Do you live in an apartment or a house with a small backyard? Have you always wanted a garden but don’t have enough space? There’s a solution: Bucket gardening. All you need are some 5-gallon buckets, rocks, peat moss, planting soil, and compost. That might sound like a lot, but it’s actually very simple.
Not only is bucket gardening a great solution for people with limited space, it also has many advantages over traditional gardening. You can have a greater variety of plants, you won’t have to do any weeding, and you’ll have fewer pests deal with. Here are some other benefits of container gardening.
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If you decide to give it a try, the first thing you need to ask yourself what you’re going to grow. Beginners should always start with very easy plants. It will boost their confidence and give them valuable practice before they move on to more difficult plants.
Here’s a list of 25 fruits and veggies you can grow in buckets, grouped by difficulty.
Arugula isn’t a particularly well-known plant, but its sweet and spicy flowers along with its spicy leaves have made it a favorite among many gardeners. Best of all, arugula is quite easy to grow in a bucket, as it doesn’t require any more space than the average herb plant.
If you would like to learn more about growing arugula in a bucket, check out this article.
Chard is a leafy green from the same family as beets. It grows similar to lettuce, but it has a slightly longer growing season. It is cold hardy and can bolt if your summer is too hot. It is also a good double season crop for spring and fall. If you decide to grow beets, you could skip the chard since beet greens are nearly identical to chard.
If you would like to learn more about growing chard in a bucket, check out this video:
3. Chinese Greens
Bok choi or sui choi are two fun cold weather greens, perfect for an early spring start or a late fall and winter garden. These two greens are awesome in stir fry and are easy to grow. Once the weather warms up, these greens will bolt but the flower heads still taste good and can add a powerful spice punch to salads.
If you would like to learn more about growing Chinese greens in a bucket, check out this video:
Any brassica can be grown in pots, but kale is the easiest since it doesn’t have to form anything other than nice fresh leaves. Kale can be grown throughout the year, but it tastes best after it has had a touch of frost.
Lettuce is a prime choice for container gardening with plenty of varieties to choose from. Lettuce works well in shallow containers, and if you want you can inter-plant it with slower growing veggies. Lettuce is great for early spring and late fall harvesting. You can plant lettuce while there is still danger of frost, and plant again in the fall after it starts getting cool. You can even bring your lettuce pots indoors to extend the growing season into early winter.
If you would like to learn more about growing lettuce in a bucket, check out this article.
Peppers come in many shapes, sizes, and flavors, giving you plenty of choices to choose from. As a shallow-rooted plant, peppers typically do quite well when grown in containers. Ultimately, the variety of pepper that you choose depends on how much spice you are looking for. Whichever variety you go with, though, you shouldn’t have many issues growing a healthy pepper plant in a 5-gallon bucket.
If you would like to learn more about growing peppers in a bucket, check out this article.
Beets are similar to chard, but they need deeper soil and more watering. Beets are an awesome root vegetable for containers. Choose smaller beet varieties, or heritage varieties to have the most fun in your container garden. If you’d rather not eat beets because of their overpowering red effects, you could try yellow or albino beets.
If you would like to learn more about growing beets in a bucket, check out this article.
Broccoli feeds more heavily than many plants, meaning that it needs a little more space to grow than you might realize. However, a five gallon bucket offers plenty of space for growing a single broccoli plant. The two broccoli varieties that do the best when grown in containers are DeCicco and green comet broccoli.
If you would like to learn more about growing broccoli in a bucket, check out this article.
Easy to grow, and in a container they are very easy to space out or even transplant to make sure they grow well. Choose smaller varieties that do not grow a super long taproot and try to match the variety to the depth of container you are using. Heritage varieties are often sweeter, and smaller than standard varieties. Try Dragon for a fun purple and brilliant orange carrot.
If you would like to learn more about growing carrots in a bucket, check out this video:
Figs are one of the few plants that actually grow better in a container since fig plants grow larger, better fruit when their root systems are restricted. Figs are also known for being quite hardy plants that are fairly simple to grow.
If you would like to learn more about growing figs in a bucket, check out this article.
Onions are simple to grow and make a great addition to many recipes and salads. The only real difficulty that you may encounter with growing onions in a bucket is having enough space to grow a worthwhile amount of onions. With enough buckets, though, it’s fairly easy to grow a good amount of onions. Try out one of the candy hybrid varieties if you are looking for a sweeter, more flavorful onion to grow.
If you would like to learn more about growing onions in a bucket, check out this article.
Quick to grow and a perfect spring crop to round out your green salads. Choose small short-season radishes so that they come to maturity before the heat hits. French Breakfast and Easter Egg are two brilliant colored small radish varieties that are awesome to grow if you have kids.
