5 gallon bucket indoor grow

How To Grow In 5 Gallon Buckets – A Simple Way To Garden Anywhere!

A few weeks back, we wrote an article on the blog about growing vegetables and flowers in 5 gallon buckets using our new DIY 5 gallon bucket planter boxes.

And have we ever been bombarded with questions on how to grow plants in 5 gallon buckets!

With more people than ever looking to grow more of their own food this year, growing in 5 gallon buckets is a great way to go. Especially if you are short on growing space, time – or both!

Our article on 5 gallon bucket planter boxes spurred on a lot of questions about how to grow in 5 gallon buckets.

Even better, growing in buckets virtually eliminates weeding. And best of all, “cleaning” up the garden at the end of the season requires simply dumping your bucket in the compost bin!

So with all of the recent interest, here is a look at the secrets to success to grow in 5 gallon buckets.

Growing In 5 Gallon Buckets

The 5 gallon bucket is actually a perfect vessel for growing vegetables and annuals. At 14 inches high, and 12″ in diameter, it allows plenty of room for deep, wide roots.

And compared to the cost of expensive containers, it’s hard to beat the $3 to $4 price tag of a 5 gallon bucket. Not to mention, they can often even be found for free. They can also be turned into inexpensive, attractive planter boxes with ease!! (See: Homemade 5 Gallon Bucket Planters)

And turning 5 gallon buckets into a planter couldn’t be easier. Here is a look at the simple steps to create your own instant bucket garden:

#1 Create Drainage Holes

To grow in 5 gallon buckets, you need to first create a few drainage holes. Nothing will kill a plant faster than plants sitting in water.

For our grow buckets, we create drainage holes in the bottom base, and on the sides of the bottom. This allows excess water to drain off quickly when too much water enters the bucket.

Drilling Holes

To make our holes, we use a 1/2″ drill bit. We start by drilling 4 evenly spaced holes in the base of the bucket.

Next, we then drill 4 more holes evenly spaced around the sides at the bottom end of the container. We drill these about (1) one inch up from the bottom.

These holes protect the water from pooling up into the roots during hard rains or excessive watering. Especially if one or more of the bottom holes become plugged.

Adding Drainage Material To The Bottom Of The Bucket

The next step is to add in a few inches of drainage material to the bottom of your bucket. There are two major benefits to this step:

First and foremost, it prevents the bottom drainage holes from becoming plugged. But at the same time, it also helps conserve on the potting soil needed to fill the bucket.

For our drainage material, we always opt for lightweight pine barn or hardwood bark nuggets.

Although rocks or gravel can be used, the bark nuggets keep the bucket from becoming too heavy. In addition, the rough edges of the material provides plenty of channels and space for air and water to flow with ease.

Filling The Buckets With The Right Growing Soil

Once your bucket is drilled and filled with a bit of drainage material, it’s time add soil. And the soil you choose to use is critical to your overall growing success!

Container soil needs to be lightweight, healthy and fertile. Ordinary top soil or garden soil simply won’t work. It is far too heavy, making it hard for plants to absorb nutrients or drain well.

We make our own homemade potting soil from simple organic ingredients. (See : How To Make The Perfect Homemade Potting Soil)

There are also many high quality potting soil mixes on the market that will work well. The key is to make sure they are lightweight and full of nutrients.

Supporting Plants

Finally, the last key to success is to provide support for plants that need it. Large vegetables like tomatoes and peppers need a stake or trellis to keep plants upright.

The stakes can go directly in the buckets, or buckets can be located near a fence or trellis to support plants as they grow.

Our new planter boxes going in at the farm. These quad bucket planters hold (4) 5 gallon buckets, and can be created with simple 2 x 4’s.

We attach our trellises to our planter boxes. It makes quick work of securing plants. The DIY boxes have been a huge hit on the blog this year – they can be built with a few 2 x 4’s and make an attractive planter for the 5 gallon buckets. (See : DIY Planter Box Plans)

Here is to growing in 5 gallon buckets! Happy Gardening – Jim and Mary

The 5 gallon bucket is the perfect vessel for growing vegetables and annuals. See the simple steps to set up and grow in 5 gallon buckets!

5 Gallon buckets too big for indoor grow?

Well-Known Member

4 1/2ft by 4 1/2ft . Its ceiling height. I’ve got a 600 watt HPS and 600 watt MH. 5 Ice 1 Burmese Kush and 1 Kushage.

Will they get too big for my room in 5 gallon buckets?Gonna veg for a total of 2 months. Have a little over a month left. I”m looking to transplant soon.
Could I go bigger than 5gallons buckets with the setup I have? How much bigger.

Thanks in advance

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Well-Known Member

I would suggest 3 or 4 gallon buckets. 5 gallon buckets are nice but might be over kill. I think you have 7 plants right? I am using 4 gallon buckets and the plants can get huge.

check out my previous grow with 4 gallon buckets and my current grow with 4 gallon buckets.

Well-Known Member
Well-Known Member

Sorry for the crummy pics.

The 2 plants in the bottom right, one female and one male, are both White Rhino from Nirvanah and both Have 3 leaf fan leaves all over them. It may have been from me and not bad genetics, though. Although out of 10 I had 9 pop and 3 females.Was gonna keep the male to breed with it looks too ugly so I’m gonna ditch em. And the female too.

All but 2 are very healthy. No money for whatever would fix em, so hopefully they’ll recover.

Active Member
Well-Known Member
Well-Known Member

Everything will be very crowded man. which can cause problems like powdery mildew, or mold.. because it is sooooo crowded and humid in the canopy. You want a little airspace between each plant. not alot, but just enough to get a little airflow through everywhere.

And remember plants usualyl get %50 -%200 bigger durring 12/12, so when you vegg, you have to think and plan ahead. The plants might look small and your grow area might look a little empty, but it will always fill in and suprise you

My specs are: 4 1/2ft by 4 1/2ft . Its ceiling height. I've got a 600 watt HPS and 600 watt MH. 5 Ice 1 Burmese Kush and 1 Kushage. Will they get too big…