May 9, 2017
May 9, 2017

The 5 Gallon Bucket

Ask a farmer what their most important tools are and you will likely get varied responses.  Some may say the hammer to repair or construct their buildings or fences.  Others might mention the handy “Crescent” wrench or “ViceGrip” pliers to tighten (or loosen) nuts and bolts.  Other favorite tools are the screwdriver, torch, funnel or fence stretcher.  All those tools are important to us, but the one we might put at the head of the list is the 5 gallon bucket.

Every day we find ways to repurpose buckets


Most of ours started out their life containing paint, driveway sealer or oil.  After they are emptied – and with a thorough cleaning, we start using them to carry feed to our livestock, an impromptu tool box, storage for various “doo dads” and this spring they are being reused to feed and water our tomato and pepper plants.

We can’t take credit for the idea.  We picked it up from Tim Farmer’s show on Kentucky Educational Television.  Tim and his wife Nikki have a lot of great ideas and he shares them at  Like the Farmers we had tried various methods to “stake” our tomato plants; tobacco sticks, metal posts and those flimsy tomato cages you can buy at WalMart.  None really worked to our satisfaction.  Then we found this method using buckets, welded wire fence and a metal post.

We began by drilling 4 holes in the bottom of a used 5 gallon bucket and four more in the sides near the bottom.


I cut out 70 inch long pieces from a 100 foot roll of 3 feet tall 2 by 4 welded wire fence.


We used hog rings to connect the 2 ends of the fence pieces to form a cylinder.


We buried the bucket about 4 inches deep into the ground. All the holes in the bucket will be below ground level.

Then we planted 4 tomato or pepper plants around each bucket.  Each of the plants are near one of the holes in the side.  We put some calcium supplement in the bucket (to help prevent end blossom rot) along with some composted manure.  Then we filled each bucket with water which will seep into the ground carrying some of the nutrients with it each time we water the plants.

We carefully placed the fence cylinder around each bucket and tomatoes. Finally we drove a metal post beside the cylinder and secured the fence to the post with some safety wire.

The goal is for the tomatoes and peppers to grow up the fence and over the outside keeping the fruit off the ground and making for some easy pickins.  Additionally it is making watering and feeding much easier.  We should know about Independence Day if this system is going to work as well as we hope.  We should have fresh tomatoes and peppers for sale in late summer.

Our “Fence and Post” tomato and pepper cages

Live well. Eat well.



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