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Home gardening tips: 17 Veggies you can grow in buckets

If you live in a small home or apartment, you don’t need to give up your dreams of having your own garden or growing our own vegetables. You can start your journey to self-sufficiency by growing nutritious vegetables in a bucket garden. Here I have some awesome tips to do just that! Growing your veggies using bucket or pots are an awesome way to get started. 🙂

Tips for starting a bucket garden

Once you get your food-grade buckets, prepare them for planting. Drill or punch a few holes in the bottom of the bucket. One hole about every three inches should do it.

Leave about two inches of loose gravel in the bottom of the bucket for better drainage. Then fill the buckets with a high-quality potting soil mix that includes peat moss and compost. Leave enough room for the plants themselves.

Plant either seeds or starter plants in five-gallon buckets. Water your crops well and check for the soil’s moisture level for further watering. Container plants usually need daily watering during summer because they can dry out rapidly.

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Here are 17 of the best vegetables to grow in five-gallon buckets:

Beans

Both pole beans and bush beans will grow well in buckets.

Pole beans, which are tall, vining beans, need trellis or pole supports for the vines inserted into the bucket before you sow the seeds to prevent damage.

Bush beans, which leaf out, not up, don’t require support. Try growing three plants per bucket.

Beetroot

Beetroots adapt well to buckets. Sow some seeds every couple of weeks from spring through early July for a continuous harvest.

Carrots

Standard carrots need a deeper container other than a bucket, but some short varieties will thrive in containers. Sow seeds at least two to three inches apart and keep the bucket in a sunny location.

Chilies

Chili plants thrive in warm and sunny areas, but they can adapt to a bucket kept in a sheltered spot that receives direct sunlight. Keep buckets indoors if there is any chance of frost.

Cucumbers

Bush-type cucumbers can be grown in five-gallon buckets full of a light, rich blend of compost, peat moss, or coconut coir and perlite. Water well.

Add a trellis or a tomato cage to help the cucumber plant grow up, not out. Water cucumbers thoroughly.

Green onions

Green onions, also called spring onions or salad onions, don’t need deep soil, making them perfect for bucket gardening. Sow onions half an inch deep into a bucket every few weeks from early spring through fall if you want a season-long supply.

Keep green onions watered in hot, dry weather.

Herbs

Kitchen herbs like mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage and thyme will thrive in a five-gallon bucket. You can let one plant spread and grow in one bucket.

Keep basil and coriander on your kitchen windowsill.

Lettuce

Most types of lettuce will grow very well in a five-gallon bucket. Plant as many as four heads per bucket.

Melons

Melons need space to grow so it’s best to plant only one melon plant per five-gallon bucket. Select dwarf bush varieties that will grow well in containers.

Okra

A single okra plant can grow well in a five-gallon bucket. Use well-drained soil and add holes in the buckets to make sure water is adequately draining as the plant grows.

Onions

Regular onions can be grown in buckets, but they need at least three inches of open soil around them to develop properly. Leave two to three onions per bucket.

Leave the bucket where it will receive plenty of light and fertilize regularly.

Peppers

Sweet peppers like Bell-Boy, Gypsy and Sweet Chocolate and hot pepper varieties such as Cubanelle, Jalapeno and Red Cherry grow best in buckets. Grow one plant per bucket.

Potatoes

Potatoes can grow in buckets because they need depth, not space.

Radishes

Plant at least 10 radish plants per five-gallon bucket. Sow the seeds about one inch deep and an inch apart. You can harvest the radishes after over a month. Re-sow for a continuous supply of radishes.

Swiss chard

Sow Swiss chard seeds an inch deep and thin out the seedlings as needed. Harvest regularly and cut away the outer leaves first.

Tomatoes

Cherry or bush tomatoes grow well in containers. Tomato plants require even watering.

Tomatoes are very susceptible to frost. Fertilize with high-potash fertilizer designed for tomatoes for better yield.

Support the plants with stakes or a cage as they grow. Water thoroughly but don’t leave puddles because the tomatoes will crack and split.

Zucchini

Zucchini plants need space to grow so choose compact zucchini varieties such as Eight Ball, Geode, Jackpot hybrid, or Raven.

Use food-grade buckets to grow vegetables in your own garden even if you don’t have a lot of space at home.

For more Home gardening tips Check out these awesome tips and tricks to start planning on how to grow your own garden with what you have.

How to grow lettuce in small spaces

Growing plants in a container is an awesome way for many people living in apartments or who have limited gradening spaces. It is also a good way to grow vegetation, as the containers can be brought indoors during the colder weather and left outdoors during spring.

