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Using plastic buckets to grow veg

October 17, 2013 at 5:32 PM

veg.jpgUnless you have been recently living under a rock, you will be aware of the massive up-swell of interest in the home growing of fruit and veg.  In fact, there’s little chance you will actually be living under a rock, since every spare patch of ground and garden is now given over to raised beds, sheds and greenhouses.  From primary schools through to care homes, people love the process of watching seeds turn to food, and are very much aware of the health benefits of growing your own and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

However, if you don’t happen to live in a house with a garden, what then?  Well, if space is an issue, or your garden doesn’t feature a soil bed, then the humble plastic bucket may well provide a solution.  Even if the only space you have is the window ledge of a groovy urban loft apartment, or roof of your similarly urbane pied-a-terre, find yourself a bucket and you may well have yourself a garden, right there.

Of course we all know about growing flowers in plant pots.  Growing veg is really much the same process.  For small veg plants, buy standard 5-litre plastic containers, which will each support one plant.  Black or dark coloured buckets will also help absorb the heat of the sun (should there happen to be any!)  Drill drain holes, about an inch across, in the underside of the bucket, and then pack the bottom with damp newspaper that can then hold the potting mix.  Then in-fill with soil.  Don’t worry, the newspaper will eventually dissolve, at which point the soil will be compact, and will therefore not fall from the drain holes, although it will allow excess water to drain efficiently.  What you don’t want is water collecting in the bottom, especially as you’ll need to keep your plants watered, perhaps once a day.

The 5-litre buckets are perfect for single plants, such as tomatoes and peppers.  There are now interesting varietals of each of these on the market, which can be much more interesting in terms of taste than the usual supermarket fare… and of course, they make for great dinner party conversations, as you casually remark the tomatoes and peppers in the spag bol are all home grown.

If you’ve tried the single bucket and are feeling confident, why not upscale your garden?  Our largest standard bucket is 25 litres that you can transmogrify into a beast of a bucket garden.  With buckets of this scale you can better control the flow of the water and they therefore allow more root development and larger, more productive plants… or even small fruit trees.  However with fruit trees you’ll need larger drain holes to allow for roots to extend into the bottom soil and you’ll also need to decide where to place them from the very beginning, as moving them later will disrupt root development.  However, just think of those ripe plums come harvest time, when you’ll simply have to reach out of your window to pluck your breakfast fruit.  

If you’re feeling really confident (and have the space) why not use ten buckets together and start a bucket garden?  Perhaps we are getting ahead of ourselves… the point is that whatever space you have, there is always the space to be creative, be healthy and grow your own.  All you need is the vision… and the humble plastic bucket!

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Tags: plastic containers
Category: plastic buckets

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