Thursday, June 13, 2013

Grow Tomatoes In 5 Gallon Buckets

I started seeds indoors several months ago, but they were really slow growing, so I went out and bought a few larger plants so we could have tomatoes sooner.  I put the small tomato plants outside in larger containers and they have grown up pretty well. 

Problem is....I ran out of space. I only have one 4 x 8 raised bed in our North garden set aside for tomatoes and 6 tomato plants are already planted in them . 

So, what to do...what to do.

Choice one is to give the extra plants away.
Uh, in my neighborhood, that's not going to happen. 
Seems vegetable gardens are, uh, not too popular.

Choice two is to just throw them away...but I just couldn't do that.

growing tomatoes, diy design fanatic, burlap

Choice three
Plant them in 5 gallon buckets.

To do this you just need to
1:  drill 4 holes in the bottom of each bucket.
2: add good soil. I used 1/3 compost and  2/3rds dirt
3: add some crushed egg shells and a little Epsom salt to the hole where you plant the tomato.

Plain plastic buckets are NOT going to cut it  if you live in a neighborhood with an HOA and I don't want to look like, well, that I'm growing tomatoes in buckets.

I just happen to have some burlap, so I cut a piece and wrapped it around the bucket and safety pinned the back. 

4: wrap your plastic bucket in burlap

Doesn't it look better than a plain white plastic bucket?
growing tomatoes, diy Design Fanatic, burlap

I think so!
diy Design Fanatic, growing tomatoes, burlap, tomatoes

Add a stake or tomato cage to the plastic bucket to hold up the plant when it gets big.

If all goes well, we'll get a few juicy tomatoes out of this experiment. That is, if the squirrels, deer and other critters don't get them first.

Have you ever grown tomatoes in 5 gallon buckets?
Please share!
If you'd like to see how we built some great looking planter boxes, you can see them HERE.
wood planter boxes, garden, vegetable garden, grow veggies in planter boxes, container gardening



  1. Love the idea of the buckets, it looks great. We havn't grown in buckets, but ours are going wild in the garden. Tons of tomatoes. Hugs, Marty

  2. That is a great idea Pam!! I grew some patio tomatoes years ago, but not lately. I'm just getting some plants in the ground believe it or not.

  3. I've grown standard indeterminate tomatoes in plastic pots that were just a bit larger. They can become potbound, but you should get a pretty good yield. As for the critters, especially the deer, try some Milorganite sprinkled on the ground around the planters and some around the plant itself, of course. It's made from the poo of the people of Milwaukee, and in my experience is a great fertilizer as well as a deterrent. I just got some more at Pike Nurseries so I know you can get it there.

  4. This is such a coincidence...I planted three tomatoes in a huge pot today as I have very little sun in most parts of my backyard. I have them on the patio which gets a lot of sun. I planted marigolds around them to keep the bugs away and make the pot look pretty. I tie them up in intervals as they get tall and then pinch the centers of the leaves when they are really tall and then they stop growing up.

    Your burlap idea is wonderful. That would look really cute on just about any pot! We have a squirrel problem here, they snatch the tomatoes off the plants, decide they don't like them and leave them with bite marks all over the yard. Maybe with the pot so close to the house they will leave them alone.

    How is your garden coming along this year? I haven't seen you post in awhile.


    1. Chicken wire wrapped around bucket would stop the squirrels. I also use netting to stop birds from pecking on them.

  5. My parents grew tomatoes in buckets. I never thought it would work but it was great.

  6. Wonderful idea Pam... no, you just CAN'T throw that kind of thing away! I've started some perrenials from seed this spring and oh my, it is taking forever. I'm just not that patient! Well, they are just about ready to go in the ground, but now I have my chipmunk problem! Have to cover them with netting and spray regularly. We will see!

  7. Great idea! I love their burlap cozies too. :)

  8. I tried growing in 5g buckets here in Arizona. They worked OK from Feb - Mar . But when the sun beat down on the buckets all day it tended cook the roots quite well. The burlap would be a good way to beat the heat - thanks

  9. I grow them in buckets each summer at the top of my driveway as it gets the best sunlight throughout the day. I finally realized (after 2 summers)that the heat from the blacktop driveway was "cooking" the plant and they didn't produce well and died. I found a wooden pallet and put the buckets on the wooden pallet which allowed air to circulate around the plant and not bake it in the bucket. I think as long as its not in direct contact with the driveway anything that lifts it up would work well (bricks, cinder blocks or wooden blocks).


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