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5 gallon bucket with tomato plants

This five gallon bucket supply list is a part of the Alabama Extension Grow More, Give More project.

Makes four buckets

  • Four 5 gallon buckets*
  • Four 25-quart bags potting soil mix (avoid “garden soil” for container gardens)
  • Pine mulch or other mulch to conserve soil moisture
  • 1⁄2 cup gypsum per plant (summer garden)
  • 1 pound granular fertilizer for vegetable gardens (use according to label)
  • Insecticidal soap (for soft-bodied insects)
  • Bt dust or spray (organic sourced insecticide for controlling caterpillars, aka worms)
  • Fungicide (fungal plant diseases can seriously impact plant health)
  • Sturdy tomato cage, twine, or other way to support large or climbing plants

Seeds or transplants for early spring and late summer planting (cannot tolerate high heat): beets, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, collards, lettuce, mustard greens, radishes, spinach, and turnips

Seeds or transplants for late spring and summer planting (mature plants cannot tolerate frost): cucumber, eggplant, peppers, tomato, and zucchini

Check “The Alabama Vegetable Gardener” at www.aces.edu for a complete listing of crops and planting dates.

Helpful tools include:

  • hose, nozzle, or watering can to transport water to garden area
  • gardening gloves
  • hand trowel
  • hand cultivator

*When using a 5 gallon bucket as a garden container, ensure that the bucket is food-grade plastic and not previously used for storing toxic materials. Drill or punch holes every 3 inches into the bottom of the bucket to allow for drainage. A 2-to-3-inch layer of gravel or small rocks below potting mix may also promote good drainage by preventing the potting mix from clogging the holes. The volume of one 5 gallon bucket is equal to 0.76 square feet. Four 5 gallon buckets is equal to 3 square feet. Use this to understand how much fertilizer to apply.



Grow More, Give More graphic

Bethany O’Rear, Regional Extension Agent, Home Grounds, Gardens, and Home Pests, Auburn University

Reviewed May 2022, Five Gallon Bucket Supply List, ANR-2663

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