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Bucket gardening??

Discussion in 'Fruits & Vegetables' started by secuono, Oct 6, 2015.

  1. Oct 6, 2015
    secuono

    secuono Garden Addicted

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    My garden always starts out nice, but the weeds soon get to be too much and I end up letting things go wild. :\

    I want to try the 3 or 5 gallon bucket gardening. I will put cinder blocks down, then wood boards, to be long benches for the buckets. Buckets will have drain holes. How many holes are needed if they are 1/2-1" in size?

    What plants can successfully grow in these buckets?

    How many plants per bucket?

    I am guessing 1 plant for tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli.
    Maybe 2 for peppers.

    Can cucumbers, watermelons and pumpkins grow in containers?
    I would assume I would need wider ones, say, containers that are about 1ft deep and 2 or 3ft squared. And plant 1-4 plants in them.
    Or is this unrealistic? If so, what kind of weed barrier can I use so that the area will be weed free? I need something reusable and thick.

    Corn would be planted normally.

    I picked up 3 strawberry plants, they are in the ground. Can I dig them up in spring and also grow them in 3 gallon buckets? Will they need to be brought into the house so they don't freeze and die? Heck, the ones I planted, will they freeze and die in the ground??

    Also. What do I do with this year's soil that was in the raised beds? The tomatoes spread all over, some tomatoes rotted and the seeds are in the soil.
    Can I pile up all the soil and hope it composts over winter or will that not be enough time? How long do I need to let it sit to compost before weed seeds and stray veggie seeds are cooked and no longer viable?

    Anyone have pictures of their bucket gardens?

    Thanks all!
     
  2. Oct 7, 2015
    dickiebird

    dickiebird Garden Addicted

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    Along with my formal garden I do a lot of bucket gardening.
    I use, mostly, 5 gal buckets filled with my compost from chickens and donkeys.
    They have 4 1/2" holes drilled about 2" up from base of bucket.
    I refill these each spring with fresh compost and by the end of growing season they have compacted down to 2/3 of their original volume, I don't add any compost over the growing season.
    I plant 1 tomato or eggplant in each bucket and a couple of peppers.
    I've also grown horse radish, basel, spearmint and onions in containers.
    Never tried cukes, pumpkins or watermelons in containers.
    Strawberries won't make it outside over the winter in containers but they are fine if left in the ground.

    I've never done raised beds but I don't think I'd remove this years soil, I'd just cover it with more compost to refill the beds.
    Over the winter I'd cover what is in the beds with some black plastic to kill off any weeds ect, then next spring I'd uncover the beds and just amend the soil with fresh compost.

    THANX RICH
     
    secuono likes this.
  3. Oct 7, 2015
    secuono

    secuono Garden Addicted

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    I want to reuse the raised bed soil, since I am giving up on them and doing buckets instead.
     
  4. Oct 7, 2015
    so lucky

    so lucky Garden Master

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    @secuono, you can suppress weeds in your raised beds by laying down newspaper or cardboard, then straw on top. This will decompose over the year and add to the soil friability. The more straw you add, the better moisture retention you have.
    You can use the same method in buckets, I would think.
     
  5. Oct 7, 2015
    ninnymary

    ninnymary Garden Master

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    I would think growing in raised beds would be easier to grow things than in buckets. I grow things in containers but they are much bigger than 5 gal. buckets. My smallest are those 15 gal. black nursery pots that trees come in. I usually fill my containers with potting soil and then each year after just add lots of compost to them. I periodically fertilize them with fish emulsion with kelp.

    Mary
     
  6. Oct 7, 2015
    bills

    bills Deeply Rooted

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    An excellent book with advice on how many plants of a particular type can successfully be planted in a small area, is "The Square Foot Gardener" by Mel Bartholomew
    It wasn't written for container planting in particular, but I would think many of the same factors would apply.
    I have grown garlic, shallots, chives, runner beans, and even spuds in containers before, but in the hot weather you really have to stay on top of the watering, as they dry out so quickly.

    After years of having an open garden concept, I unfortunately introduced a horrible weed, when I added some Sea soil, of which I had purchased a truckload.
    It was impossible to stay organic, and keep up with this weed. Both of us worked at removing it, but we just couldn't keep up in a garden the size we have, so I decided to build raised beds.
    [​IMG]

    This way, I could cover all the walkways between the veggie beds, first with lumber tarp, which I then covered in course cedar chips, to prevent the weed from sprouting. The beds I made of natural cedar planks, most of which were 3 or 4 foot wide, and 6 to 8 foot in length. The beds are so much easier to weed, then the open concept I had. I could finally pull it faster then it sprouted up. Each morning I could sit on a stool and weed an entire bed, or two, before the back started to ache. After just one growing season I had virtually eliminated it.

    Now with the smaller beds, I can't plant near the number of plants that I used to, in the open row concept. I believe that my production per plant is equal though, because the weed isn't robbing the plants of nourishment any longer. I am no longer selling at the farmers markets, or doing gate sales, so I really don't need the larger volume anyways.

    In the fall I mix green chicken poop in the beds, and add compost in the early spring a few weeks before planting. That, and rotating crops to different beds each year, seems to be working very well. I don't rotate my rhubarb, or my asparagus beds, but top dressing them with chicken poop every fall seems to work well at keeping them both thriving.

    The only thing where growing in smaller raised beds has frustrated me, is growing corn. It would take up a lot of beds to grow the amounts I was used to with an open garden.
    I am working on a solution for that. I was thinking of simply having a long, long bed, similar to what I did for my asparagus. At 4 feet wide and 25 feet long, I should still be able to get a decent harvest from it. Heck I could even put two long beds side by side. If I mulched the beds good with straw, I could reduce the weed pulling.
    I may do this with my strawberry's as well, as currently I have them in several separate smaller beds. Production for them has really dropped doing it this way, but then I used to have an open strawberry bed, that was 25 by 25 foot. Unfortunately it too, became impossible to keep up with the weeds.
     
  7. Oct 7, 2015
    catjac1975

    catjac1975 Garden Master

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    Egg plant grow better in a pot then in the ground.
     
  8. Oct 7, 2015
    secuono

    secuono Garden Addicted

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    Weeds easily came through the layers of cardboard and other weeds crawled over.
    Also a ton of work to weed in the fall and get things ready for next year and mowing is a major pain.
    I'll leave one bed for the potatoes, but thinking of moving most everything else into buckets.
    I can just move the buckets along a fence for winter and mow. Or when still small, move them around to mow under.

    Well, sold a piglet today and used some of the money to buy 10 buckets.

    2015-10-07 16.40.45.jpg
     
    HunkieDorie23 likes this.
  9. Oct 7, 2015
    secuono

    secuono Garden Addicted

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    Did the math, will need 60 buckets for the same # of plants I had growing this year.
     
  10. Oct 7, 2015
    bobm

    bobm Garden Addicted

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    At least on my ranch in the high desert of Central Cal. ... growing vegetables in a bucket would require me to water them 2-3 times per day from late Feb. to mid Oct. as we get virtually a tiny bit of light rain or none at all. Summer temps. are up to 103*- 117* highs in the Summer days and cool off to 99* at night . currently Cal. is in a horrible drought- creeks, streams are running dry, reservoirs are 10-20 % of capacity and wells are running dry . Entire vegy crops as well as many orchards have no water to irrigate them . So ........... not a good idea to grow vegys in a bucket :he
     

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