Alliance Bank in Sulphur Springs

Growing Vegetables In 5 Gallon Buckets From Master Gardener David Wall

April 3, 2024 – Whether lack of garden room, sick of a large garden, unable to bend over to pick fruit, or just want a few peppers, tomatoes or cucumbers, consider growing the plants in 5-gallon buckets. They’re low maintenance (easy watering and fertilizing), higher above ground, and virtually weed free.

The depth and circumference can support the roots for any pepper plant. A stake, trellis or cage is still necessary, but you probably already have those items.

Peppers don’t do well in cool soil, but the above ground bucket warms quickly in the sun, meaning you can get started sooner. If an unexpected cold front is due, simply move the bucket into the garage!

OK, some preparatory work is needed. First, make sure the bucket contains no contaminants. Then, drill 5-6 ½” holes in the bottom and two in the lower inch of the side in case the bottom holes get plugged. If the bucket is plastic, don’t use much pressure, or you’ll crack it. Get 3-4 small bricks or other suitable material for the bucket to sit on. Drainage often becomes a problem when the buck sits directly on the ground.

Some like to add wood chips or pea gravel in the bucket first to help drainage. With bricks mentioned above, I’ve never had a drainage problem. Now fill the bucket to within 1” from the top with quality growing medium. Do NOT tamp it down! The are numerous products available, but since I grow in pure compost, I just use that.

Buckets require regular watering more often than usual, and fertilizing is mandatory unless you’re using pure compost. Bucket color is your choice, no dark colors are recommended, as their heat absorption can cause soil overheating during mid-late summer.

At end of season, the soil is depleted. Get rid of it.

Author: Matt Janson

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