How to Grow Tomatoes in a 5 Gallon Bucket


Growing tomatoes in a 5-gallon bucket is a way to utilize small spaces. The bucket can be placed on patios or a small outdoor ledge that receives up to six hours of sunlight a day. According to the University of Maine's Extension Service, the only drawback to container gardening is the tendency of container soil to become dry. Tomatoes grown in containers also need fertilizer on a regular basis during the growing season.

Step 1

Turn the 5-gallon plastic bucket upside down. Install the ¼-inch drill bit into the drill. Drill several evenly spaced holes in the bottom of the bucket for drainage. Tomato plants do not like "wet feet," so water must be allowed to freely drain from the container.

Step 2

Fill the 5-gallon bucket 2/3 to 3/4 full with the potting soil.

Step 3

Plant the tomato plant in the center of the plastic bucket. Keep the plant at least 1 inch away from the sides of the 5-gallon bucket to prevent overheating of the plant.

Step 4

Fill with the remaining potting soil to within 1 inch of the top of the bucket. Press the soil gently down around the tomato plant with your hands.

Step 5

Water the tomato plant to remove any air from around the roots. Since there are drainage holes in the bottom of bucket, you cannot overwater the tomato plant.

Step 6

Fertilize the tomato plant every other week with a 20-20-20 water-soluble fertilizer.

Step 7

Check the tomato plant on a daily basis. Water if the soil becomes dry. Remove any weeds that may grow in the soil around the plant.

Things You'll Need

  • 5-gallon plastic bucket
  • Drill
  • ¼-inch drill bit
  • Potting soil
  • Tomato plant
  • Water-soluble fertilizer (20-20-20)


  • University of Maine Extension: Growing Vegetables in Containers
  • Indiana University: Gardening Solutions
  • University of Nebraska: Tomatoes in the Home Garden
Keywords: growing in buckets, container growing tomatoes, patio tomato garden

About this Author

G. K. Bayne is a freelance writer, currently writing for Demand Studios where her expertise in back-to-basics, computers and electrical equipment are the basis of her body of work. Bayne began her writing career in 1975 and has written for Demand since 2007.