This thread is getting so long, I am starting a new thread here for the great responses as to results. I can't believe that something that started with a simple question in July has generated this kind of interest
11/14/09. Weekend Progress Report: Outfitted 6 more colander eBuckets and planted broccoli seedlings.
I finessed cutting the straw and fill tube holes in the colanders, so they're all uniform and the fill tube hole is a fairly snug fit, to avoid excess soil falling through (without much electrical tape!).
[Managed to slice through the tip of my index finger with my utility knife, whacking off a piece of that electrical tape...this makes two disabled fingers on one hand. Did a cowboy trick and sucked blood so no poison would enter my system (oops -- that's for rattlers...) Bandaged it, wore a rubber glove, kept working...]
Became thoroughly disgusted with all the WOOD CHIPS and SMALL BRANCHES in my purchased Rose blend veggie growers mix (from Living Earth), so I SIFTED about 8 bucketsful and ended up with enough fine stuff to fill the six buckets. Used my homemade compost to fill the top 6" of each bucket. I like sifted soil...
All in all, I have one critical observation regarding eBucket gardening. It is labor intensive, in the beginning, to outfit and fill all those buckets, especially if you DO have a day job. However, I know that after they're all up and cranking out the good stuff, I and my sore body will forget how much work went into filling all those buckets.
The good part is knowing that I won't have to refill them all again for the next several seasons! I'll simply refresh the top layer of my homemade compost! Now THAT'S what I'm talkin' 'bout! And, the portability makes following the sun so much simpler!
Gheeze, you guys are busy bees. I've been moving big things. A little restaurant closed, and the man told me that I could have the bananas, they take some digging! Moved six, and some more today. And then I had some papayas to move, they are biggies, also. But the dark of the moon, and a rainy day said "Do it NOW!" so that's all finished.
The one bucket with collards is happy. I need seeds for chard, kale, and celery and squash, so off to some seed company on the internet--- I'll check who Dave's recommends.
I'm allergic to tomatoes, so I have just three in the ground for sharing with people. Folks here rarely get homegrown tomatoes here, so I am very popular when handing freebies.
Say, squash seems to sprawl, have you ever staked it so it grows up, instead of along the ground?
Molamola I always stake my squash, with the small space I have that's the only way I can have them, even summer squash that are supposed to be bush...for me they are just slow growing vines. Need stout stake and heavy string for tying stem to stake.
Hum, Squash Borers don't like heights? That'd be great! I only tried a leaning stake system last year, about a 45 degree climb, but shieldbugs/stink bugs brought a deforming virus. Ugh! I hate the bad bugs!
My seed order was shipped today, I might have some blablabla to post soon. Celery, bright lights chard, kale, umm, something else... I'm going to turn into a rabbit!
OK, I haven't been able to do anything with a colander, none big enough in the stores here, plus I haven't seen one (two quart) for less than five bucks,
I've been staggering around the house and yard muttering to myself, 'what can I do??? what can I do???'
Ha!!! A two gallon plastic pot upside down in the five gallon bucket. Or at least I'm guessing two gallon, maybe three. It fit perfectly. I punched a hole thru the side of the bucket, and the side of the (upside down) pot inside the bucket, at the same level, and cut & rolled a piece of plastic from a gallon water jug for the overflow hole. Enough soil, and loads of water.
Same for the fill hole, cutting the top of the jug for to hold the rolled up tube of plastic in the rolled up position on top of the soil.
Just this one so far, and planted the bucket with several Genovese Basil plants that have had a terrible time in a little bathroom sized plastic trash can with no drainage, and no air to the roots. Tough little plants.
I'm going NUTS not being able to post photos!!!!!!!!!! Must go buy Photoshop tomorrow, and post a 'before; pic, so to compare with what I'm expecting from the Basil. The stems get woody, and the plants might live for years.
Oh, for the sides between the pot and bucket, I filled the space with half rotted sticks for air and whim. And soil. I don't have proper well draining soil, so I hope the sticks work.
