The Many Uses of a 5 Gallon Plastic Bucket in the Garden

Alright this is John Kohler with
Today we have something that’s really essential for use around the garden here and hopefully
maybe in your garden or hopefully soon to be in your garden. These are just basic five
gallon, actually I think this one’s a seven gallon bucket.
So these are being re-used, I actually got these for free at a local health food store
that gets shipments in bulk and then they sell these items in bulk, so I don’t know
this one may have had some kind of nut butter or something like that or olives or different
pickles, different things. So if you want to find these check with maybe a local grocery
store, deli. If you really need a bucket they sell them
at Home Depot and Lowes. I don’t recommend buying them, I recommend trying to find them
for free. Restaurants also. Often times they just throw them out and these go to waste
and these are so useful. So let me show you today some of the ways that we use our reused
buckets. So it’s always better to reuse than recycle. So we’re reusing.
So the first thing is as I’m sitting in the bok choy bed I could be leafing. So I got
all these leaves now and I got to do something with them and instead of just dumping them
on the ground I’ll put them in the bucket and then I’ll take it over to the compost
pile or compost bin and dump them all in there. So really handy for doing leafing, nice size,
holds a lot. Alright some buckets come in all shapes and
sizes, this actually happens to be a square bucket, it’s kind of cool. Let’s see what
we have inside here. Oop, there’s dog food in this bucket. So buckets are also, wooo,
good for storing cry goods. So whether you have dogs and store your dog, dry dog food
or even storing like your fertilizers, your dry fertilizers and other things like that.
But the lid on the bucket and it’ll keep it water tight.
So here’s another good use for buckets. This happens to be a smaller bucket, maybe a three
gallon size. What it’s good for, hauling around materials. So from compost, if we’re moving
compost from the pile, to like a raised bed or actually we have all our rock dust in here
so we could easily take this out to the front bed and shake it around to distribute the
rock dust. To moving stones and rocks, really nice. Buckets come in really handy. They’re
nice and stable and they could actually hold a lot of weight.
So here’s another use of buckets. So we got this cutting, or actually we didn’t take this
cutting, the wind blew it down because we didn’t tie it up and stake it well enough.
It wasn’t tied up so it actually fell down in the wind. We could basically, you could
put some water in the bucket and put the plant in there. It’s not going to live in there
for a long time, but it’ll keep it alive, much like cut flowers, like that.
Actually if you have a willow tree, and I used to have a willow tree here, you can actually
take willow branches and put them in the water with the branches and the cuttings from the
end of the branches, put it in the water and actually make your own rooting hormone. Because
willow has, willow tips and leaves have a rooting compound naturally occurring in there,
mix it in with the water and then you could make your own rooting compound in your five
gallon bucket. Alright, another excellent use of buckets
and we do this all the time, is for mixing. So we make our own planting mix here. We use
basically a half perlite and half peat moss and then we add some compost in there too.
Some good finish compost to make our own planting mix and we’ll mix that either in a bucket
if we’re making a small amount. Then actually once it’s mixed in a bucket
we can put a lid on it and then save it so next we need it it’s there. Or sometimes we
use a wheelbarrow if we’re making a lot larger quantities as well. Even mixing, if you have
a little bit of concrete to mix up, you could mix it up in a bucket. Just make sure you
clean it really well after you’re done. So today I have a unique problem, I want to
harvest some of my tree kale that’s on the top. I don’t want these bottom leaves, but
they really all taste good. So I really want these top leaves, how am I going to get up
there? Well hey, I have this five gallon bucket. Wait wait, I can’t stand on this side that
won’t make me any taller! I know, I can turn it over!
These things probably hold at least a hundred fifty pounds, maybe two hundred, maybe more!
Wow look at this I could harvest my tree kale now because I’m much taller. So yeah, you
could always use a bucket as a step stool to make you taller so you could harvest your
fruit or leaves that’s really high up. Alright another great use for buckets is if
you have them near your shed or in your garage you can actually put the tools you need, so
I have a couple different tools in here. You can take it out to work on your projects.
So if I’m going out to the front yard and going to work on some of the beds, I could
take this out to the front bed and then I don’t have to have my tools all spread out.
I could just neatly put them back in here and then when I come back I’ll take them back
to the shed and put them away. So, easy to transport your tools, great use for buckets.
What do these two have in common? We got this big thirty-five gallon drum that basically
