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The DIY 5 Gallon Bucket Planter Box – The Best Garden Experiment Ever!

When it comes to a simple, productive and extremely low-maintenance way to garden, it’s hard to argue with the success of this year’s 5 gallon bucket planter box experimental garden at the farm!

What all started from a simple suggestion to the website has turned into one of our most successful gardening experiments ever on our little farm. And even better, for many others who have built and tried the containers this year as well!

Here is an overview of how the planters work along with our growing results so far. We have also included a video below to show the buckets in action.

bucket planter box
The 5 gallon bucket planter box trial garden at the farm. The plants have been growing and producing like crazy in the buckets!

The Bucket Planter Box Experiment

Our bucket planter box experiment all stemmed from an email we received over the winter from a follower to our blog. They asked if there was a way to create a planter box to hold 5 gallon buckets at more workable height for those with mobility issues.

building the bucket planter box
The planter boxes use 2×4’s for their frame, with an open bottom to allow for drainage for the buckets. They can be wrapped with wood, metal or burlap to give a great look for any decor.

The idea of it all really excited us. After all, it would allow anyone to grow food or flowers anywhere. On porches, patios, or even rooftops. And best of all, they would be easy to work.

Although traditional planter boxes are an option for this type of growing, they require a lot of soil to fill. And to boot, the soil over time is hard to maintain and keep fertile.

But the soil in 5 gallon buckets can be filled and removed easily each season. Even better, the soil can be recharged into a compost pile to re-use again. And best of all, the ease and height of it allows any person, of any age, to now grow vegetables, flowers and herbs anywhere!

container growing
The soil in the 5 gallon buckets provides plenty of growing space to grow tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, herbs, flowers and more!

How The Bucket Planter Box Works

So with that in mind, we started by creating a simple, inexpensive frame from 2×4’s. In the frame, we used 2 x4 slats to hold the top of the buckets to a comfortable 30″ working height.

The planter box goes together quick with little lumber. In fact, the quad planter box uses only (8) 2x4x8’s, making it extremely economical to build. To finish and add a little attractive touch, the frame can be clad with wood, metal, or even burlap. See : 2×4 Bucket Planter Box Plans

Bucket Planter Box
One of our followers who built and covered their 2×4 planter boxes with burlap for a great look. We loved getting photos from all over the country from folks who had built their own planter boxes from the plans.

All that was left was to see how they would work for planting, growing and maintaining crops. And, as you’ll see below, it turned out to better than we could have ever imagined!

The Results – The Bucket Planter Box Garden

For our experimental trial garden, we planted a total of 16 garden buckets. We used (3) quad-bucket planters, and (2) each of the double bucket planters. For soil, we used our homemade potting soil mix along with an additional shovel of compost in each bucket as well.

We grew a wide assortment of vegetables and herbs, along with a few flowers to really test the bucket’s limit. And without fail, as you can see in the video below, the plants took off!

From mid-sized San Marzano and full sized Celebrity heirloom tomatoes, to peppers, cucumbers, tomatillos, cilantro, basil and more, the plants are thriving in the 5 gallon buckets.

Low Maintenance, Easy Care Gardening

By the end of June, we were absolutely astonished with the growth of nearly everything planted. And now that we are well into late July, we are even more excited with the results!

growing food in small spaces
The plants in early May – they certainly took off from this point!

They buckets are easy to water and fertilize when needed, and best of all, require near zero weeding. The 30″ height also makes the plants so easy to work around and harvest.

Easy Care & Maintenance

The bucket planter boxes have a lot of built-in advantages over traditional gardens, raised beds, and even container gardens.

For starters, planting early is no problem since they are easy to protect from frost. Not only are they easy to cover if needed if it gets too cold, the buckets are easy to take out and bring indoors.

plenter box trellis
With the solid wood frame, it is easy to attach a trellis for climbing plants.

The box frame also makes it easy to attach a trellis or two for climbing plants – and fall cleanup will be as simple as pulling the buckets and emptying into our compost bin.

Looking Forward To Next Year!

With the trial success, we are going to now expand the planter box garden next year to create a full-size trial garden area with 16 quad-bucket planters.

Our hope is to create a model for a community style garden to use for community or neighborhood gardens – whether there is land or not. Here’s to hoping that experiment turns out as good as this years!

Happy gardening – Jim and Mary

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