The benefits of bucket gardens are many. But why replace your functional raised beds? What’s so much better about bucket gardens? Is it really worth the extra effort? Absolutely! Here’s why.
Moving raised beds is intensive labor.
What if you mistakenly place your raised beds in a bad micro-climate? It can be a real pain to dig up and move all that dirt. On the other hand, moving your bucket garden is a snap. You can move buckets either on a dolly or by hand to the new location quite easily.
Bucket gardens use less soil and more.
A bucket garden is a square foot or raised bed garden, without the excess soil. You use only the soil you absolutely need. Therefore, you buy or mix less soil and need less compost.
Tip: When soil sinks in the fall or lessens after removing plants from buckets, replace it with leaves and grass clippings. In the spring, just mix them right into the old bucket soil for a boost of nutrition.
Fertilize and water plants individually.
Different plants need different nutrients. When all your plants are in individual containers, it’s easier to control what you’re feeding them. Bucket gardens also save water. You water only the plant, rather than the entire surrounding area.
Bucket gardens drain better than raised beds.
With raised beds, the excess water seeps into the surrounding soil, which leaves roots soggy. The holes you drill in the bottom of your buckets allow water to drain without standing on roots.
Want even better drainage?
Simply elevate buckets by setting them atop a couple bricks or a cement block. Be sure not to set them on the solid surface of the block. Balance them over the open holes instead.
Failing bucket plants are easier to relocate.
Maybe you have a sun-blocked tomato plant. Maybe another veggie is getting too much sun. With conventional raised beds, you’ll either have to dig them up and replant them, or suffer the consequences. With bucket gardens, you just move the bucket to a more suitable location.
Disease is better contained.
Even awesome gardeners fall victim to late blight and other diseases. When your plants are in buckets, you can dispose of them quickly and efficiently before the disease can spread to other plants. You won’t have an entire raised bed full of contaminated soil to remove, sterilize or replace.
Weeds are practically non-existent.
Weeding a bucket garden plant is so much simpler than weeding a large bed. Most of the time, since the plant is in a small, contained area, weeds simply have nowhere to spread to. When they do pop up, they are easy to spot.
Buckets are taller than most raised beds.
This makes them easier to reach. Isn’t that the whole point of raised bed gardening anyway? So, why not make it even better?
About that bed replacement labor.
Replacing raised beds with buckets is a one time job. Considering the many above benefits, it’s well worth the effort. It’s relatively economical too. You don’t even need new dirt. Simply shovel the dirt from your raised beds into buckets. You can even place the buckets back into your raised bed frame for a neater look. This way, you can use any old bucket, even if it’s not so pretty.
Note: Do be sure to drill plenty of drainage holes in the bottom and lower sides of the buckets before filling, amending and planting.