• Hometalker
  • Greenwood, IN

Tomato Planters From 5 Gallon Buckets

3 Materials

I’ve never been much of a gardener. Nope, neither of my thumbs are green and I’ve come to terms with that. I don’t particularly like yard work, so I’ve actually been quite content with my shortcomings with plant life. Gardener I am not, but I love to DIY, so I wanted to share how to make an easy DIY Tomato Planter from 5 gallon buckets.
We planted tomatoes this year, and the reason I went with containers instead of planting directly into the yard is because my hopes and dreams for these tomatoes are that I don’t have to touch them until they are ready to eat—for their own benefit, really. In order to do that, I needed them to be accessible to my husband from his wheelchair. We could also move the planters around if we wanted to make sure they were getting the best light.
I intended on buying some large flower pots, but have you ever looked at the price of these suckers? The cheapest pots were $10 apiece and they went up from there. Once I bought all the supplies, these were going to be some expensive tomatoes! Yeah, thanks but no thanks. I’ll go the DIY route.
tomato planters from 5 gallon buckets, container gardening, gardening, how to
I picked up a few of those bright orange 5 gallon buckets at Home Depot and was on my way. The buckets were $2.97 each, so I paid less for three buckets than I would have for the cheapest large flower pot. In addition to the buckets, this project required spray paint and an electric drill, both of which I already had at home.
tomato planters from 5 gallon buckets, container gardening, gardening, how to
The first step is to add some drainage holes at the bottom of the buckets. This is easy enough by using an electric drill. If you don’t have a drill, you can also add holes by hammering a nail through the bottom and then removing it. I added holes about every 3 inches to make sure the bucket would drain easily. I also removed the handles.
tomato planters from 5 gallon buckets, container gardening, gardening, how to
It’s time to spray paint! You can skip this step if you are a fan of Home Depot orange (or whatever color your buckets are). I’ve been using Rustoleum Painter's Touch 2X Ultra Cover spray paints. The color I used for this is called Eden.
You should do multiple thin coats to get the best results. I ran out of paint on the third bucket around the top, but I was not about to make another trip for such a small amount of paint. I'm glad I didn't bother, because I like the striped effect I ended up with.
tomato planters from 5 gallon buckets, container gardening, gardening, how to
You can see that I didn’t paint the inside because I didn’t want chemicals leaching into the soil.
tomato planters from 5 gallon buckets, container gardening, gardening, how to
If you’re anything like me and can’t fathom paying $10 or $20 for something you will be filling with dirt, go buy some cheap 5 gallon buckets and spray paint and make your own! They aren't fancy, but you can’t beat spending a third of the price.
tomato planters from 5 gallon buckets, container gardening, gardening, how to
Check out my blog for this and other DIY tutorials.

Suggested materials:

  • 5 gallon bucket  (hardware store)
  • Spray paint  (hardware store)
  • Electric drill

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 4 questions
  • Jackie Byrd
    on Aug 11, 2016

    I tried to grow tomatoes in an above-ground planter and they burned up. :-( The sun and heat was too much for them. But, I want to try again after seeing your cute and inexpensive buckets. If I put a bucket on rolling dolly then I can more easily monitor the amount of heat/sun they get. (I like the orange stripes and the orange interior showing too). How much did the wire frames cost?

    • Kauai Breeze
      on May 15, 2017

      Move your plants to a spot where they will get a little shade in the hottest part of the day, but still get at least 6 hours of sun each day. A piece of cardboard next to them would also provide a little reprieve from the intense sun. Tomatoes need a lot of water and fertilizer every 3 weeks.
  • Cla9812287
    on Aug 17, 2016

    Do you buy regular tomato plants or the container plants for the 5 gal. containers? Clayre from Lima, OH

    • Amie
      on Aug 18, 2016

      I used regular tomato plants for my containers. Hope that helps!

  • Nancy Francisco
    on Sep 12, 2016

    Can I use your method to make an indoor garden??? Cherry tomatoes and domain lettuce????

    • Dfm
      on May 14, 2017

      tomatoes require full spectrum light as in commercial grow bulbs, water proof area- drain holes in the bucket ..and a bit of fertilizer. unless you try hydroponic. the min. amount of potting mix for a tomatoes is 5 gallon each plant.

Join the conversation

3 of 55 comments
  • Alan Toering
    on Aug 16, 2016

    I've gone even cheaper and buy $1 trash cans from the Dollar Store and do the same thing but I add flair to each can!

  • Wjo5975375
    on Aug 21, 2016

    I am so excited to see this idea! We have deer and rabbits galore, so I could use these buckets on my side porch where they don't venture. year I'll have tomatoes of my own. Thanks for sharing.

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