faithful4ever
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How much soil to put into a five gallon bucket

Hi all,

I am going to plant some tomato's this year in five gallon bucket . I was wondering if I had to fill the bucket all the way to the top? I am trying to save money on buying so much bags of soil and manure . Can I fill the buckets at least half way? Thank you all in advance :) happy gardening.

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Kisal
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The bucket should be filled within 2 inches of the top rim. This allows room for water.

I apologize, but if filling the bucket halfway provided room for a healthy root system to develop, then a 2 1/2 gallon bucket would be sufficient, which isn't the case. :(

This link may prove useful to you:

https://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/1000/1647.html
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

cynthia_h
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Please be sure to provide sufficient holes in the bottom of the bucket for drainage. If soil loss is a concern, fine hardware cloth/window screen will let water out while retaining soil.

I use fine hardware cloth at drain holes in my containers as an additional preventive for snails and/or slugs to lay eggs in the oh-so-convenient drain holes, too.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

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rainbowgardener
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If you were going to skimp A LITTLE BIT on soil, skimp at the bottom, not the top. That is put a layer of broken pottery or whatever you have on hand to take up some of the space and then put soil almost to the top. Otherwise your tomato seedlings when you plant them are sitting down in a well, shaded by the bucket sides.

But yes, you can't skimp very much or there just won't be enough soil to support a large tomato plant.
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faithful4ever
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Thank you to all for you advice. Rainbowgardener: I have some bricks Can I put that at the bottom of the buckets
? All my buckets have good drain holes ;).

faithful4ever
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Iam going to fill the bottom of the buckets with mulch.

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applestar
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I think. If you are going to do that, you should make it a mixture of compost, mulch (woody "brown" stuff?) an green stuff -- see the compost forum sticky. Hopefully, by the time tomato roots reach this layer, they will have broken down sufficiently.

Otherwise, when the roots hit all the browns, they will go into nitrogen deprivation shock, and you'll wonder what happened to your happy tomato plants.

Another way to stretch the potting medium is to mix evenly with about 1/4 sand and composted shredded mulch. This will aid in creating well draining soil and add bulk and weight to help prevent tipping over.

Note, though that most people who have grown tomatoes in containers say 5 gallon is not enough, especially with bigger indeterminate varieties. I decided to try growing tomatoes in containers as an experiment this year, and have chosen containers with 10 gallon capacity when filled to the top. I am growing two varieties that are generally described as 3-5 ft tall at maturity and recommended for/"can be grown in" containers -- Black Krim and Earl of Edgecombe. What variety tomatoes are you growing?



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