How to Plant A Vegetable (Bucket) Garden

Not everybody has a yard big enough for a veggie garden, but I’m pretty sure everyone has a hardware store and garden center nearby, and that means you can pick up what you need for a veggie bucket garden! That’s right, screw the ground…where straight up planting veggies in a bucket and it’s easy, cheap, and beyond rewarding. Personally, nothing comes close to the feeling you get when you walk outside and pluck a juicy plump ruby-red cherry tomato off the vine of a tomato plant you grew…yourself…from seed…in a bucket.


Difficulty: EASY
Time: 35 mins (4 buckets)
Cost: ~$20

Get yourself:

  • 5 Gallon bucket(s)
  • Garden soil for vegetable gardens
  • Manure & Humus
  • River pebbles
  • Phillips screwdriver or drill
  • Seeds (I planted Tomato, Cucumber, Zucchini)
  • Tomato cage(s)
  • Gardening shovel
  • Garden gloves
  • Plastic knives
  • Sharpie marker

Let’s get to plantin’…

Grab some 5 Gallon buckets

They’re (dirt) cheap…like $3 ea.

Poke some holes in the bottom of the bucket, not too many or the water will drain right out…

Do like 10

(I know there are more than 10 holes, I effed up and my plant lost too much water…I had to replant in another bucket with fewer hole…live and learn)

Excess water drains out and roots don’t rot

Bag of this rock is cheap like $5

Used to aid in water drainage

Fill up the bottom 2″ of bucket with river pebbles

Garden soil

That’s a 2 cu. ft. bag – ~$6

I made 4 buckets and only used half the bag

Fill bucket ~3/4 full of garden soil

Pure nutrients – ~$4

A little goes a long way

I only used half the bag

Add manure and humus to almost fill the remaining .25 of the bucket

Break up any chunks of soil and manure

Mix to combine everything

Dig a small well in center of soil

Drop a few seeds in well

Cover well with soil

Put on glove, make a fist, and lightly flatten soil all the way around the bucket

Drop the seed packet on top so you don’t forget what you planted

Move on and assemble your other buckets

Genius idea…

Grab a plastic knife and sharpie


Stick in the soil like you just usurped some foreign territory

Basic Care

  1. Water thoroughly
  2. Place in full sun
  3. Buckets dry out quickly so water often
  4. Check for bugs and bug damage. Use a natural insecticide if you have to

My buckets…

Beefsteak tomato, cherry tomato, and 8 Ball zucchini

Don’t forget to pop that tomato cage in the tomato bucket(s)


7 responses to “How to Plant A Vegetable (Bucket) Garden

  1. bucket planting is the best idea!!who needs farm equipment,not to mention ho’ing this is the best way!!!

  2. Christine Kaakau

    I’m a beginner gardener and would like to know how many different vegetables can I grow in one bucket? What are some good suggestions to start with?

    • Hey Christine-

      It depends on what you’re growing, but I would do companion planting (eg, plant a tomato with basil or parsley) and keep big, demanding plants separate – a tomato and a cucumber shouldn’t be in the same pot. If you buy a larger container (perhaps an old whiskey barrel cut in half – they sell them at Lowe’s/Home Depot) you should be able to fit more variety, but a 5GAL will only accommodate a vegetable and maybe an herb at best. Thanks for stopping by DBG!

  3. Great to to the point information.
    Good idea to add pricing and pics.
    Good luck and have a great growing season.

  4. What a great idea! I just gave up on the idea of trying to grow plants in pots but this seems like a really good system.

  5. What a great post. I live in a very small apartment, and my husband and I are always trying to think of ways to grow our own fresh produce. This post will be a perfect project for us. Thank you for taking the time to share.

  6. Great idea using the buckets, I never thought of that. I just spent $6 each on large plastic planters for my garden. Anyway best of luck with the garden Joe. Also if your feeling adventurous, pick up some jalepeno plants and make homemade poppers out of them all summer long. I’ve got a recipe for you if interested. They are amazing.

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