For me, about the only thing better than vine-ripened tomatoes is knowing that I grew them myself. Look at that … hands going up all over the room! There’s just something indescribable about a perfectly ripened, brightly colored, juicy, delicious tomato. Or six.

tomato salad

Some rights reserved by ralph and jenny

Sounds so easy, but the truth is that growing a garden can be time-consuming and frustrating, assuming that you even have space for one.

Add to the hard work of planting a garden, there’s a matter of weeding, fertilizing, watering over and over throughout the growing season. My intentions are always superior, but my follow through? Not so much.

I live in California where water is precious and therefore expensive, which just adds to the list of challenges for me when it comes to home gardening. That’s why I was immediately drawn to a very clever idea of growing tomatoes and all kinds of vegetables―even fruit trees―in good old plastic storage bins available online at Amazon but also at stores like Target, Home Depot and Lowes.

The process of building one of these systems, known as an EarthTainer is not difficult, and pretty cheap as well, because you use ordinary household supplies. It takes about  90 minutes to build and plant one container so that it’s all ready to go with two tomato plants.


Ray Newstead

While not a huge job, this is not a matter of throwing some dirt and a plant in a pot. You will need to assemble the correct supplies and follow the instructions carefully. And don’t assume you’ll do this in an hour and a half the first time around. This is a mid-level construction project, just so you know.

The inventor, Ray Newstead, has created three handy videos with very clear instructions on how to do this.

Once you have it built and planted your container, this amazing system waters itself. And you add all the fertilizer you’ll need for one season when you build it. After that … just wait for the harvest. And did I say no weeding?

I am going to give this a try. I think you might be with me on this once you learn that you can put your tomato garden on a patio, balcony or even indoors near a south-facing window. That means we could be growing tomatoes and other vegetables year round.

You know how much I believe that we should be moving toward growing our own food whenever possible. Here’s an invention that makes it possible.

You can read more about the EarthTainer and find the three videos that will walk you through the construction process here.

Note: While Ray says the method he demonstrates in the videos is valid and works well, he has greatly improved the system. The EarthTainer/InnTainer “Convertible” Edition Construction, Planting, and Maintenance Guide is a downloadable .pdf, complete with pictures and very detailed instructional steps.

I’d love to know your thoughts. Surely I can’t be the only one who thinks this is just so incredibly creative and the solution to so many gardening problems. I can’t wait to build my own EarthTainer.

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