Garden buckets, a personal “bucket list”.

Have you heard of the movie “The bucket list”? It details the trip taken by two men who work their way through a list of things they wish to experience before they die. The “bucket list” in the title was a roster of things to do before the movies main character “kicks the bucket”.



As a gardener I have my own bucket list. My list is not a morbid one relating to when I will pass on however. No it’s a lot more positive as it a list of handy tips utilising buckets as gardening helpers. Of course you know already how handy buckets can be in the garden, whether it be hauling compost for planting, ferrying water for irrigation, or acting as dead weed carriers as you scuffle through your veg beds. My “bucket list” contains one or two new uses for this traditional garden companion….

Tomatoes in a Hanging basket, photo / pic / image.

Tomatoes in a Hanging basket, photo / pic / image.

Bucket as a potting stand.
Ever struggled to fill your hanging basket with flowers, strawberry or tomato plants as it rocked this-way-and-that-way due to its curved base. Well, struggle no more. Simply stand it on a bucket to keep it rock steady as you fill with compost and plants.


Bucket as a trickle irrigator.

When you plant a new fruit tree or shrub you want to give it the best start possible. One of the ways of doing this is to keep it well watered until its roots establish, and can then pull reserves of water from the soil unaided.


Like many new toys the new shrub/tree is watered well on the first few occasions, that is until the novelty holding a watering can or hose wears off. Then there is the annoying habit that water has initially of spreading across the soil and away from the tree until soakage is achieved. All this can be avoided if you use a bucket, especially if there’s a hole in that bucket (dear Liza). :)


Place a ten-litre bucket with a small hole punched in the bottom at the base of new plantings requiring a drink. Fill it up with water, and then relax as it drains slowly, watering your plants over the space of a few hours. It’s an effective method that wastes neither water nor your precious time.

One other advantage of watering with this method is that it prevents splashes onto leaves. Splashes can cause scorching if liquid feed is mixed with the water, as can be the case with tomatoes. Splashes are also best avoided on plants that fall prey to fungal infections such as mildews on apple trees or gooseberries.

A blast from the past could help preserve your tools, photo / pic / image.

Bucket as a tool preserver.
Hand trowels, forks, spades and hedge clippers get very little, if any use over winter. The diligent gardener will normally rub these tools down with wire brush or sand paper to remove rust. This is then followed by a wipe with an oily rag before each tool is stowed away in the garage or garden shed.

Good practise, but I always found it annoying that I had oily tools leaving stains on anything they touched over winter. Then, come time to use the tools, I had to hunt around for them especially the smaller ones, ones which had a habit of falling down behind things.

I found a way to avoid this by filling buckets with dry sand to within six inches of the rim. Oil that I drained during my last oil change was then added to the sand. Just enough to give me oil coated sand, but not enough to form a gooey mess.

Rubbed down tools can then be plunged into the sand filled buckets. Left there, the tools remain oiled and rust-free. Plus it’s easy to locate them again when needed.

So there you have it, my “bucket list”. Not at all morbid, and more than a little bit helpful.

More debate about this topic on our forum, click Irish gardeners forum.

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