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Self-contained Box Gardens: 5 gallon buckets

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joy112854
Crestview, FL

December 5, 2009
1:47 AM

Post #7336363

Ok, I decided to start putting together 5 gallon buckets to make self watering ones for my maters this Spring/Summer. I ordered 20 from Home Depot, pretty reasonably. I decided to stick with the 5 1/2" pond basket for the wicking device and go with a 3/4" PVC pipe for the water fill tube. One of the teenagers in my neighborhood has taken on the challenge of making them for me. He drilled the pond basket hole perfectly today, it fits snuggly in the hole, was really happy to see that; but, he pointed out to me that when you sit the upper bucket into the bottom one, there is not 5 1/2" between the bottom of the upper bucket and the bottom of the top lower bucket. Didn't Boca Bob say he used a larger bucket either in the top or the bottom in his design? Does anyone have a pic of it? Boca Bob where are you? LOL

joy

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

December 5, 2009
5:29 AM

Post #7337039

Why'd you start a new thread?
joy112854
Crestview, FL

December 5, 2009
7:18 AM

Post #7337188

Gymgirl: Cause I'm hoping someone will see this one, I'm not gonna use the colanders on all the 5 gallon buckets, I'm going to use the old stand by one, I bought these 5 gallon containers from Home Depot, and had these pond baskets (wicking devices), that I had left over from last Spring/Summer's tomato garden 5 gallon containers (that I had nabbed from construction workers). Apparently, though the Home Depot buckets aren't going to leave the same space that the other buckets did and I know that Boca Bob had used this 5 gallon bucket system a while back, was hoping perhaps someone could pull up the thread where he showed a pic of his and described it. I know Bob used two different sized buckets for his.
joy

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

December 31, 2009
6:05 PM

Post #7413525

Hey, Joy!

Why do you need a 5-1/2" space between the bottoms of both buckets? All you need is enough space so the bottom of the top bucket is not constantly sitting in the water. 1/2" to 1" ought to be enough space between the bottom of the top bucket and the WATER in the bottom bucket.

I found some huge colanders. Gonna see tomorrow if they fit inside those 20-gallon nursery tree containers. If they do, I'll start making a few larger colander eBuckets for stuff like the okra and maybe try a few tomatoes in those, just to see if there's a big difference in growth vs. those in the EBs.

Happy New Year!

Linda
joy112854
Crestview, FL

January 1, 2010
3:12 PM

Post #7416136

Linda: You amaze me with all you find to convert to self-watering containers, my kids think I'm nuts as every container flying through here, when it's empty I'm contemplating how I can turn it into a self watering container myself. LOL I am going to add brandywine tomatoes to my collection of tomatoes this year. RH Shumway has a sale on them right now, you can get 4 each of Brandywine, Red Brandywine, Black Brandywine, and Yellow Brandywine plants for close to $17, that ain't bad.
joy
Molamola
Christiansted, VI
(Zone 11)

January 1, 2010
3:20 PM

Post #7416208

I'm going to turn upside down black plastic pots inside my buckets. I wonder about the difference between a lot of water and some mix, or a lot of mix and some water? meaning different sizes of reservoirs.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

January 2, 2010
4:44 AM

Post #7418654

Mola that's a good experiment to conduct. I won't be able 2 determine how moist the colander eBuckets stay with our colander system, until the spring when I rip em. So far, the reservoirs haven't needed filling at all, but the plants r growin steadily. Feeding them has made me a serious believer. Feed them, and they WILL grow! I'm up to 16 cabbages, 2 broccolis, 7 bell peppers, and 6 tomato cuttings that are holding on. I planted 4 collards & 1 mustard plant in patented EBs 2day. 2morrow I'll sow seeds in our colander eBuckets for more mustard & collard greens. Also hoping 2 WS my tomato and bell pepper seeds in gallon milk jugs. Yep, my local newspaper said it's time to plant toms & peppers. And, who am I to argue? ^:-)^
Molamola
Christiansted, VI
(Zone 11)

January 2, 2010
1:15 PM

Post #7419145

wow, way to go!