collects the rain water off of my roof, comes down to this diverter and then it fills up
right here. I did do an episode on that, so if you’re interested you could check that
out and see how we did it. But what does this and this have in common? They could both catch
rainwater! So even if you don’t have a set up like this
and probably for a bucket you don’t even need something as elaborate as this. You could
literally just put this bucket out in the middle of your yard and let it catch rainwater
and often times we don’t this on purpose here, but we leave buckets out and they just fill
up with rainwater and then we use that rainwater to water our plants. So you could catch rainwater
with five gallon buckets. Alright so we’re in the green house here and
another great use of buckets is use them as pots. Oh this things so heavy! So if you drill
some holes in the bottom here for drainage you could plant things in here. So actually
I thing we’ve got a carrot coming up in here and I don’t know if we planted that in there
or not, and some, I think some collards that are going to seed there.
But yeah, use plants for buckets. I’ll do another episode on actually showing you planting
plants in the buckets. But generally you could do like one tomato plant per five gallon bucket.
One zucchini plant, you could probably do a couple cucumber plants, but make sure you
put a trellis on there. A bunch of peas, let’s see what else? Basically you could plant most
things in a bucket. Alright another use of the buckets, that’s
if you have the lid actually attached. You could premix your different fertilizers, make
compost tea. This one’s actually storing our soy seal. So this is treatment, the natural
treatment we put on the wood that’s non-toxic. Actually it came in here and then after we’re
done using this as the liquid we’re going to reuse this bucket.
Yet another bucket and another use! So this bucket was actually sitting on the side over
there and it just was holding all these things. So we got some, basically sprayers, waterers,
stakes and my older sprinklers that we took out of the front yard when I use to have a
lawn. But it’s good for categorizing and putting things in order and then when you need to
transport them, makes it really easy to do that too.
So here’s a lesson we learned firsthand at Growing Your Greens. When storing your buckets
make sure they’re completely clean and with no soil or mud or anything in there. They’re
also dry. They’re going to store them together. Then, don’t stand on this and push them together
harder. Because they will get stuck. Alright, I just thought of another good use
for buckets. This is the bucket in my house actually that stays in my kitchen next to
my recycling and garbage can. It’s another bucket, with a lid on it! So let’s check out
what’s in there. Ah it’s a bucket full of food scraps and compost. It’s going to go
outside in the compost pile. Another excellent use of buckets. Everybody
should have a five gallon bucket for their food scraps to take out for their compost
pile. But make sure you put the lid on because if you don’t, it’s going to smell kind of
funky and I usually wash it out every week. Alright, great use of buckets.
So one of the things I want to talk about too is when you get the buckets, when you
obtain the buckets, hopefully they’ve only contained food-grade materials. So buckets
may have had industrial oils and all kinds of nasty stuff that we don’t want to be bringing
into our garden. So if you get those kinds of ones, maybe only use those one for the
non-gardening type things like toting your tools around and things like that. Make sure
they’re clean. So I hope you’ve learned more about using
buckets in the garden today. This is John Kohler with This is
what happens if you don’t store your bucket properly. So check out this outtake.
Alright here at growing your greens we have lots of fun too! Here’s the gardeners working
on getting some five gallon pots out. Man: It’s not going to happen, it’s not going
to happen. John: Yeah it is! Come on!
Woman: Jesus Christ, that’s crazy. Woman: Shit.
John: We got it! It’s coming, right? Or no? Am I just thinking it’s coming?
Woman: That’s what I tried last time and I mean Sage, literally I’ve been trying that
for weeks. John: I mean this is like, how much do you
think we could pull man? Man: Not very much, apparently.
Woman: The hardest part of gardening. Man: This is it, right here. Personally I
could actually hang on it. Woman: Use your body weight.
John: Use the arbor man. Man: Yes, yes.
John: Hey I want to hang on it, wait, who weighs more?
Man: I don’t know, I’ll hang on it and then if I’m not enough.
Woman: Then John can hang on to you. John: Then I’ll hang onto you. Yeah there
you go. Man: No man, it’s not coming.
John: Should I hang on you man? Man: I don’t this is going to work.
Woman: This is insane. Man: I don’t think my fingers could take it,
oh wait. Woman: Oh my god.
Man: Oh it’s because it’s muddy in there. That should do it.
John: I wanted to hang on there man! Man: Sorry John.
Woman: Then there were two. Man: Then there were two, yes. Just like a
Russian egg doll. John: Alright there you have it, we got the
barrels unstuck. It took three people, how many gardeners did it take to get barrels
unstuck. Three!

