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Whether you have run out of garden space or you don’t have garden space, you can always grow crops in pots! For example, tomatoes make an ideal container plant when grown in five-gallon buckets. Here are some ideas plus our list of the best vegetables to grow in buckets, bags, or baskets!
After I have planted every square inch of my garden I always find that there is something I have forgotten. Wait a minute where are the potatoes going? How did I manage to leave out chard? No room for kale? Can’t I squeeze in one more eggplant? I only have so many large pots to grow my extra veggies in and they fill up fast.
Anything that holds soil can be used to grow extra veggies. Just make sure that it has holes in the bottom for drainage. Nothing kills more plants than overwatering.
Growing in containers now only saves space, but also their portable nature means that you can move the plants into more sunlight or shade or even move inside in terrible weather such as hail or freeze. In addition, growing in buckets or pots means less weeding and less pests since you’re off the ground!
If you have five-gallon buckets from the hardware store, they make great planters for larger vegetables such as tomatoes or pole beans. Just drill holes in the bottom.
And make sure that you don’t overplant! Here are tips on how many plants to grow in each bucket.
Tomatoes Container: 1 plant per 5-gallon pot Varieties: ‘Early Girl’, ‘Patio’, ‘Small Fry’, ‘Sweet 100’, ‘Tiny Tim’
Beans, snap Container: 5-gallon window box Varieties: Bush ‘Blue Lake’, Bush ‘Romano’, ‘Tender Crop’
Broccoli Container: 1 plant per 5 gallon pot, 3 plants per 15-gallon tub Varieties: ‘DeCicco’, ‘Green Comet’
Carrots Container: 5-gallon window box at least 12 inches deep Varieties: ‘Danvers Half Long’, ‘Short ‘n Sweet’, ‘Tiny Sweet’
Cucumbers Container: 1 plant per 1-gallon pot Varieties: ‘Patio Pik’, ‘Pot Luck’, ‘Spacemaster’
Eggplant Container: 1 plant per 5-gallon pot Varieties: ‘Black Beauty’, ‘Ichiban’, ‘Slim Jim’
After you run out of buckets, you can grow some shallowly rooted veggies in bags of potting soil. Yes, right in the bag! Just lay the bag flat, pop a few holes in it for drainage, turn it over and cut X-shaped planting holes in the top.
Plant it with pepper, lettuce, eggplant, squash, or cucumber transplants rather than using seeds.
Fabric grow pots are great if you don’t have room to store pots over the winter. They’re great for growing potatoes. Fill with compost and potting mix, 3 plants to a grow bag. Just empty out the soil when the season is over and fold them up, ready for next year.
You can also grow potatoes in trash cans or even giant trash bags. A single potted potato can produce a surprising number of tubers! The trash can should be 2 to 3 feet tall with a 10 to 15 gallon capacity and you’ll need to drill drainage holes in the bottom.
Pepper plants, both hot and sweet, look quite festive when covered with ripe peppers. My favorites are the eggplants, some have dark purple stems and purple veining on their velvety leaves. The fruits are pretty as well as tasty, maturing to dark purple, neon pink, lilac, bright green, and white depending on the variety. Some are even striped!
I love to upcycle things that most people consider trash into useful garden objects. Wooden pallets are usually available for free at large businesses or at your town transfer station. Just make sure that the ones you choose for growing edibles are not treated with harmful chemicals.
Staple landscape fabric to the back. You can also nail on a thin sheet of plywood just in case to reinforce the back. Flip it over and add lightweight potting soil. Plants can be tucked in between the slats of wood. Give them a few days to settle in, then carefully stand the pallet on edge against a wall, fence or other sturdy support.