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EarthBox® gardening system

What to grow?


Years of research have yielded the optimal number and arrangement of each type of vegetable, fruit, herb or flower for healthy growing — from seedling to fully grown plants.

Plant Selection Chart


Use this list to purchase the correct number of seedlings for the type of plants you wish to grow. The number of seedlings indicated is the optimal number that should be planted to allow for enough room for healthy fully-grow plants to develop.
Seedlings of different types, but that have the same optimal number, can be mixed & matched. (Eg: You could plant 3 bell pepper seedlings and 3 broccoli seedlings in the same container, as the optimal number to plant for both is 6 seedlings).


  • Artichokes (2 seedlings)
  • Beans (16 seedlings)
  • Bell Peppers (6 seedlings)
  • Broccoli (6 seedlings)
  • Brussels Sprouts (6 seedlings)
  • Cabbage (6 seedlings)
  • Cauliflower (6 seedlings)
  • Celery (6 seedlings)
  • Chard (6 seedlings)
  • Corn / Mielies(16 seedlings)
  • Cucumbers (4 seedlings)
  • Eggplants / Brinjals (2 seedlings)
  • Flowers (8 seedlings)
  • Greens (6 seedlings)
  • Herbs (6 seedlings)
  • Hot Peppers (6 seedlings)
  • Kohlrabi (8 seedlings)
  • Leeks (8 seedlings)
  • Lettuce (8 seedlings)
  • Melons (4 seedlings)
  • Okra (8 seedlings)
  • Onions (10 seedlings)
  • Peas (16 seedlings)
  • Salad Greens (8 seedlings)
  • Spinach (10 seedlings)
  • Squash (4 seedlings)
  • Strawberries (6 seedlings)
  • Tomatoes (2 seedlings)

Plant food & Plant
Placement Pattern Chart


The patterns shown below illustrate (from above) the best placement of plants and plant food based on the suggested number of plants per variety as listed above.

Growing Legend
Single Row
2 seeds per row

(2 seedlings per row)

Double Row
3 seedlings per row

(3 seedlings per row)

5 seedlings per row

(5 seedlings per row)

4 seedlings per row

(4 seedlings per row)

4 seedlings per row

(4 seedlings per row)

8 seedlings per row

(8 seedlings per row)

Easy instructions



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Plant Selection


Try everything: vegetables, herbs, fruits and flowers. Whatever is available at your local nursery will grow in your EarthBox® gardening system — even mealies and trees! Use the small seedlings from seedling trays or start with seeds. Ask your local nursery to recommend the best varieties for your area and season. Remember that the soil temperature can be raised before the end of winter by having the black side of the mulch cover facing up — so you will be able to plant your summer crops at least two weeks earlier than you would in the ground.

Growth Medium


EarthBox® Africa uses organic compressed coir as its growth medium of choice. The coir is supplied in a compressed brick, which expands when soaked in water. The superior water-carrying properties of coir make it the perfect choice for growing plants in the EarthBox® gardening system. Coir bricks are available from our online store or through The growth medium can be used for 4 years before it needs to be replaced with new coir in order to ensure continued maximum wicking ability.

Fertilizer (Plant Food)


The EarthBox® gardening system is designed to be used with a strip of special organic plant food (which is supplied with the EarthBox® gardening system and is also available through our online store or ). This special organic plant food has been tried and tested and is preferred for the African situation, but almost any brand of fertilizer suitable for vegetable and flower growth will work. Typically you will need 3 cups of organic plant food or 2 cups of chemical fertilizer for each planting. Do not add any additional plant food during the 12 month period after the date of your initial planting.



Resist the temptation to over-plant your EarthBox® gardening system. Select a sunny spot, as most warm season crops, such as tomatoes, need 6-8 hours of daily sunlight. Cool season leafy vegetables such as spinach and lettuce require partial shade. The plants should always be planted through the plastic cover into the growth medium. Always leave the cover on. Gently loosen the plant´s root ball and set your plants into the growth medium as far away from the plant food strip as possible. Refer to the Plant food & Plant Placement Pattern Chart above to learn about correct plant selection and placement.



Add water every few days when the plants are young, and every day when your plants are mature. Never water the seedlings or plants directly. Always use the fill tube to keep the water reservoir filled. You´ll know the reservoir is full when water flows from the overflow hole. Allowing the reservoir to go dry will shut down the system, so don´t try to regulate the water level.

Replanting and Winterizing


At the end of the growing season (12 months from initial planting) you will need to prepare your EarthBox® gardening system for the next 12 month growing season to ensure maximum production. Remove the old plants and the mulch cover, shake the growing medium around the plant roots back into the box and scoop out the old plant food strip. Drain the reservoir by tipping the EarthBox® gardening system and cover the box with a new cover (2 covers are supplied with each EarthBox® gardening system) to prevent contamination and saturation of the growth medium while the box is unplanted.


To replant:

  1. Place the supplied small compressed brick of coir into a suitable container and add 5 litres of water.
  2. Once the brick has swollen, add this additional growth medium to that left in the box from the previous growing season.
  3. Choose your desired plant food and placement pattern according to your crop type, using the handy chart supplied with your EarthBox® gardening system (if you have misplaced your guide refer to the Plant food & Plant Placement Pattern Chart).
  4. Pour the entire packet of plant food in a band as illustrated in the Chart and cover with a small amount of growth medium.
  5. Cover the EarthBox® gardening system with a mulch cover (your old mulch cover if it is still in good repair and if you have chosen to plant crops with exactly the same placement pattern, or a new mulch cover if you have chosen a new crop and placement pattern).
  6. Plant your selected crop through the cut-outs you have made, water your seedlings and fill the reservoir through the fill tube.

For Tomatoes and Vegetables


Most vegetables require a higher pH level than the growth medium provides, and they love Calcium! To prevent blossom end rot, simply add 2 cups of dolomite or hydrated lime to the growth medium before each planting. Remember to keep the reservoir filled with water. Letting the system go dry stops the intake of Calcium and plant food to the plants. If Blossom End Rot develops during the season, mix 1 cup of hydrated lime to 4 litres of water. Spray the mix directly on the plants or add it to the water reservoir the next time you water your EarthBox® gardening system.

Three Simple Rules for a fantastic yield.


  • Always keep the cover over the growth medium and plant food.
  • Always keep the reservoir full.
  • Place the plant food on top of the growth medium and don´t use water-soluble fertilizers.


For more tips, visit our online forum!

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