I have turned these instructions for constructing these buckets in to a post on my site. Since I link back to this page I don't think I break any rules. If I do they can eliminate this post I guess. http://mckarion.wordpress.com/
One tip to help you get your pics uploaded quicker. Start by creating a folder on your desktop and name it PICASA UPLOADS. Inside that folder, create any sub-folders you want. Some of my sub-folders are Growbox Pics, Eggplant Pics, Miscellaneous Pics, Broccoli Fall '09, Bugs, Diseases, etc.
Always put your pictures into the PICASA UPLOADS folder first. (If you have just various, loose pics that don't need to go into a sub-folder, just drop it into the PICASA UPLOADS folder and not into a specific sub-folder). When you open Picasa there's a Folder Manager tab on the top bar. You can go in that and designate that you want Picasa to always look for, retrieve, and update any photos in your PICASA UPLOADS folder. This way, all your pics are in one place for Picasa to find and upload them everytime you open Picasa. The folders you create in the PICASA UPLOADS folder roughly correspond to folders Picasa will drop them into once it sees them. The loose pics will be uploaded to a general Picasa file where you can then drag & drop them where you want them to go in Picasa.
Gymgirl, while surfing the forum the other day I remember seeing a post from you showing your seeds started in 1 gallon milk jugs. Exactly how does that work? I remember thinking, gee, I thought a lot of this stuff had to be direct sown, like mustard.
BTW, I am excited that your buckets are doing so well. Eagerly awaiting spring so I can do more.
My across-the-street neighbor and her 6 year old Granddaughter were touring my veggie patch so we cut the lone broccoli I was growing cause it was about 2 go to bloom. I also cut 2 kohlrabis. We came inside and steamed and ate the broccoli ceremonial style. Then we peeled and ate the kohlrabis raw. WE LIKE KOHLRABI!!
I saved the leaves cause I think you said to sautee them in olive oil with garlic, is that right? I will be growing MORE kohlrabi. Is it too late to start more now? Do they need cool/cold like the cabbages? LMK soonest. And send me some of your seeds, please. These were not on my list. They were labeled as cabbages when I bought them! Good mistake! Linda
I'm so glad I found this thread. I was planning to do a bucket garden this year and have been contimplating the best way to do it. Thank y'all so much for your input and experimenting. Now I can't wait to get started. Y'all should make this an article or sticky :)
I guess it's in my blood. When I'm sold on something, I become a consummate salesperson! And, I'm running into more and more people who want to grow their own food to supplement dwindling incomes, eat healthier, and just generally become better citizens!
So, I'm doing my part to spread the word about what we do over in Dave's Garden!
I called an old church member just this morning. He'd been thinking of me too, 'cause our last conversations were about growing stuff in buckets. He told me his family doesn't eat beef anymore, and they are doing mainly veggies, fruits, fish, turkey and chicken. And that he'd been wondering what I was up to in my bucket garden!
So, now he's coming over to see my operation and get a tutorial. Which got me to thinking about holding the same tutorial for some of my co-workers who want to grow stuff...
And about that vacant lot on my block, that would just make a fine garden patch for our neighborhood...etc., etc., etc...
See what ya'll started?
Ya'll are turning me into a total eBuckethead!
Kohlrabi is the consistency of an apple slice, and tastes like a mild raddish. It's delightful, and I can see it as a grab 'em snack on my WeightWatcher's menu! We didn't put anything on the slices either, although later, I did put a little salt on one. I like it better w/o the salt! Which is even better for me! I totally see it in salads, and stir fried, too!
I've found seeds for a GIANT KOHLRABI (8" DIAMETER) at Johnny's Select Seeds, and will be ordering these for the fall plantout. Moon, I'll be sending you some of these seeds!
Wow Gymgirl! I'm so inspired! Thanks for the great welcome everyone. I've got my seeds started in the little peat pots right now and will make my ebuckets this weekend. I can't wait to get started. I still need to get my tomatoes though (seeds on order). Here's my line up so far:
Cucumbers Strait Eight
Sugar Snap Peas
Pepper Red Cayenne
Tomato Cherokee Purple
Tomato Red Brandywine
I'll probably try a few hybrid tomatoes as well, not sure witch ones yet though.
Oh, I've got a lot of ebuckets to make :0 Looks like my weekend will be full. How exciting:) Keep cheering.
