City Picker vs EarthBox: Self-Watering Planter Boxes

We have been growing vegetables and flowers with City Picker planter boxes for several years now.  This year, we are adding a couple of EarthBoxes. 

Overall, these planter boxes have more similarities than differences.  They both:

  • Are rectangular plastic planter boxes
  • Have the option to add wheels and covers
  • Come in several colors
  • Have similar self-watering setups. 
    • A plastic grid sits at near the bottom of the planter, separating the potting mix (above) and the water reservoir (below).  A plastic tube allows you to pour water into the reservoir.

There are a few differences between the City Picker and EarthBox planters:

  • Price:
    • You can get a basic City Picker planter box with wheels for about $20-$40, depending on the store.  A basic EarthBox with wheels is typically more expensive, about $40-$50+, again depending on where you buy it.  Of course, if you catch a sale, those prices could change.
  • Dimensions:
    • They have roughly similar total volumes, but the City Picker surface area (24”x20”=480 square inches) is larger than the EarthBox (29.5*13.5=398 square inches).  So there is more area for plants to spread out.  But the EarthBox is deeper (11 inches, compared to 9.5 inches for the City Picker), so if you have plants with deeper rooting needs, the EarthBox has an advantage.
  • Complete Kits:
    • EarthBox offers (for more cost) packages that include dolomite, fertilizer, and potting mix.  All the City Pickers, that I have seen, ask you to pick up those items separately.
  • Accessories
    • EarthBox offers some nicely thought-out accessories.  They have trellis systems, up to 7 feet high!  And an automatic watering system.  Even their planter box covers reverse from black (when you want your soil to warm in spring) to white (when it’s hot and you want to reflect heat away from your soil).  City Picker has fewer options, but has been been offering more accessories recently, like a stand for the planter box, for people who cannot bend over easily.
  • Education
    • The EarthBox website is superior.  It offers a blog, forums where you can ask questions, and tons of education material on planter box growing.  Of course, since the City Picker and EarthBox are so similar, you can read and learn at the EarthBox website, no matter which system you end up with.

In summary, these are both great self-watering planter boxes that work well to grow vegetables or flowers.  Choose a City Picker if you want a cheaper option or more surface area for plants to spread out on.  Choose an EarthBox if you want to grow vertically with their trellis systems, set up automatic watering, or prefer a box that allows deeper rooting.