Bucket gardening is a great alternative to garden pots and traditional garden beds that allow you to have a productive vegetable garden without a lot of outdoor garden space. Bucket gardening is great for people who are renters, those with small patios, and even those who live in urban areas without a lot of outdoor spaces.
I grew up visiting my grandparents every summer and they had the most wonderful vegetable garden. It was a lot of work to maintain but it was amazing the yummy food that came out of that garden. Container gardens are becoming more and more popular as people desire to grow their own food but lack the space or time for the traditional garden. Container gardens are also great for those with physical limitations as the containers can be raised, eliminating the need to bend over to tend to the garden space. Gardening in buckets makes container gardening even more straightforward.
What is Bucket Gardening?
Bucket gardening is literally exactly as it sounds. It’s growing plants in 5 gallon buckets. 5 gallon buckets are great growing vessels because they have enough depth and width to grow just about anything. You could do fruits and veggies or even a small cut garden in 5 gallon buckets. Bucket gardening is also ideal because of how inexpensive it is. Gardening containers can be really costly. You can grab 5 gallon buckets for just a few bucks at most places.
What Can You Grow in Buckets?
As I mentioned, you can grow just about anything in 5 gallon bucket planters. They are ideal for growing plants like vegetables, herbs, annuals, and perennials because the buckets provide enough potting soil for roots to thrive without taking up a lot of space in the yard or patio.
What are the perks of bucket gardening?
Bucket gardening is really versatile. You can grow anything in the buckets. You can plant one vegetable per bucket so you don’t have to keep track of which rows are which veggies. You can also plant a cut garden in the buckets with annuals and perennial plants. You can also plant an entire herb garden in one bucket and have a variety of herbs available at your fingertips.
Bucket garden takes up remarkably less space than conventional gardening. When we first started container gardening, we planted veggies in five buckets on our patio. That summer we got so many tomatoes! The buckets take up as much or as little space as you want or have available.
As a military family, I really appreciate bucket gardening for its ability to be transportable. You don’t have to get rid of your whole garden if you move. You can bring the buckets with you. Obviously, if you are moving overseas or across the country, this may not be as viable but moving across town? You can totally take your plants with you. Additionally, being able to move your plants out of the sun if you have a patio that gets harsh afternoon sun can completely save your garden.
Bucket gardening is really inexpensive. Different from most container gardens that require you to build or buy a garden bed, you can purchase 5 gallon buckets for just a few dollars each, some soil, and seeds, and be ready to garden.
Easy to Care For
Bucket gardening is great because the circumference of the plant space is small enough that it’s really easy to keep the weeds out. You also keep your plants separate so you can tend to the needs of each plant.
How to Create a Bucket Garden
Creating a bucket garden is really simple. Decide on the plants you’d like to grow in your container garden and buy enough 5-gallon buckets to house those plants. A good rule of thumb is one plant per bucket. If you are doing a cut garden you could add two species of flowers into one bucket. Otherwise, one plant per bucket is great.
Once you have the number of buckets you need you can start preparing them for planting. To prepare your buckets, drill several holes at the bottom of the bucket to serve as drainage holes and remove excess water. The next step is to layer the bottom of the bucket with gravel to assist with drainage. Then you’ll fill the remaining area of the bucket with potting soil. You’ll want to leave about 4 inches from the top free. The amount of soil you will need for a 5 gallon bucket garden can vary as some plants need hard compact soil and some plants require soil that is airy and not compact. On average though 5 gallon buckets will need about 2 and a half cubic feet of soil.
Once you’ve added the soil you are ready to plant your seeds or seedlings according to the directions. I would also recommend adding peat moss and compost to the top of the soil to give your plants the nutrients they need to start growing.
If 5 gallon orange buckets aren’t your thing – you can pick up 5 gallon buckets in an array of colors. Additionally, you can build planter boxes or stand to put the buckets in that hide the sides of the buckets. I also have created burlap sacks to put around the buckets to dress them up a bit. 5 gallon bucket planter stands are also commercially available to big box home improvement stores.
Plants That Are Good for Bucket Gardening
There really aren’t many plants that aren’t great for bucket gardening. We always buy our seeds from Burpee. They have a great variety. Some of our favorite plants for container gardening are:
Peppers (all kinds)
Herbs (all kinds)
Flowers like zinnias and daises
This is by no means an exhaustive list but it gives you a good starting point. Bucket gardening, like all gardening – does require a bit of trial and error but once you get the hang of it and your plants start producing it is the most rewarding thing to have bucket planters.
That’s an introduction to bucket gardening. Bucket gardening is a great way to get your feet wet in gardening and enjoy the occasional harvest without the commitment of a conventional garden. Bucket gardening is great for small space dwellers as well as those with limited access to outdoor space. We love that we can take our bucket garden with us when we move (we’ve driven across the country twice with our bucket garden in tow). Lastly, bucket planters are budget-friendly and fun! If you attempt a bucket garden be sure to comment below and let us know what you’re growing!