We used to have a dairy with cows here, but the govt taxed them out of existence. So they sold the cows and shipped them to another island. The dairy still sells milk, but it's reconstituted ,,, dry milk from Denmark!

They sell the buckets it comes in, the dry, so I hear. I must go see if I can buy some.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

January 2, 2010
1:23 PM

Post #7419167

Mo check your local coffee shops for free jugs! Or a local kid care nursery. Save $$$ in 2010!
Molamola
Christiansted, VI
(Zone 11)

January 2, 2010
1:33 PM

Post #7419191

hmm, very tiny place here, but I do know of one coffee shop.

What do they have at a daycare?

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

January 2, 2010
1:39 PM

Post #7419207

Little childen and babies who drink milk!
Molamola
Christiansted, VI
(Zone 11)

January 2, 2010
1:43 PM

Post #7419217

they wouldn't have 5gallon buckets, would they?

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

January 2, 2010
1:54 PM

Post #7419245

Oops!
I was talking about one gallon Milk Jugs for Winter Sowing! Which is what's on my mind!
joy112854
Crestview, FL

January 2, 2010
3:27 PM

Post #7419615

Gymgirl: I know what you are talking about with the milk jugs; problem is, I know it wouldn't work for me, reason I use the self watering containers, whatever I plant directly into the ground never lives, even weeds die if I touch them. LOL My dad used to use the milk carton on his plants and they worked for him also, does for real gardeners. I got 10 EBs now, and 6 GPs and 30 five gallon container/3 1/2 gallon buckets, not to mention the 18 gallon totes. The 10 EBs and the self made 5 gallon/3 1/2 gallon buckets are all reserved for maters this Spring/Summer. The GPs are for my peppers and eggplants. I will use the totes for corn and okra, the ones that don't have cabbages or onions in them or the dwarf pomegrante.

How many peppers do you put in your EBs? I am thinking they show 8; but, still thinking 4 - 6 at the most for mine? I'm also thinking 8 corns per tote instead of the amount I had squeezed in there last time, 16 per tote is way too many.

Here is my tomato list types:
1.Radiator Charlie's Mortgage Lifter
2. Fred Limbaugh's Potato Top
3. Giant Belgium
4. Celebrity
5. Bush Beefsteak
6. Ultimate Opener
7. Glory
8. Window Box Roma
9. Delicious
10. Maskotaka
11. Brandywine
12. Brandywine Red
13. Brandywine Yellow
14. Brandywine Black
15. Porterhouse Beefsteak
16. Health Kick
17. Supersteak

My Pepper types:
1. Goliath
2. Big Bertha
3. Fat and Sassy
4. Super Heavyweight

My lone eggplant type:
1. Lavender touch

I'm having a staking system that will be built around my 5 gallon buckets and my EBs and GPs. Then, I'm looking for a master plumber to hook all up to a self watering device on a timer, will use the drip system.

Hopefully, all will work as planned.

I'm going to be using Boca Bob's infamous bury the stem routine with all the tomatoes in 1 gallon grow bags, they will go right from the seed starting kit right into the bags till the bag is full of coconut coir, then over to their final homes they go.
joy
joy

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

January 4, 2010
10:31 PM

Post #7427983

Joy,
Can't believe how vast your growing operation has grown in, what, a year and a half? And such phenomenal success. Congratulations! You have a green thumb indeed.

You're gonna deep root your seedlings in the 5-gallon grow bags and THEN transplant them to other containers?

The only veggies I have grown in my EBs to date are tomatoes, and collard and mustard greens. I'm probably totally under-utilizing this resource, as they have sat empty since my tomato crop failure this past season. Not one edible tomato...

I'll need to think through what the best use for my 9 EBs will be this Spring. Most of what I'm growing is in the eBuckets, and the raised beds. Not sure If I wanna put tomatoes back in the EBs but, definitely, not in the 5-gallon eBuckets either. I'm thinking into the 20-gallon nursery tree containers. I have 5 available. I'm also doing okra and eggplants in the eBuckets this Spring. They did well last season.

Also, I've got two 20-gallon Smart Pots to start potatoes in. I would like to try corn. And I definitely wanna grow southern cowpeas, and a few squash and watermelon. Maybe I could rotate these into the raised beds after the cole crops come out.

