liveonearth (liveonearth) wrote,

Bonnie's Tomato Bucket

1 large plastic bucket with lid
some rope or chain for hanging the bucket
a knife or saw that will cut the bucket
a sheet of heavy plastic
five tomato plants well started (she likes Bonnie's Best, a foot tall or more)
enough good soil to fill the bucket
a hook or nail from a rafter on the sunny south side of a building

Bonnie says she likes this method because it keeps the tomatoes off the ground without any need for stakes or string. She says the roots are resistant to cold being inside a plastic bucket in the sun. She gets more and larger fruit than she does from the same type of plants in the ground. This method appeals to me because I live in an upstairs apartment, and can have the plants outside my window this way. I can also take them with me if I move, though it might be awkward.

Bonnie's Method:

First set up your bucket so you can hang it up from a rafter. Bonnie uses three chains to the top edges of the bucket. She likes to set it up so the lid can be on the bucket while it is hanging.

Next, cut holes in the bucket and in the lid. The holes should be a couple inches across and more or less round. They are located as follows: one in the center of the bottom of the bucket. Four on the sides of the bucket, spaced high and low to give the plants room. Three or four holes in the top of the bucket, for watering and air.

Next, cut five circles of plastic large enough that they will easily cover the holes you've cut in the bucket, and overlap edges by at least 1 inch. Cut a slit in the plastic discs that goes from one edge to the center of the circle.

Hang your bucket somewhere easy to reach, to put it together.

Take your first tomato plant and work the soil off the roots until you can fit the root ball through the hole in the bottom of the bucket, with the plant sticking out the bottom of the bucket. Place a plastic disc over the hole, with the slit in the plastic fit around the stem of the plant. The sheet plastic is to keep soil from leaking out. Being nice to the roots, begin filling the bucket with soil, up to the bottom of the next lowest hole. Insert the next plant's root ball, place the plastic disc around the stem at the hole, and fill with more soil. Repeat until all the plants are inserted.

Hang the bucket in a sunny location on the side of a building. Water weekly. Enjoy plants that cascade but do not reach the ground, and a rich harvest, without need for a garden plot.
Tags: food, gardening, portland

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