Lettuce, a cool-season crop, develops best in cool but not chilling temperatures. Growing plants in containers also allows you to control weeds and pests more easily than in large gardening spaces. Not to mention, it affords you quick access to leaves for your salads.

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Choose the right container

Lettuce requires the right type of containers to plant them in. They need ample room for roots, but you can also grow several varieties in six to 12-inch pots. Lettuce can be grown in plastic or terra cotta planter pots, but you have plenty of other choices because they don’t require more than four inches of soil to anchor and thrive.

You can even grow lettuce in plastic gallon bottles that have openings on the sides. Buckets, large coffee cans without their lids, hanging baskets, boxes or even large plastic cups are all on the table. A four- to six-inch container can hold up to three lettuce plants.

Lettuce needs a consistent supply of moisture due to their water content, but it is important to note that they cannot tolerate wet roots, either.

Clay pots provide a permeable surface that allows excess water to evaporate. It also prevents soggy roots. Just make sure that there are adequate drainage holes in the type of container that you choose.

Use professional soil mix

Use professional soil mix for planting lettuce in containers. This mix is formulated to hold water and provide more nutrients for your vegetation. This mix is usually peat or compost soil, and has either vermiculite or perlite to help with water retention.

Depending on the size of your container, choose a lettuce mix labeled “cut and come again.” These offer repeat harvests. Other varieties that are good for small spaces include Black Seeded Simpson and the red or green oak leaf types. Moreover, loose-leaf lettuces are better suited for pots than head lettuce.

Growing lettuce in a container also needs attention and management. Planting lettuce in garden containers can be done by direct sowing or transplants. Once you have your soil ready, fill up your container almost to the top, leaving at least an inch of space for watering. Leave more at the top if you plan to mulch.

Transplanting lettuce heads

Before transplanting your lettuce heads, add half a tablespoon of time-release fertilizer per gallon of soil. Transplants should be buried a quarter of an inch deeper than they would be in garden soil and set six to 12 inches apart. Seeds can be sown when soils are not frozen at half an inch deep and four to 12 inches apart.

When growing lettuce in containers, always remember to water them. Lettuce has shallow roots and responds best to consistent shallow watering. Plants that are grown in the garden need at least an inch of water per week, but lettuce in pots needs a bit more.

Use a hydroponic system

You can also plant your lettuce using a hydroponic system. Start by using a storage bin that is at least 18 by 24 inches in size and holds up to 10 gallons of water or more. Mark eight evenly-spaced drill points on the lid and use a two-inch hole saw to drill holes in them. Add water until it is just one inch below the lid.

Mix the lettuce formula with two warm cups of water. Use a Masterblend Lettuce formula and Magnesium sulfate in the first cup and add calcium nitrate in the second cup. Follow the instructions on the packets for the best ratio. Stir until the chemicals fully dissolve. Add the mixes into the bin and stir.

Plant your seeds in a coco coir and place them over the holes of the container. Place outside or under grow lights. You should have lettuce in four to five weeks.

When harvesting, cut the outside leaves of loose lettuce when they are young. The leaves will then grow back and you can cut away the entire plant. Remember to cut them when they are tender as they are quick to “mature” and tend to become bitter.

Check out Gardening for more tips on planting in small spaces.

Common household materials that make good organic fertilizer

Organic gardening is a good move. And if fertilizers are ever in short supply or outrageously priced, you’ll have some readily available options from around the house you can use instead.

Why is fertilizer necessary?

Dead soil equals dead plants.

On the other hand, living soil is full of nutrients and organisms integral to garden health.

Plants need certain nutrients to live and grow. To get these nutrients, they take them out of the soil. As a result, nutrients in the soil are depleted and must be replaced somehow.

Companion planting and crop rotation are two ways to replenish nutrient-depleted soil. Fertilizer is another.

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What nutrients are needed in the soil for plant growth?

There are three main groups of nutrients that healthy garden plants need in the soil:

Primary nutrients (which plants need in large quantities): Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), and Potassium (K).

Secondary nutrients (which plants need in smaller quantities): Calcium (Ca), Magnesium (Mg), and Sulfur (S).

Micronutrients (which plants only need in trace amounts): Zinc (Zn), Iron (Fe), Boron (B), Manganese (Mn), Chlorine (Cl), and Molybdenum (Mo).

If a plant doesn’t receive these nutrients in the amounts they need, it won’t reach its full potential and may even die. So for your garden plants to be their best, a steady supply of plant food is a must.

What nutrients does MY soil need?

To know what your soil needs, you must test it. Otherwise, it’s just a guessing game that will likely result in money wasted on unnecessary fertilizers and plants that don’t develop to their potential.

