DIY THE DEARTHBOX: A LOW-COST, SELF-WATERING PLANTER

Joining many other excellent earthbox instructables, meet ours, the Dearthbox! The Dearthbox costs about $13-16 per box, and can grow up to three plants, depending on the type of plant. At our house in CA, we’ve been testing these out for the last month or so. Our tomatoes are thriving and it’s a relief to know our plants aren’t parched in the afternoon heat.

Even if you’ve already planted stuff, you could still transplant to the Dearthbox and save some water this summer.

This instructable shows you the materials we used, the steps we followed, and how to plant a fairly big plant, as well as how to plant seedlings.

Step 1: Gather Your Materials

Picture of Gather Your Materials

Picture of Gather Your Materials

If you already own most of the cutting tools and the drill, this instructable costs about $13-15. We got everything at Home Depot, but you can find similar stuff at any hardware store.

Materials pictured:

2 big paint buckets that stack (~5 gallons each)
1 lid
1 plastic tub OR drain grate (The height of the tub/drain grate should be approximately the same height as the gap between the two buckets when stacked)
1 2′ long 1″ diameter plastic pipe (make sure it is longer than the height of the buckets when stacked)*
1 mesh baggie (find them as packaging for fruit, veggies, other stuff!)

Tools pictured:

drill with 1 inch bit and 1/4″ masonry bit
utility knife with extra blades
rounded file
saw
permanent marker
tarp (collects all the plastic bits!)

Not pictured:

black plastic garbage bags
seedlings or established plants
potting mix
compost
fertilizer

*I’ve read different things about using PVC after making this first version, which does use PVC. This project is made entirely of plastic, so if plastics in general bother you, you probably should not make this. If PVC specifically bothers you, it’s easy to find other plastic pipes that will work, just poke around the garden supply store. Also, Greenpeace has a big database of alternatives. What do you think about PVC? What alternatives have you discovered?

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