Spring is coming someday I am sure but I am getting antsy to do some kind of planting now. So...I got the idea to fashion a strawberry bucket using our Ebucket design. I have no idea whether it will work or not but I am going to give it a try. Here's what it looks like.
I saw this concept using a large diameter PVC pipe. But you've taken this 2 a whole new level. You have hit the Strawberry Mother Lode, and
I bow at the feet of ur creative genius!
Your humble student,
Gessie violet: You used a colander for bottom of the bucket I take it?
I notice a pipe coming out of the drain hole? Looks very interesting and might even be a lot better than these strawberry topsy turvys here that I am using. I decided to try them this year instead of the EBs and GPs I used last time and I'm already regretting it. They did well in the EBs and GPs and if this bucket idea works that would definately be a way to go for strawberries I would think. Keep us posted ok and if you can let us know how you made it?
I just Googled instructions for growin strawbrries in my area and looks like I missed the window. We plant in Nov and harvest in April. But, look for my berry eBuckets next fall! Straws aren't my favorite, but DH Likes em.
I like mulberries! Used 2 climb a huge tree (yes, a mulberry "tree") as a child and mother would "stew" em down in a bubbling syrup. Then she'd drop Bisquick dumplings into the bubbling syrup. They'd be gooey on the outside and cake-like on the inside. I'd eat dumplings and berries til I was almost sick! Um. Um, good!
I have no idea whether this will actually work but I am in one of those "I wonder if...I don't see why not'' modes.
Linda, I finally found the WS forum and am really excited by the concept. I always plan to fall sow but then am generally too lazy to fix up an area that will protect the seeds. This looks like the way for me to accomplish 2 goals this season..
Oh, Linda, here in zone 8 we usually do the same, but I am hoping with everbearers I might get some fruit this year.
I'll be outfitting some berry eBuckets during my down time this season, so I can be ready to plant seedlings come next November. Looking forward to this journey, too.
I figure that horizonal drain pipe is what you used instead of a straw, correct? Do you have the colander inside to create the water reservoir? What planting medium did you use?
The article I read says strawberries ideally like acid soil and that sand was the best growing medium. Then also suggested potting mix with lots of organic amendments, fertilizing each layer on initial planting, and then using a balanced water soluable fertilizer every week from then on through the growing season. We're to snip any blooms or shoots (runners?) that form between November and December to concentrate growth on the plant first.
The expectation is to get a whole pint of strawberries from EVERY plant!
Oh, and expect to battle pillbugs, birds, and snails. Recommendations for this were a circle of ash around the area, bird netting, and sprays containing Daconil for the pillbugs.
Yeah, I planted my strawberries in November; but, they are barely hanging on right now, and it's not due to the cold weather, they love cold weather, it's the strawberry topsy's I think, you'd of thought I'd of learned with the tomatoes right? That buckets for the strawberries looks great, I think the problem with the strawberry turvys is going to be getting some moisture down to the bottom row of the hanging thing which won't be a problem with the bucket one, as it has a reservoir and you can also water from the top too if you had to. I did plant strawberries in the bloommaster also, what a mess that could have been had I not kept stuffin more potting mix into the holes as with all this rain, it wasn't holding onto the strawberry plants at all.
Well, you all are a convincing bunch, let me tell you! LOL! Been following this thread and finally decided to go for it. Please tell me that you are extremely happy with this idea before I buy anymore.
Mine cost a little more to make, because I didn't want to drive the 100 mile roundtrip to Lowes or Home Depot. I bought two 4 1/2 gal red buckets at Dollar General for $3 each and two colanders for $2 each. Just trimming off the curved outside edge allows the colanders to fit upside down in the buckets perfectly. I already had the pvc pipe, plus airhose and straws (I'll use whichever works best when I put these together) A bag of potting soil with fertilizer cost me $3. So all totaled, these will cost me $8 each. I've got some cherry tomatoe plants that are already 15" high, so need to do something with them soon, and it's way too soon to go out in my garden. Right now they are in the house, but I'll move them to the greenhouse in 2-3 weeks. These are basically an experiment to see if I can get some super early cherry tomatoes.
I appreciate all of the information you all shared! thank you very much!
