can watermelons be grown in a 5-gal bucket?

Arlington, MA(Zone 6a)

- does it hurt the vines to hang down from the top of the bucket to the ground? i have a sunny spot, but it is not garden space, and the sprawl is not a concern.

- is that enough soil in a 5-gal bucket?

- can a black bucket be used (in MA), or will the soil get too hot? i guess i can wrap white posterboard around it. i think i just answered my own question, but i will leave it in order to harvest more wisdom.


Ozone, AR(Zone 6a)

You might try sugarbaby (a small melon.) You'd have to fertilize it regularly and keep it watered. The vines will grow down the bucket and keep going. I tried it once and decided it was'nt worth the effort.You might injoy it tho.

Arlington, MA(Zone 6a)

i have some small melons varieties to try.

what was not worth the effort? that variety, or the entire melon-in-a-bucket experience?

Pittsford, NY(Zone 6a)

6aseeder :
I wonder why your melons didnt make a go of it.
When I read the thread title,my first thought was Wmelons are usually hilled and sometimes that is so the soil doesnt get too hot.

I never have tried this but some plants just dont take to bucket growin,
Just my thoughts,I am not an expert.

Cocoa Beach, FL(Zone 10a)

I tried growing zucchini in a white 5 gallon bucket. The wind caused the stalks to rub against the top of the bucket and broke the stems. You might try wrapping the top of the bucket in something. I'm going to try a child's flotation tube (plastic blow up lifesaver) next time. it should offer some protection. The plant got quite large. I could move it around for maximum sun and the zucchini were delicious.

BUda, TX(Zone 8b)

I'm almost in the same boat, not sure if they'll do decent in a bucket. They SHOULD but with our Texas temps. I'd be worried about real hot roots cooking in the soil medium. I definitely wouldn't use a black bucket because it will increase the temps. tremendously. Instead of white poster board get some of that radiant barrier silver insulation you can find at Lowe's or Home Depot... Using the barrier will insulate the pot and will reduce the soil temperature, how much, anybodies guess, probably 15 to 20 degrees, just my opinion...

You never said what you were planning on growing but I don't think you would be too constrained because you can let them sprawl out and if one starts where it pulls on the stem, just put something under it to support it or pinch it off and let it fruit further down the vine. We started ours in an older RB and will let them run all over that end of the garden on top of the pine bark mulch. I'm going to try some Moon & Stars in different size aeration containers. I would like to hear how you work it out and if it works for you.

Arlington, MA(Zone 6a)

kevcarr59, great idea re: the radiant barrier & just picking blossoms higher up.

mittsy, great idea re: some cushioning. i might try grey wrap-around pipe insulation.

thanks everyone! i will try to remember to report back. (no promises)


BUda, TX(Zone 8b)

Donna, great idea about the pipe insulation, never thought of it. Plus most of them have a peel-off adhesive strip to attach it to the bucket... EASY PEEZY!!

Central, AL(Zone 7b)

Hi everyone. The topic of growing melons, veggies in containers is interesting. I've success growing bittermelon in this deep container in years past. So this year, out of curriosity. I tried some Pumpkin seeds. So far so good; the vine is looking 'adaptible'!

Now if the vine yields both male/female flowers in time. I'll have pumpkins. Supporting those large pumpkins as the vine is training up the arbor above -- should be interesting a- project!

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Pembroke Pines, FL(Zone 10a)

I grew my melons in earthboxes placeing three per EB back in 08 before I became ill. I grew tomatos in the winter months and melons in the heat of summer with great success as some of you may remember. Can no longer do any gardening but sure miss it. I have many, many more pictures . One of the pictures is a honeydew melon. I grew most every melon imaganable including canary and spanish melons and they were fantastic.

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Central, AL(Zone 7b)

Tplant, sorry to hear your health has declined. Thank you for sharing those pics. Those serve as an inspiration for others.

Arlington, MA(Zone 6a)

yes, thank you tplant for sharing your experience. i won't be trying the EBs (at least not first). i have learned to try the cheap way 1st, and we don't run so hot here as you do there so i hope 5 gal buckets will do the trick. i reckon i will still have to water every 2-3 days when our rain dries up in july.

i am sorry to hear you cannot garden anymore. i know i would miss it. in your 1st photo, i see your "wheelie cart". did that keep you gardening longer?

thanks again,

Pembroke Pines, FL(Zone 10a)

Hi Donna -- 5 gal buckets should work as melons love to grow downhill as mine did. Do not overwater as they were originally a desert plant as told to me many years ago by Farmerdill. They do need pollination so plant two in each container and just let them grow down. If you do not have bees in the area go to your local nursery and buy the flowers that the bees are buzzing and plant them between the melons. Eventually stop watering and let the plant and the vine dry up. Keep me up to date on your progress. Oh! Please use a Container mix and not a potting mix as the potting mix holds to much water and a cup of 10-10-10 mixed in the container or its equivelant.

Arlington, MA(Zone 6a)

thank you ted! so nice of you to share.

not to worry, i already plan to plant Anise Hyssop ( and many other insectary plants near by.

Arlington, MA(Zone 6a)

ted, your comment reminded me of felder rushing (i think) recommending pine "nuggets" in one's bucket mix to keep the mix from compressing too much. thanks to you, i remembered *before* i filled up the buckets.


BUda, TX(Zone 8b)

Talking about the cheap way, I'm going down that path right now. I just started doing containers and am realizing it's a bit of an expense to make up the container mix that Tapla promotes. I don't really mind the labor involved since that does cut down on some of the cost, but I am going to abandon using the 5 gallon plastic buckets. With the Texas heat, root ball problems, and a labor-intensive mix, learning about the aeration containers, had changed my thinking & that's the route I am going to take.

I have some 3 & 5 gallon pots from different manufacturers and will be doing some late season plantings to see how well they work. With an "off-the-shelf" media for the soil, it's cheaper and less work. At the moment I have 2 Moon & Stars WM that were purchased about 3 weeks ago, that were transplanted into 1 gallon nursery pots. They have some blooms and are starting to put out tendrils, so I know they better get into their final container and placed in the garden where they will hopefully produce a bunch of WM...

Using the 3 gallon pots for the WM since you want a smaller pot for the roots to make full use of the pot and soil. Will make follow-up reports to let everyone know how they progress.

Woodbridge, NJ

I was going to try growing WM in a container but thought it was a crazy idea since all my containers are on my balcony.

After reading this I should have tried. Worst case would have been an interesting experiment.

Longview, WA(Zone 8b)

Hi Seamus14,
It isn't too late to go ahead and try this year. Go out and find some plants and stick them in. Just Google wicking buckets for directions on
how to set up your bucket.

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