Soil test kits for home use are readily available. Alternatively, contact a Cooperative Extension Office.

The results tell you what nutrients your soil lacks. This information, combined with what you want to plant, provides direction on the amount and type of fertilizer needed.

However, if the fertilizer you choose is potentially harming soil microorganisms while it’s replacing nutrients, well, you can see the problem.

What’s the difference between synthetic/chemical and organic fertilizers?

Short answer: Chemical and synthetic fertilizers feed the plant. Organic fertilizers feed the soil.

The advantages and disadvantages of synthetic/chemical fertilizers

Synthetic/chemical fertilizers are the fast food of the plant world. They’re designed to address the nutritional needs of the plant. The nutrients they put back into the soil are highly absorbable and contain specific nutrients in specific quantities.

However, they also have a lot of negative side effects.

For instance, they mess with the soil ecosystem; they’re typically quite acidic and hostile to beneficial microbes and other organisms. In addition, they’re harmful to people and pets, and they’re damaging to the environment.

As if that wasn’t enough, because they feed the plant, not the soil, they must be reapplied during the growing season unless using a time-released variety.

The advantages and disadvantages of organic fertilizers

On the other hand, organic fertilizers are part of the slow food movement. They have soil health uppermost in their minds, releasing nutrients over a more extended time. All those wonderful microbes and organisms we want living in our soil are more likely to thrive from a steady supply rather than bingeing. Soil structure and water retention can improve also.

It’s a matter of opinion whether the downsides to organic fertilizers are indeed disadvantages or just inconveniences.

For example, choosing organic is not a quick fix. It means you’re in it for the long haul. Some nutrients must be converted into a usable form for plants by those soil microbes. Concentrations are unlikely to be as high, and composition won’t be as precise as synthetic/chemical.

But like I said, these are only disadvantages if you’re looking for immediate results.

What materials can be used as organic fertilizer?

Here are some common materials that can make a great organic fertilizer. Some provide a very balanced mix of nutrients, and others will give you a few specific nutrients to target a deficiency. But, again, soil testing provides direction on your soil’s specific needs.

  • Material from compost supplies your garden with a very good mix of the nutrients it needs. It’s the single best thing you can do for your garden. For best results, make sure you add both green materials (things like kitchen scraps, which are high in nitrogen) and brown material (things like dried leaves and shredded cardboard, which are high in carbon).
  • Worm composting is a cool variation on the traditional compost heap. Adding certain worms to your compost helps break down the organic material faster. A regular compost heap might take months, but a worm composter takes mere weeks.
  • Chicken droppings don’t have to be just a smelly mess. Droppings can be an effective, reasonably balanced organic fertilizer for your garden. Don’t let this valuable resource go to waste if you have chickens as pets!
  • Coffee grounds sprinkled onto your soil supply nitrogen, potassium, and magnesium. Dry them first. Remember, though, that it could alter the pH of your soil. Ask for free coffee grounds at Starbucks or other coffee shops.
  • Ash from your fireplace dusted on soil contributes potassium and calcium carbonate. This, too, could change the pH of your soil.
  • Epsom salt supplies magnesium and sulfate to the soil. This is especially important with tomatoes, potatoes, and roses.
  • Powdered eggshells sprinkled onto your soil increase calcium carbonate (also known as “lime”). You can find eggshells that can be shipped to your door here.
  • Mix seaweed and water and let it sit for a few months to create a fertilizer high in potassium. You can also get some seaweed that is ready for your garden now.
  • Pine needles supply nitrogen. They also could alter the pH of the soil.

Why is soil pH important?

The pH of your garden soil determines the availability of nutrients for plants. If the soil pH is off, plants may show a deficiency in a nutrient even if that nutrient is in the soil. This is because the plant can’t access it because of the pH.

Whether a fertilizer raises or lowers soil pH depends on the soil’s original condition. For example, an item with a pH close to neutral, like used coffee grounds, will increase the pH of alkaline soil but decrease the pH of acidic soil.

Remember that soil testing kit I mentioned earlier? It’s your friend.

A Cheaper, Easier, Healthier Option

Using these everyday items as plant food for your soil is a cheap and easy alternative to synthetic chemical versions. In addition, choosing organic fertilizer is a small way to help to make the world a healthier place.

However, fertilizing is just one piece of the gardening puzzle. To learn what all the pieces are and how they combine to help you prepare for and create your best garden yet, check out these gardening tips here: GARDENING TIPS: 10 WAYS TO IMPROVE SOIL FERTILITY

What kind of organic fertilizer do you prefer?

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