EarthBoxes, and I’ve successfully grown every one of those items I killed in my previous raised bed, along with kale, eggplants, peppers, and more.

EarthBox Garden Kit

EarthBox Kit

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Easy to set up and use

  • Prevents over- and under-watering

  • Lots of growth in a small space

What We Don't Like
  • Won't work with root vegetables

Turns out, I am a very bad fruit and vegetable gardener. Between overwatering, underwatering, a historic heat wave, and squirrels digging up my garden to bury nuts, I managed to fail to grow a wide, wide variety of edible plants. I tried several rounds of this, becoming a prolific killer of basil, strawberries, watermelon, green beans, and all sorts of tomato plants—until a friend told me about the EarthBox.

earthbox with the beginnings of plants growing

The Spruce Eats / Jason Horn

It’s a pretty simple idea—a plastic box you fill with soil and fertilizer—but the Earthbox’s clever design even makes it Jason-proof. There’s a grate inside that the dirt sits on top of, creating a reservoir in the bottom that can hold several days’ worth of water. The soil wicks up only the water it needs, making it pretty much impossible to overwater. Before planting, you pour a line of fertilizer into the middle of the soil, which helps supercharge the plants’ growth. And the top of the box gets covered by a stretchy plastic cover that acts as mulch, protecting the plant roots from both parasitic bugs and errant rodents. (You have to cut small holes in the cover and gently insert each plant into the dirt.)

Today, I own three EarthBoxes, and I’ve successfully grown every one of those items I killed in my previous raised bed, along with kale, eggplants, peppers, and more.

adding water from hose to earthbox

The Spruce Eats / Jason Horn

When one season’s plants are done producing, you can simply yank them out of the soil and replace with new ones.

There are some helpful accessories available, including caster wheels to move the box around, a stand that lifts it almost three feet off the ground so you don’t have to crouch to water or harvest, a staking system to hold up tomatoes and other vining and climbing plants, and even an automated watering system. Depending on what you’re growing, the standard box can fit anywhere from two (resource-intensive plants, such as artichokes, eggplants, and tomatoes) to 16 (peas, beans, or corn) seedlings, with a chart in the instructions explaining exactly how to lay everything out.

watermelon growing from earthbox

The Spruce Eats / Jason Horn

Another great aspect of the Earthbox is how simple it is to reuse. When one season’s plants are done producing, you can simply yank them out of the soil and replace with new ones. After a cycle or two, you’ll need to stir up the dirt and replace the fertilizer and mulch cover; EarthBox sells replant kits including pre-measured packages of everything you need, but you can also buy your own ingredients at any garden or hardware store and measure out the correct amounts yourself. The website even includes growing guides with tips for dozens of different fruits and veggies you might want to plant.

The original EarthBox isn’t recommended for root vegetables—it’s just too shallow to grow anything of a decent size. However, the company recently introduced a Root & Veg Garden, a square box that’s much deeper than the original, designed for plants like onions and carrots. I’ll be giving that a try this Los Angeles “winter.”

jason horn holding greens from the earthbox

The Spruce Eats / Jason Horn

Available Sizes: Original (25 x 14 x 11 inches), Junior (23 x 9.5 x 7.25 inches), Root & Veg (17.75 x 17.75 x 15.75 inches)

Why Trust The Spruce Eats?

The Spruce Eats commerce writer Jason Horn has been writing about food and drinks for almost 20 years. Thanks to decades of experience, he's a great cook, but no amount of practice had been able to cure his black thumb until he found the EarthBox.