Here are our buckets in the process of planting. We have the plants in, but haven’t added the black plastic to the top yet. This is a regular tomato plant and a cherry tomato plant.
Here are the plants about two weeks later. They’re growing like mad!
We’re using a siphon system to water so the plants literally require NO care. We do go admire them daily! My husband got a little fancier with the system than necessary. You can easily set it up as shown in the video below. (Good homeschool lesson!)
I also bought two zucchini plants and didn’t want to put them in separate buckets so experimented with some instructions I’d seen for using Roughneck totes since I had an extra one in the basement. It seems to be working well. We cut the lid down to create the reservoir and set it on 3″ lengths of PVC, somewhat like in this video. If you do some searching for “make your own earthbox”, “global buckets”, or “DIY earthbox”, you’ll find lots of examples and ideas. Several use colanders from the Dollar Store as the wick, which is intriguing.
We did our first couple buckets exactly as per the Globalbuckets.org instructions. I had a terrible time finding Dolomite. Apparently, we don’t need it in our area of the country. In other areas, you can buy a huge bag for $4. Not so, here. I visited every nursery and farm store in the area. I finally found that ACE Hardware would order it in for me. They have it listed as Agricultural Lime. Believe it or not, I can’t find it on their site to link to, but this is what it is. It’s only $3 for 6lbs. I bought two bags so I’ll have plenty for next year. I hope that saves someone some time. I spent hours trying to find it inexpensively in our area.
You’ll note I wrote “original” and “Miracle Grow” on the water tubes above. Actually, both are Miracle Grow, but the first bag fit the exact criterion listed on the global buckets site. The second one is just regular Miracle Grow potting mix. It has more forest product in it, though we did add some sphagnum, especially to the wicking area. I noticed most of the examples I saw used this basic mix, so I thought I’d give it a try as it’s the only one our small town had on hand when I decided to make another bucket. So far, the plant seems to be doing wonderfully.
Next year we should be able to use everything from this year’s set-up. We’ll need to add more fertilizer to the potting mix, but that’s it. I have leftover fertilizer and lime, so we won’t have to buy a thing. We’ll dry the potting soil at the end of the growing season and store it away for next spring.
Simple gardening works for me! To see more Works for Me Wednesday tips visit We Are That Family.