It's a serious orchestration to get all this stuff in and out, and ON TIME!

Linda

P.S. Keep me posted on what you're planting and where. You have good planting "sense".
joy112854
Crestview, FL

January 5, 2010
7:53 AM

Post #7429638

Gymgirl: I like you, have some 20 gallon smart pots on reserve for my potatoes next month, got beets and onions planted in the 15 gallon smart pots now but potatoes aren't till next month for me. I like my EBs and 5 gallon buckets best, probably because of the reservoirs, I just keep them full of water and it takes the guessing out of it for me. LOL If it weren't for that, I'd probably fail miserably. My first season of growing peppers, eggplants and tomatoes was an utter failure remember? I was lucky to get okra that time. I'm using 1 gallon grow bags from Boca Bob, they are really reasonable in price; so, you can afford to buy a 100 or so, and then when you go to transfer the tomato into the container it will stay in, you just slice the bags up the size, tada, easy to transfer the whole thing that way. The worst part is the spraying for pests, I don't always jump on it quick enough and will have to be on the ball with that this Spring I know. I have the right combo though that covers the broad spectrum so I'm hopeful.
joy

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

January 19, 2010
7:29 PM

Post #7476678

Hey, Joy,
Long time no hear from. What's going on in your garden?

I'm up to 41 milk jugs of winter sown veggie seeds, mostly the tomatoes.

I've got about 14 eBuckets going with cabbages, kohlrabi, broccoli and cauliflowers. They should be harvested right before the WS veggie seedlings will be rotated in.

This is a total orchestration.

Get back to me with what you're planting in your regular EBs. That'll let me know if I'm on track. Still got the entire 2nd raised bed that's unplanted...
joy112854
Crestview, FL

January 21, 2010
8:47 PM

Post #7482786

Linda: I haven't even started my seeds yet; and won't til the last 2 weeks of February, and then I'm going to stagger them, about 60 tomatoes the next to the last week of February and then the other 60 about a week later on. I have 30 five gallon buckets waiting, and 10 EBs just for the tomatoes. They will be the first seeds planted of course, followed by the corn, okra, eggplants and that should be just about it. I have ordered 12 pepper plants from Shumways. I am going to try and grow my eggplant from seeds, I have both the lavender touch and the black beauty seeds. I have cheated this time, as I'm getting 16 brandywine tomato plants from Shumways and about 12 from Burpees this Spring. That will give me 20 different varieties of tomatoes in my garden this year.
joy

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

January 21, 2010
11:29 PM

Post #7483338

Joy,
I have Emerald Giand and King of the North bell pepper seedlings up for about 1 week now. Will try to keep them happy until the end of March.
joy112854
Crestview, FL

January 22, 2010
4:44 AM

Post #7484532

I'm starting to empty out all the totes now, except for beets, cabbage (just 2 made it past the freeze), onions and strawberries. My EBs are being emptied of potting mix as i can get to them to be put away til Spring. Only thing I got to plant til March is potatoes and that won't be till February. Gives me time to plan the stategy and what will go where. Still gotta get my okra seeds though, haven't decided which to get yet, are you growing okra this year?
joy

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

January 22, 2010
6:01 AM

Post #7484657

Yeah, I'm gonna do okra, really for the first time. I started my seedlings so late last season, I didn't hardly get any okra. I did manage to leave a coupla huge pods to dry and I've harvested seeds for this year's crop. That's my goal -- to make the garden start paying for itself.

I'm gonna try to sell all the excess heirloom veggie seedlings I grow past what I'll use for myself. I'll sell em relatively dirt cheap compared to what they sell at HD and Lowes for everyday garden variety seedlings.

I'm "chitting" (sprouting) 4 varieties of seed potatoes for plant out in about another week. How come you're waiting so long to plant your taters? Potatoes like cool soil. Is it too cold there now for you to start some? I'm using 20-gallon Smart Pots and will use about 6-8 potting mix to start them in. Then, as they vine up, I'll cover the vines with leaves.