78 thoughts on “The Many Uses of a 5 Gallon Plastic Bucket in the Garden

  1. When you use the roof for rain water catching, do you need to worry about asphalt roofing? I've heard that it's not good for edible plants to use water that's run over asphalt.

  2. Yes, I do. I have heard people have tested their water and it had little contamination from the asphalt.. But I guess it also depends on what condition your roof is in.

  3. Is that Tiffany at the end wresteling with the bucket and Sage? That is true about the buckets getting stuck like that. Some how you need to break the tension between them to get them apart.

  4. Yes, I would be considered a dietary vegetarian. The majority of my diet consists of fresh fruits and vegetables, many of which I have grown 🙂

  5. I look for buckets in my neighbor's trash and I am using them for planting now. I have got at least 10 so far, but I am finding I am needing more and more every time I start planting in them.

  6. Wow,never even thought of used buckets, would not use one for dog food but if it had some sort of food in it, it sure would be good for tomatoes.

  7. You are the greatest, dude. A society that can't see the metaphorical potential of a single medium is a wasteful society.

  8. I have a question. I want to do raised beds but quite frankly I cannot afford the dirt. Can you think of anyway to beet that problem?

  9. Hi!
    Tanks so much for all your videos, I have a question about what you use to protect , to seal the wood of your reised beds. I really don't know what to use , I live in Utah and the winters here are horrible so I need to protect my new reised beds . Thanks so much again!!!:)

  10. You can also make self watering planters with 5 gallon buckets as well. There is a couple of good youtube videos out by globalbuckets. They have a website too. Its by a couple of kids that seem to have the same mission as you (encourage people to grow their own food).

  11. check with your local yard waste center. Many take leaves, grass clippings and compost it. This is then readily available for local residents for free. I live near Green Bay Wisconsin which has two such centers where you can go and get as much compost as you need.

  12. Check to see if your area has a yard waste center. I live near Green Bay Wisconsin which has a couple yard waste centers where grass clippins and leaves are disposed of and composted. The composted dirt is then available to residents free of charge.

  13. drill a hole in the bottom of it, between both buckets if u can, its the air that locks them. they'll come apart easy as pie !

  14. hehe That was cool man. ; ) I need like 50 of those! lol They also make great portable chairs, and I used to use them buildng bikes or motors.. not 1 screw or washer gets lost. : D Lee Valley actually makes a tool belt that fits on buckets too! Nice tug of war I thought for sure someone was goin flyin!

  15. For watering small trees/plants, drill a small hole 1/16 inch or less in the side as close to the bottom as you can, place near the small plant to be watered. Fill bucket with water and walk away………….It will slowly trickle onto the base of the plant, no run-off or waste…………come back and refill later.

  16. Another idea for the bucket is to place under an AC window unit to collect drops of water from condensation. It's great!

