Gardening · Homesteading · Urban Homesteading

5 Gallon Bucket Growing

With our cold and wet spring (and seriously…we had a wind storm last night into this morning that was winter like) I have been looking for options for peppers and some tomatoes to be able to grow protected, and to hopefully increase the crop production numbers. Bell peppers do grow here on Whidbey Island, Wa, but they run small and are typically thin walled if grown outside. They try, but let’s be brutal….it’s not warm enough with the constant winds. The winds at night chill the plants, even in the hottest days of July and August.

While I got plenty last year, you can see how small they were. And last year was a hot summer. Picking them, this was the common size.

I want more hand sized ones! This one was in an interior row so it stayed warmer.

Last week on a rare sunny (but still cool) day, with my brother’s help I pulled out all the tomatoes and pepper plants out of the greenhouse.

Did number counts and got them staked up (tomatoes are like a forest, where they all stand happy till you start moving them, then they flop).

I pulled out most of the peppers (though I sold a few to customers I like….) and got working on prepping a new home for them, for the season. Once all done, everyone got back into the sauna to warm back up. They prefer the greenhouse.

The peppers have been in the greenhouse from day 1. They were in 1 gallon pots the past month plus, and already starting to put on flowers.

I do not heat our greenhouse (it sits in one of the fields) and we don’t use grow lights. We prefer growing resilient plants that can handle the local land. Dense, stout and green.

You can use most any container to grow in, as long as it is 5 gallons or bigger. Use 5 gallon buckets, cat litter buckets, or even ones from restaurants and bakeries. As long as it didn’t hold car oil or chemicals, it is usually fine. Use a drill and the largest drill bit you have on hand to punch 5 to 6 holes in the bottom. Fill with well aged compost (we mix ours with coconut noir – similar to peat moss – to control water). Plant up and walk away.

We put our buckets about half way under the benches in the greenhouse, leaving a walk way.

Now we let them do their thing and grow in the warmth of the greenhouse.

And hidden is the first tiny bell pepper.

I am hoping this latest experiment goes well this season.