Join THE #gardenchat!
BWS tips button
Home Kitchen Garden

Follow me on Twitter: @cityslipper

My Book!

I wrote a book about preserving food. The same step-by-step instruction and full-color photos you find in my blog. Buy it at Yes, You Can 

Links to planters at selected vendors:



Sprouts is a terrific source for certified organic seeds intended for home sprouting. Dress up salads, stir-fry, sandwiches, spreads, and other dishes with homegrown sprouts of all kinds. Follow this link to order your sampler or to find home sprouting kits.


Small Kitchen Garden Store





Posts Tagged ‘plastic bucket’

Flexible Plastic Containers in my Small Kitchen Garden

Have you seen these flexible plastic buckets in your local department or gardening store? I did some math and found that they hold up to severn and a half gallons. They seem to be sun-tolerant, and the handles make them easy to move around on a deck or patio during growing season.

I’m always experimenting with low-cost, simple ways to extend my small kitchen garden. One of my greatest frustrations has been the expense of buying or building planters to handle vegetables with large root systems. Cheap, durable planters that hold five or more gallons of soil typically cost $15 or more, and it’s common to find prices over $35.

Thankfully, lower-cost products have emerged in recent years. Grow Bags are “pots” made out of material that resembles plastic garbage bags. Depending on how many you buy at once, you could pay as little as 20 cents apiece for these bags in the five-gallon size. They are free-standing and hold their shapes when you fill them with soil.

Slightly Upscale Plant Containers

I appreciate the low cost of Grow Bags, and might use them for gardening in spaces where there isn’t a lot of traffic or where I can hide them from view. A company called The Seed Keeper Company produces a “burlap girdle” you can wrap around a grow bag to provide some eye appeal, and you’ll have a five gallon planter that costs under $10… not bad.

These flexible plastic buckets are water-tight, so I drilled five quarter-inch holes in mine before I filled them with potting soil.

But three years ago, I started noticing flexible plastic “all-purpose” buckets (with handles) in local department stores. In season, these usually go for $5, and they hold seven and a half gallons if you fill them to the rim. One display for these containers showed them holding canned or bottled drinks in ice, or tools for gardening… but typically there’s just a stack of nested buckets with that $5 price tag. In early winter, our local Walmart usually drops the price to $4.

I’ve bought three buckets to try as planters and they work pretty well.

Gardening in a Bucket

Clearly, whoever manufactured this $4 bucket didn’t intend it to be a planter; it doesn’t have drainage holes. Before I planted, I drilled five holes in each bucket using a ¼ inch bit. I filled each bucket with commercial potting soil, and planted as I would in a garden… one planter received five bell pepper plants, and another I planted with carrot seeds (I’ll tell the carrot story in an upcoming post).

The buckets spent most of each summer day in direct sunlight—when there was sunlight (it was a very rainy year). They performed as you’d hope for a seven-gallon planter, and looked pretty much unmarred by the season. In October, the buckets were flexible and strong; I was able to lift them by their handles without trouble. Based on that experience, I would recommend them to anyone looking for a vaguely attractive low-priced container for deck or patio plants.

Five bell pepper plants in six gallons of soil might have been pushing it a bit; I’ve found a two-gallon planter is pretty good for a single pepper plant. So, next season I might plant my flexible plastic buckets with only three pepper plants apiece. Incidentally: If you want to get an early start on peppers, set seedlings outside in containters three or four weeks before your last frost date, and lug them into your garage, back hallway, or garden shed when overnight lows head toward freezing.

But there’s more: Last week I carried one of my buckets across the yard and dumped stuff out of it. With the bucket empty, I dropped one handle so the weight of the empty bucket transferred entirely onto just one handle. At that moment, the bucket snapped off of its handle and fell to the ground!

What changed from October until now? The temperature dropped. Apparently, when these flexible plastic buckets get cold—I’m talking about 24F degrees cold—they get brittle.

For now, I’m sticking with the recommendation: for $4 or $5 apiece, these utility buckets make great planters if you put holes in the bottom. I did some research and found that they come from a company in China called Ningbo Bonny E-Home Co, and chances are you won’t find a brand name on the bucket itself. Bonny apparently makes the buckets out of recycled plastic which makes them more appealing to me. I’ve found them at Walmart and Big Lots, and I suspect they’re available at other department and garden stores as well.

If you decide to try some of these flexible plastic buckets in your kitchen garden, try not to use them when the temperature drops.


Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Subscribe… a reader:     

...via eMail:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


contests & sweeps for moms
Contests & Sweepstakes


Business Directory for Lewisburg, Pennsylvania