Robin: Potting soil is too heavy dear, potting mix is what you need, and might have to think about adding perlite to that also. Maybe at a ration of 60/40 (potting mix/perlite). Add 1 1/2 c of dolomite lime and epsom salt to the mix before planting tomato.
Darned! I was more intent on reading how to make the Ebuckets and neglected to think about the growing medium. I did buy Proffessional Potting Mix and it does have perilte and limestone, but the ratio of perlite isn't anywhere near the suggestion. I have epson salt here. Is that 1 1/2 cup EACH of lime and salt for each bucket?
Guess I'll work on transplanting seedlings from seed trays to small pots with these bags. Won't be making a road trip to the big city where I can buy perlite for a couple of weeks.
Robin: No, you just need about 1 Tbsp of espom salt. Make sure you mix the dolomite in really well so it doesn't clump up, if the potting mix is light, you can probably get by without the perlite. Some of the potting mixes already have perlite in it. What kind are you using?
Went to town and bought some bags of Professional Potting Mix that Dollar General carries. Don't know the ratio of perilite, but there is some in it. Only 8#, compared to the same size bag of potting soil at 20#, so yes, I think it will be light enough. Also bought another bucket and colander, so I now have 3 buckets of cherry tomatoes. They look so pretty! I'll take pictures later. Thanks for your help!
Linda, so sorry I missed your request a while back (in the earlier incarnation of this thread) for pics of the tomatoes I grew in the Ebuckets! I'll post a pic of the plants I took on October 18, which is when I harvested all of the fruits before our first frost. Since these were plants from cuttings taken towards the end of the season, they didn't get a chance to get very big, but they did yield VERY well for the size they were, and they seemed much healthier than the ones I grew in grow bags and cages all summer.
I have the four I made last summer and I've already told my husband I want to make 4 more (at least!)... guess I need to start lurking at the dollar store again so I can find the right colanders!
Robin: I have 50 buckets and aren't using plastic or lids with mine, I think using them also helps cut back on any soil diseases that are caused from the rain splashing the potting mix up onto the bottom leaves. In a book I'm reading about giant tomatoes, it talks about cutting away the bottom foot or so of branches to help cut back on soil diseases also.
I've been reading the old E-bucket threads with great interest. I'm going to make some for determinate tomatoes that I have ready to transplant. The only thing I haven't found is the recipe for the additives...how much fertilizer, lime, etc? Thanks!
2 cups fertilizer, any three numbers between 10 and 15. Most people use 10-10-10. I use 13-13-13 or 14-14-14. I can't ever find Triple 10... Poured in a strip farthest away from your seedlings, so as to not burn any roots. See the Earthbox website for pictures of how to place your fertilizer strip.
2 cups PELLETIZED Dolomite Lime, mixed into the top 4-6 inches of your potting mix. Powdered lime turns into a concrete slab or rocks if it's not mixed in well...
2 tbsps. Epsom salts mixed in with the Lime wouldn't hurt, although it's not part of the original "recipe..."
Hello from Atlanta! I have a question or two about these awesome buckets... okay, I probably have more than just one or two...(I think I'm too excited about these things...lol). I am very new to any kind of gardening and normally have a brown thumb when it comes to house plants. I think if I lived before grocery stores, my family would die. That's why I'm trying to learn... in case I ever need to know how. I suppose it would be better to learn while having another food source, than learning with an empty stomach. LOL
1. I'm using Miracle Grow potting mix that feeds plants up to 6 months... Do I need to still add fertilizer around the top edges this first season using them?
2. On another site globalbuckets.org these boys teach you how to make self watering containers using 2 buckets (this is why I like your buckets better. lol). They use black plastic to cover the tops and they make a mound on the top so rain water runs away from the plant. Can I use the black plastic with your style containers or will it cause the plants to be too wet? or is it better to use the plastic bucket lid with the hole cut in it to allow for more air to reach the soil?
3. What sized containers do I need for tomatoes, cucumbers, winter squash(s), peppers, eggplant, and broccoli? I'd like to use the smallest ones possible (with great results) as to save on the potting mix. I am able to get the 5 gal, 3.5 gal, and a smaller sized one for free from our local grocery store bakeries. I had heard that you could use the 3.5 gal when using the 2 bucket system, but I'm not sure if the container would be too small with one bucket system.