  17. Whats the rock dust do?
    To help separate the buckets pour soap around the stuck edge, then shove a flat-head screwdriver in between the buckets… helps save the fingers 🙂 Also if suction is holding them together, drill a hole in the bottom bucket to allow air flow

  18. This is freakin awesome! I never knew you could reuse a bucket! WOW!
    (I used to troll on YT, then I took an arrow in the knee)

  19. LOL. I thought I was the only one with the problems, because I was not strong enough. Immersing the buckets in water has loosened them for me. Also, when one person turns the bucket in a clockwise direction, and another tries to turn the bucket in the opposite direction, the rotation often separates the buckets. Thanks for your great posts. I am recommending that a friend buy his juicer from you 🙂 Out of appreciation for all the valuable information that you share. Blessings

  20. @growingyourgreens You can also do soil building. Pretty much you put manure and compost in your natural soil that is in your price range. Every season or you do this and over time your soil will greatly improve. It takes longer but it will be in your price range…AND you also know whats going into your soil, your veggies, then you!

  21. Have you seen this idea for 5 gallon buckets ?

    wikipedia . org / wiki / File:Self-watering-container.jpg

    This is the poor-man's EarthBox bucket planters.

  22. I find the easiest way to get buckets apart is to use an air compressor. Put the nozzle as much into the crack of the bucket as you can and usually they'll come right apart with almost no effort.

  23. Just don;t kick the bucket! ba-dum-bum
    Actually I always stick a bamboo stake in a bucket before I stack another one inside it – then they never get stuck

  24. you forgot 1 thing. you can compost in the 5 gallon buckets themselves but it doesn't produce much heat and probably takes long as well but i have tried it and it does work. or upside down pots,

  25. John grows his own food, all of it, so he has many buckets with plants in them and ses them for other purposes. He has a remarkable front yard garden. I enjoy listening to him, especially when he shows things and is not just lecturing. I need to see.

  26. Can someone help me find the video where john shows a bucket for vermicomposting that you bury in the ground? Thanks!

  27. I don't know where you live, but if you live anywhere around Victorville California you can go to American Organics. They sell 100% organic compost for 20 bucks a ton!!!!! And they also sell dif kinds of soil mixes and woodchips etc…. So if you have a truck or can borrow one, you can't beat $20 a ton for compost.

  28. A good way to separate things that are stuck together like the buckets at the end of the video is to freeze them. Obviously freezing 5 gallon buckets may not be easy, but this helps with lots of things stuck together. Things contract when frozen and make it easier to separate 🙂

  29. i live in a new subdivision and the workers are tossing out 5 gallon buckets everyday, but they contained spackle and paint… if i washed them out real well would they be any good for planting tomato/pepper plants?

  30. when im hauling dirt/compost/gravel or whatever I line the bed of my truck with a tarp n sit buckets on that so when you load the material most goes in the buckets and the rest goes between em n on the tarp so when youre unloadin just grab a bucket n dump n only have the lil bit that goes between em then grab the tarp n get the rest out

  31. Very dated comment. But I worked with a florist for a few years, if you can get some water (warm preferably) between the gaps in the bucket, it should push them apart. I spent many a year with bleeding fingers trying to pry them apart. 😉

  32. Stacked buckets will separate easily when you turn the buckets upside down and stand on the rim of the bottom bucket. Pull straight up and if necessary rock the top bucket back and forth as you pull up. Legs are stronger then arms and stepping on the bottom bucket supports it firmly to the ground. Always works.

  33. Stacked buckets will separate easily when you turn the buckets upside down and stand on the rim of the bottom bucket. Pull straight up and if necessary rock the top bucket back and forth as you pull up. Legs are stronger then arms and stepping on the bottom bucket supports it firmly to the ground. Always works.

  34. Pour some warm soapy water inside those buckets that are stuck together And they will come apart more easy Works for me.

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