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Making self-watering planters out of bins

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I'm in Texas where it's hot and we're in a drought and my soil is extremely thin and rocky and alkaline. I have a regular old backyard that I am making slowly trying to make the most use of. So far I have the chickens down! 

I have decided that using the plastic bins that I have from moving and creating automatic watering planters, with pipes sticking out, surrounded by plastic hardward cloth to keep the chickens out and when fruiting cloth to keep birds out from the top - and maybe even some plastic during the winters as tiny greenhouses - might be the best way to approach gardening here.

Does anyone have any experience with earthbox gardening or making your own self-watering planters?
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Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
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I grow some things in earthboxes, and am very pleased with them, although it can be a challenge keeping up with watering the tomatoes!

It's cheapest to order them from the website.

I decided not to make them myself out of totes - the earthboxes are made of UV-resistant plastic, while totes are not.
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Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
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Here is our version that we made this year - so far so good!
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And when my army is complete, I will rule the world! But, for now, I'm going to be happy with this tiny ad:
A rocket mass heater heats your home with one tenth the wood of a conventional wood stove
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