GrowLust

Growing an edible garden

   Nov 12

How to build a dirt cheap earth box from a 200 Liter plastic drum

We all know that earthboxes and other self-watering containers work great but are very expensive to purchase.
Fortunately many DIY alternatives are available for those gardening on a budget.
For me gardening is all about growing the healthiest food possible while spending the least amount of money.
This means saving money on containers, water, fertilizers, pest control and seedlings.

Good quality self-watering containers can be particularly expensive, especially if you intend to grow lots of food.
For growing the best quality and quantity, the big most expensive containers usually work best.

200 Liter (55 gallon) plastic drums are my favorite alternative to purchasing ready-made self-watering containers.
These drums are made from durable food grade plastic and can be purchased second hand for very little money.
Using them will also save them from going into landfills and they can rather serve a good purpose.

They are very easy to work with. Only a jigsaw and a drill is required to cut them to size.
I have made a few self-watering and standard containers out of them and I’m very satisfied with the results.

Building a standard container is super simple. Just drill a starter hole and cut them in half with an electric jigsaw. Then drill a few drainage holes into the bottom parts. Then you have two 25 Gallon (100 Liter) planters.
Or you could also cut them into three parts. The middle part wouldn’t have a bottom though and you would have to throw it away or use it for other purposes. The advantage of cutting them into three parts would be a more manageable size, in case you need to move the containers from time to time.

For a fancier and super effective container, you can convert them into an self-watering earthbox.
This is the best tutorial I have found to build an earthbox from a plastic drum: http://www.instructables.com/id/Earth-Box-from-a-Plastic-Barrel/

Those are the drums I have build and my veggies grow perfectly in them:

squash planted in self-watering plastic drum

tomatoes growing in self-watering plastic drum

cherry tomatoes in container made from plastic drum

beans and lettuce in 25 gallon half plastic drum container

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