How to Grow Tomatoes in Buckets


Tomatoes come in all shapes, sizes and colors, and a good amount of plants can take up a considerable amount of space in the garden. Tomatoes can be grown in all sorts of containers and thrive, even if they are planted in buckets. To grow tomatoes in buckets, a few supplies and regular care will be needed. Once the seeds or seedlings are established, tomatoes should ready to pick in no time.

Step 1

Flip the bucket upside down. Drill three holes in the base of the bucket as though you are forming the points to a triangle with each hole evenly spaced from the other two.

Step 2

Turn the bucket right side up and pour 2 inches of gravel into the bottom, covering over the drainage holes. Set the bucket in a shallow pan or saucer to catch excess water, and place the bucket in an area of full sun.

Step 3

Add potting soil to the bucket to cover the gravel and fill the bucket up to 1 inch from the lip. Insert a tomato stake 2 inches from the center of the soil and push it down to the bottom of the bucket.

Step 4

Plant two to three seeds in the soil 1/2-inch deep in the center of the bucket and cover. If you are planting seedlings, remove them from their pots and set them into the soil with only the top 20 percent of the plant sticking up in the center.

Step 5

Water the seeds or seedlings to wet the soil evenly without saturating it. Keep the soil moist for the life of the plant, watering as needed when it is dry.

Step 6

Train the growing plant to hold the stake or use plant ties to loosely support the main stem of the plant without crushing it. As tomatoes form, the plant will need to be secure to hold the weight of growing fruits.

Step 7

Fertilizer the tomato with a low-nitrogen mixture, according to manufacturer's instructions, only until the plant begins to produce tomatoes.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't allow water in the drainage saucer to sit for more than an hour before emptying it; standing water invites disease.

Things You'll Need

  • 3-gallon bucket
  • Drill
  • ½-inch drill bit
  • Gravel
  • Pan or planter saucer
  • Potting soil
  • Tomato stake
  • Hand trowel
  • Tomato seeds or seedling transplants
  • Plant ties


  • "Vegetable Gardening: Your Ultimate Guide"; Robert J. Dolezal; 2000
Keywords: how to grow tomatoes in buckets, container gardening with tomatoes, growing tomatoes in buckets

About this Author

Margaret Telsch-Williams is a freelance, fiction, and poetry writer from the Blue Ridge mountains. When not writing articles for Demand Studios, she works for as a contributor and podcast co-host.