Last Updated on October 31, 2021 by Phil
Don’t have a garden or does your garden have poor soil? Worry not because with the best vegetables to grow in buckets, you can create your own edible garden without a backyard.
I love growing your own food because not only do you get to choose what and how much to plant, they also come up so much cheaper and fresher than the produce you see in the supermarkets.
So let’s get started!
Why Plant Vegetables in a 5-Gallon Bucket?
Thanks to the rising cost of rent and housing, it isn’t always a given that you end up with a home with a big enough backyard to grow a garden.
That’s where 5-gallon buckets come in. And, they’re very inexpensive.
Buckets are a great way to grow your own vegetable garden even if you don’t have space for a garden. You can also separate them and have a few buckets here and another few buckets somewhere else.
This will let you grow an amazing vegetable garden no matter where you live, be it an apartment or even a small townhouse.
Other instances may also make it useful to grow veggies in buckets. This includes if your garden doesn’t get enough sunlight, there are deer or rabbits that destroy your crop, poor soil, strong winds or rain.
Buckets allow you to grow your own vegetables, anywhere. This lets you use the soil that’s best for each plant and position the bucket to the location with the best suited conditions to grow that particular veggie.
Best Vegetables to Grow in Buckets
Now that you know why some people grow bucket gardens, here are the best vegetables to grow in buckets.
Tomatoes are of my favorites because you can do so many things with them. And, having fresh ones around lets you easily top sandwiches with a few slices.
When it comes to planting tomatoes in buckets, keep them to 1 plant per bucket. It is likewise a good idea to add a stake to support it.
Tomatoes enjoy full sun, so do keep the bucket somewhere it will receive at least 6-8 hours of light daily. Make sure the soil drains well and not to overwater it as well.
Squash is another great veggie that lets you get the other colors of the rainbow besides green. It is perfect for soups as well as casseroles or even as an alternative to potatoes.
One squash plant is perfect for each bucket. They do enjoy rich soil and lots of sun. Regular, consistent water and fertilizer is likewise important for growing this vegetable.
As with some of the others below, you can choose what kind of squash you wish to grow.
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Potatoes are another favorite in my home because of the different things you can do with them. We love mashed potatoes with gravy. French fries are likewise more amazing if you make them using fresh potatoes.
You can grow 2 potato plants in a 5-gallon bucket. Choose whichever variety you prefer to eat. That way you’ll be able to enjoy the harvest.
Potatoes grow best in loamy soil with lots of sunlight.
You can likewise grow sweet or hot peppers depending on which one you enjoy. If you want, you can plant both as well.
Peppers like moist soil that drains well. They’re sensitive to wet conditions as well as dry ones. So, avoid letting them go for long periods with lack of water as well.
You can grow 2 plants per bucket. Make sure that you keep them under full sun conditions.
Choose the kind of peas you want to grow. Also, make sure to provide them with support.
You can plant them in springtime or during fall.
Peas are a great veggie to grow because they produce nitrogen as a byproduct. This helps improve the soil allowing you to grow other plants during the warmer months before going back to growing peas again later on.
If you love salads, then lettuce are the perfect leafy greens to grow. As with many of the other veggies, you can plant whichever lettuce you enjoy to eat most.
Each 5-gallon bucket will let you grow 4 lettuce at a time. So, this will produce more yield that some other veggies.
But, unlike many of the full sun lovers in our list of best vegetables to grow in buckets, keep lettuce away from harsh sunlight. Instead, provide it with partial sun.
Pickled cucumbers are amazing. And, you can grow an unending supply of them with your bucket garden.
Each bucket is perfect for one plant. They enjoy moisture so soil that retains water well is a good option.
Similarly cucumbers like hot weather. This helps them grow better. As such, you can rotate them with cool season vegetables so your soil won’t be sitting around unused during this time.
Radishes are great because not only can you grow 10 plants in one 5-gallon bucket, they’re fast growers as well.
All it takes is 30 days from the time you sow the seed until you harvest. So, if you enjoy adding them to salads and other dishes, they’re one of the most efficient plants to grow in bucket containers.
If you like to grill eggplants or include them in your dishes, then you’re in luck because they grow quite well in bucket gardens.
You can grow 1 plant per bucket. And, as long as they get full sun and moist soil that drains well, they’ll be happy.
Eggplants do need a little tweaking to produce the best harvest. So, don’t get discouraged if your first attempt yields smaller ones that those you see in the supermarkets.
Plant 4 onions per 5-gallon bucket.
Onions are a great choice especially if you like using them to flavor your food. They’re versatile you use in different kinds of dishes as well.
These veggies are best started from seedlings. Although, you can use seeds as well. But, it will take much longer before harvest time.
When planting, plant out your bucket space since you’ll need to leave about 4 inches of space between each plant. This will let you grow 4 of them in one large bucket.
Like many of the veggies above, onions thrive in full sun.
How to Grow Vegetables in a Bucket
- Get a few 5-gallon buckets. How many you’ll need will depend on how much vegetables you want to grow. You can grow one veggie per bucket or make multiple buckets of one veggie if your family happens to enjoy that particular one, like say potatoes. You can use old buckets or get new ones that are available in your local home improvement store. If you’re using old buckets make sure to clean them beforehand. Avoid using buckets that were previously used for chemicals or other things that tend to leave residue in plastic.
- Drill a few holes at the bottom of each bucket. These will serve as the drainage holes much like those in the pots and containers. Drill many small holes to allow enough excess liquid to escape quickly. The fewer the holes, the longer the plant will sit in water which is never a good thing. Keep in mind that you’ll be watering thoroughly so the soil will be soaked with excess moisture which needs to get out.
- Decorate the exterior of the bucket. While the bucket is empty, this is now the time to decorate if you want to make it look nice on the outside. You can likewise label them to make them easy to arrange later on.
- Add some sand or gravel to the bottom of the bucket. This will be your bottom layer. You can likewise use small rocks. The goal here is to improve drainage so that the soil doesn’t get overly wet when you water it deeply.
- Fill the bucket with soil. You won’t be using garden soil here. Instead, you’ll be treating this more like a houseplant where you create your own potting mix or get one from the garden center that’s well-suited for each particular vegetable. This will often be a mixture of compost, planting soil and peat moss. You can also use other media depending on which you prefer.
- Time to plant. You can start with seeds, transplant seedlings or full-grown plants. All work, so it is up to you.
- Place the bucket for enough sunlight. Most veggies enjoy a good amount of sun. But, avoid overly hot sun. Depending on the plant you have, move each bucket to the area where they’ll get the right amount of light.
- Water regularly. Depending on where you place the buckets, they may or may not receive rain. As such, adjust how much you water depending on how much rain they receive. The most important thing here is not to overwater the plants or let them sit in water for long periods of time.
- Fertilize as needed. Fertilizer is helpful to produce abundant crop. But often, like water, people tend to overdo it. So, err on the side of caution here.