If you would like to learn more about growing radishes in a bucket, check out this article.
For container gardening, choose bush been varieties. They have a shorter grow time than pole beans, and are compact enough for any yard. Most bush bean plants max out size at a foot square, and produce well throughout the season. If you have a porch railing and narrow containers at its foot, you could try some pole bean varieties as well.
If you would like to learn more about growing beans in a bucket, check out this video:
Most cucumbers are vining plants, so either choose bush varieties for your container garden or practice vertical gardening and train them up the side of the house, porch, or deck. Lemon Cucumber is an awesome little bush cucumber, and works well if you have a short season.
If you would like to learn more about growing cucumbers in a bucket, check out this article.
Eggplant plants share a lot of similarities with squash in regards to both the plant’s root system and the size of the fruit that it produces, making eggplant another great choice for bucket gardening. A couple great eggplant varieties to consider include little finger and fairy tale eggplants.
If you would like to learn more about growing eggplants in a bucket, check out this article.
Another lovely spring plant, peas grow best during the cool of spring or during the cool lightly frosted days of fall. Choose edible pod varieties to get the most food from your plants. If it is too warm for peas to come to full fruition, you can try using pea plants as a green. Pea plants are awesome fresh when the plant is just two inches high, and it’s a perfect way to enjoy peas if your spring gets too warm for them to fruit.
If you would like to learn more about growing peas in a bucket, check out this article.
Summer squash, bush zucchini, and other small squashes can work in container gardens. Bush zucchini and summer squash require fairly deep, nutrient-rich soil, but only take up about 4 square feet. Just having two zucchini plants can give you more than enough zucchini for a summer. Vining squash are not recommended for container gardens, unless you have a large patio or outdoor area for them to cover.
If you would like to learn more about growing squash in a bucket, check out this video:
Probably the container planting go-to crop, tomatoes are ubiquitous in containers. Choose smaller plant varieties if your container garden space is limited. Cherry tomatoes are stunning producers, and the tiny tomatoes are easy to dry if the plants over-produce. Cherry tomatoes usually fruit sooner than the larger tomato varieties.
If you would like to learn more about growing tomatoes in a bucket, check out this video:
Blueberries do grow well in containers, but they are known for being a somewhat difficult plant to grow regardless of whether or not they are planted in a container. Blueberries require plenty of water, lots of sunlight, and acidic soil. If you give them these three things, though, it is entirely possible to grow a healthy, productive blueberry plant in a bucket.
If you would like to learn more about growing blueberries in a bucket, check out this article.
Cherry trees are short trees with a small root system, making them ideal for growing in a bucket. Most sweet varieties of cherries will require a good deal of sunlight, while most sour varieties do better in the shade, so it is important to understand what type of cherry tree you are planting.
If you would like to learn more about growing cherries in a bucket, check out this article.
Yes, lemons can be grown in containers, or indoors in climates that are too cold for outdoor growing. Meyer lemons are the smallest variety, more of a bush, and grow exceptionally well in pots. You can start your own lemon tree from seed. You can also try other citrus like kumquats, or mini oranges for container or indoor growing.
If you would like to learn more about growing lemons in a bucket, check out this article.
Melons are large fruits with equally large root systems, which means that growing them in buckets can sometimes be a challenge. With that said, it is entirely possible to grow many varieties of melons in buckets if you use the right approach. If this is your first attempt at growing melons in buckets, try sticking with smaller melon varieties such as cantaloupes and miniature watermelons.
If you would like to learn more about growing melons in a bucket, check out this video:
These lovely root veggies need one of two things, either a deep container or a potato bag. Potato bags enable you to grow a good amount of potatoes in a very limited space, and you don’t even need seed potatoes to start your plants. If you have potatoes that have started to sprout, you can simply plant them. As soon as the potato plant starts to flower, you can start sneaking potatoes.
If you would like to learn more about growing potatoes in a bucket, check out this video:
Raspberries come in both summer and fall-fruiting varieties, meaning that you can enjoy a harvest that is months long if you plant the right plants. However, it is worth noting that summer-fruiting raspberry plants tend to do better in containers since they are smaller, less bushy plants.
If you would like to learn more about growing raspberries in a bucket, check out this video:
These are an awesome container plant, particularly if you get a strawberry tower or similar contraption to help maximize space. Grow everbearing for steady harvesting from July onward, or try a mixed planter of different varieties. If you get a variety with runners, you can also catch the runners in small pots and perpetuate your supply of strawberry plants. A strawberry plant usually has a productive life of three or four years.
If you would like to learn more about growing strawberries in a bucket, check out this article.
I know, it’s a lot of information to absorb. Your best is to pick just a few fruits and veggies that are easy to grow and that you really like and start there. Check out this guide to growing food in buckets.
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