4. And has anyone tried a self watering system where you hook the buckets together to a water supply using a gravity/siphon system? The boys on the globalbuckets site show you how to do that and I would love to try it. Okay, so I'm lazy and would rather not have to worry about watering at all this summer if I can get away with it. lol
I really appreciate any and all help you can give me. Thank you!!!!!
Ya'll will never believe what my brother gave me, it's a container the size of an EB and has two drain holes already in it, now what can I use for seperating a reservoir and the top of the thing????
#2. Yes, you can use the plastic. Light for summer -- dark for winter. Tape it or use a bungee cord around the eBucket. Main reason for any cover is to keep the backsplash off your plant. Less chance of disease.
#3. Tomatoes -- not less than 5 gallons, preferably 10 gallons or larger
cukes, zukes, winter squash(s), peppers, eggplant, and broccoli will do fine in a 5 gallon eBucket.
Eggplants, broccoli, cabbages, cauliflowers all require 1 plant per 5-gallon eBucket). These plants like organic mediums so you can supplement your potting mix with aged compost, decomp leaves and it will go further.
#4. Bocabob's automatic drip system will accommodate 45 different drip sites on one sytem. Instructions are attached.
Gymgirl: I am glad I got my poly tubing from Bob, I have used 300 feet of it thus far for my irrigation drip system, but everything is hooked up now, I have two now, one for my 40 five gallon buckets, another one for my 10 EBs, 6 GPs, and 8 turvy types. I even put together 5 soaker hoses on Y connects for my canna lily bed in the front yard, I'm hooked up now. LOL
I ended up seeing Bocabob's system after posting (such a newbie for not looking more on the site first, sorry) . It is somewhat what I'm thinking of. The system I saw actually has a covered reservoir bucket with an adjustable float valve (I'm going to try a toilet float valve thingie). This is hooked up to a water source and also hooked to the 1/2in tubing that runs to feed 1/4in tubing to each plant. As the plants use the water, the float in the reservoir allows it to fill up only when needed. After reading Bocabob's instructions, I am wondering though it I'm going to need a water pressure regulator?? I didn't think of that.
So, do you think that the 3.5gal buckets will be too small for the cukes' root systems? or the root systems of some of the other smaller plants?
I think my brown thumb may actually start to turn green, I see it has an 'olive-ish' hue to it already...
Jennifer: I love my irrigation drip system, I had it broke up to water on two different lines, I run them one at a time, one runs for 5 mins and waters 40 five gallon buckets, the other one runs for about 3 mins watering 10 EBs, 6 GPs, and 8 hanging turvys and planters. I love it, as it gives me more time to do other things with my plants.
Nope, I had a friend do it for me, and he did it so quickly and so fabulously I was tickled pink. It is on two different facets, and the one actually does defeat gravity the way it is strung above the topsy turvys and actually they get plenty of water now! I bought two upsy downsy planters at Walmart, it's a small container with coconut coir in it and with a hole in the bottom, you are supposed to put a cherry tomato and another tomato in it, one in the bottom to hang out and one in the top to stream over; but, I'm going to plant peppers in it instead. Problem is, one of them will have to go on the 4 armed planter with the 3 hanging strawberries and from what I'm reading you aren't supposed to plant peppers and strawberries close together? Wonder if that matters with hanging planters?
Molamola: If they just hang down in the downsy part I'll be happy, it shows on the tomato topsy turvy that you can plant peppers instead so thought I'd give it a shot, last Spring, my maters were hitting the ground, and don't think the peppers will, so thought it a safer bet.
I've been making these e-buckets for a couple of years and usually put plastic covers on mine. Our Dollar Tree sells ladies shower caps in 12-packs for $1. I "stack" 2 or 3 of them (depending on what I'm growing) and they are a perfect tight fit on the top of the buckets. If you need to slit a huge hole to plant something in, slit one on one side and the next one on the opposite side and then a 3rd in another area and stack them on. They last for the entire growing season and look so much nicer than plastic bags. They are much easier to put on as well. Hope this helps. I'll post this on the other thread as well.
A plastic jug with a spout that doubles as both the overflow and the fill tube...