I have Kennebecs, Red Thumbs, Purple Vikings, and Yukon Golds. Although I'll plant them at the same time, they are late-, mid-, and early-season potatoes, so I should have a continuous harvest for a loooooooooooooong time!
joy112854
Crestview, FL

January 22, 2010
1:26 PM

Post #7485005

Linda: I ordered my potatoes from Gurneys and they are not due to ship until February. That is the nice thing about seed starting though, you can start your garden when you want to, not when the seed companies think you should right? LOL Okra is really easy to grow, I just plant it and let it take off here in my part of the world. It's still too chancy to plant much of anything except potatoes, strawberries, cabbages, onions, beets and other cool weather crops right now. But, clean up and preparing for Spring has kept me busy. I'm taking the legs off the yard sale tables I bought to build a make-shift frame around the 5 gallon buckets of which I will then only have to buy a few pieces of wood for the ends and tie twine to, for the purpose of staking the tomatoes that the 5 gallon buckets will hold. Bob has these 1 gallon bags really reasonable, that I bought 100 of and am going to bury the stem to the tomatoes I grow in, then transfer them to the 5 gallon buckets and give the rest away as gifts for others to grow to maturity. I'm planning a self watering system for the garden also. Okra loves hot weather and just flourishes when the temps get hot, so they are usually the last thing I plant.
joy

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

January 22, 2010
2:49 PM

Post #7485231

Hey, Joy,
I've started seedlings for about 18 varieties of tomatoes, in milk jugs. Once they come up, I'm gonna transplant the few I intend to keep into those tall round plastic Cheeto and pork skin cannisters you get at Sam's/Costco.

I'm hoping to deep root them in those as they come up, and then transplant them to the 20-gallon tree containers. They're about 12-14" tall, so I should have a good root ball to transplant.

I bought all new seeds this season, 'cause my crops weren't doing so well since my success from 2007-2008. I suspected either contaminated soil or bad seeds. So, I'll be using all fresh stuff this season, and I pray for a bountiful harvest.

So far, the cole crops are doing fantastic. Wish I had planted more cabbages to give away! My next move will be to start cleaning out my freezers to process all these cabbages I do have!

Hugs!

P.S. Have you read the news about DAVE'S GARDEN having been sold? Go to the link at any of several threads I started to alert our gardeners. We need to post comments so the new owners will know that we stand behind DAVE, TRISH, MELODY, AND THE UBERS BEING KEPT ON AS EMPLOYEES OR WE WILL NOT RENEW OUR MEMBERSHIPS.
joy112854
Crestview, FL

January 22, 2010
5:32 PM

Post #7485753

Linda: I read all that and I hope Dave and others will stay, they are the Daves Garden Club right? I'm having quite a problem here as of now, I was cleaning out all the self watering containers I used last Spring, and when I had cleaned them and stored them the 5 gallon buckets stuck together and even my daughter and I each taking one bucket and tugging they won't seperate. Have you had that problem? Any suggestions would be appreciated here. I am planning to renovate the older ones and put a 5 gallon bucket with a 3 1/2 gallon one this time and hopefully they won't stick as easily? I am now the proud owner of 30 five/3 1/2 gallon buckets, with 10 EBs, that means 50 tomatoes this Spring and the 6 GPs I will use for my eggplants and peppers, using totes for okra, corn and anything else I grow. I just want to sanitize them all first.
joy

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

January 22, 2010
7:06 PM

Post #7485961

Joy,
I posted for an answer to this over in the Handyman Forum, and they said to spray some PAM or WD40 down into the cracks so it'll drip down. Once a little bit gets in, the buckets should separate.

Someone also suggested using the hose to put some water in. Long as the seal gets broken, they'll come apart.

I'd try the WD40 or some cooking oil. Just make a quick ring around the inside bucket and let it drip inside.

LMK how this works!
joy112854
Crestview, FL

January 22, 2010
7:25 PM

Post #7486025

Linda: Thanks I got some Pam Spray, so I'll get to it. I have decided to renovate them from last year, by adding the appropriate size bucket to them this year, which will probably wind up giving me around 36 of them instead of the 30; but, that's quite alright, the more the merrier.
joy

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