Start by placing the jug sideways in the bucket with the handle side facing the bottom. In order to see the shadow of the spout on the outside of the bucket, hold the bucket up to the sunlight or shine a flashlight on the outside. Mark the spot to drill the overflow hole.
Drill the hole in the side of the bucket with a hole drill, so the spout fits through. Drill holes on all sides of the jug, but not on the top side. This will allow for an airspace between the potting mix and the reservoir inside the jug.
Position the jug spout thru the hole and screw the cap on. This will hold the jug in place while you pack the potting mix tightly around it, just up to the top of the jug.
Then add soil loosely from then on. Fill bucket halfway and water in from the top. Remove the cap. Continue filling to the top with potting mix. Set plant and fertilizer ring, then water in til you get runoff out the spout.
Use the overflow spout to fill with your hose til you get backflow out the spout.
At least that's how I think Jim planted it. He used an ArIzona tea jug that fits perfectly on its side in a 5-gallon bucket with its pour spout through the hole.
Linda, a great description! You have a way with words that describe what I have to draw pictures for.
When I went to the hardware store, they keep all the little tools locked in glass cases. When I asked the Man for help, and I said, "A drill bit, uh..uh,, doorknob" He knew exactly what I meant, hooray! This fancy drill bit makes a good, proper sized hole, no effort. Except handling a drill, of course.
Aha! The one thing you left out is to start by putting the jug in the bucket, and seeing the shadow of the top of the jug on the outside of the bucket, easy to mark the right spot. He used sunlight, but a flashlight might work.
It's been just too hot to go outside. But, evidently, these self-watering eBuckets watered themselves by capturing rainwater in the reservoirs. Yesterday was the first time I've hand watered these buckets since May. I KNOW I haven't been out there in all of June or July.
gessie, gymgirl, Joy, are there any new incarnations in the colander E-buckets. Did the strength of the colander prove to hold up under the weight of the grow mix and plant weight? Is there any noticible difference between the 2 bucket design v. 1 bucket design? Any updates at all. Don Laclair
Gessie violet: My tomatoes do so much better in the ebuckets as ya'll call them than the EBs even. So; that is where I'm planting my maters this Spring. They had early voting here for FL, remember FL always has to recount our votes at least twice if the whole state votes at the same time right? LOL And, since it was at the library I joined today and checked out a few gardening books, cheaper than buying them, and I get to keep them for a few weeks. Anyways, I checked one out called "successful Berry Growing" which I'm in the process of reading along with the Lasagna Gardening one.
So; here is my question: Can I grow raspberries in an e bucket, they are cane type plants. I can always add a trellis by the ebucket right? I mean, I plan on planting grapes in the ebucket also with a trellis beside them? Has anyone done this?
John, I started out using a set up similar to what you have in mind, but used a lid pushed with a 6" flower pot packed with mix for the wick. If you use the basket (White thing) I would use 2 of them in the bottom of the container so that there is a relatively small amount of your mix in the water area. (don't know, but) you may have to cut the end off one to make both fit in the box.
Also cover the white baskets with something to keep mix out of them since they have such large slots in the sides. An old towel, piece of weed barrier, or even newspaper would probably work. Also use 2 drain holes (at least 1/4") equal distance from the bottom of the container, space about 6 inches from the end. Be sure to use some kind of channel to your reservoir (a drinking straw or 1/4" rigid tubing would be fine) So mix doesn't stop your drainage.
I came up with the eBucket as a result of the good results I had with tomatoes in a storage container like this. My idea was that I wanted something smaller for part of my gardening. I grew tomatoes (2 in each box) that grew over 10 ft high and got a few 1 lb+ fruits and oodles of smaller ones, before really hot weather set in. Here is a picture of peppers growing in the container.
Gessieviolet: I loved them for my tomatoes, even better than the ones in the EBs, so, this next Spring/Summer, all my maters are going in the e-buckets, they are perfect for maters, oops I will have some maters in my self draining kiddie pool, in Boca Bob's coconut coir grow bags!
John, I do have a bucket full of elephant garlic coming up for a 2 nd season right now. Even though I am using an eBucket, I bet garlic or onions would really do well in the larger container. I say go for it!