Lacking a garden shouldn’t kill your dream of growing and harvesting fresh tomatoes. Growing tomatoes in containers, especially the 5-gallon bucket, is simple and easy to maintain. Besides, you can grow the tomatoes in a bucket anywhere, on patios, rooftops, or in a backyard.
So, how many pounds of tomatoes in a 5 gallon bucket?
The 5 gallon bucket is perfect for growing tomatoes but preferably one plant. Each tomato plant produces a maximum of 90 fruits, an average of 30 pounds. To ensure the best growing conditions in the container, use quality potting soil, good fertilizer, good drainage, and enough sun.
Read this guide to the end and learn more about growing tomatoes in a 5 gallon bucket.
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How Many Pounds of Tomatoes in a 5 Gallon Bucket?
Each 5 gallon bucket holds from 10- 30 pounds of tomatoes. Depending on the tomato variety and growth conditions, each plant can produce about 20-90 fruits.
Undeniably, a lot comes into play when determining the yield of your tomato plant. For starters, the type- determinant or indeterminate, environment, and the care you give affect the harvest. Caring for tomato plants in a container is not very different from gardening.
Similarly, you can ask how many pounds of tomatoes equal each gallon.
Generally, determinate tomatoes produce about 30 pounds of fruits on a single plant. Though the indeterminate type is unpredictable, it can produce more or less.
Aside from the type, the amount of care you give the tomato plant also decides the harvest expected. For instance, since the tomato crop is top-heavy, it requires adequate ground support, sunlight, and good watering and fertilizer schedule.
Nonetheless, the tomato variety also determines the size of the fruits. So, choose a good variety you are sure of thriving in your environment in a 5 gallon bucket.
How Many Tomatoes Can I Put In A 5 Gallon Bucket?
For the best results, plant one tomato plant, determinate or indeterminate, in each 5-gallon bucket.
Some people choose to grow two to three tomato crops in a five-gallon bucket. So, those who want large tomato plants should use an enormous container like a ten-gallon bucket.
Usually, the tomato variety is the primary determinant factor when it comes to the number. It would be best to play safe and plant only one tomato plant despite the variety in a 5-gallon bucket. This helps prevent overcrowding which can lead to your plants dying.
Overcrowded tomatoes are likely to contact and spread disease –plant diseases thrive on moist leaves. Because tomatoes thrive on adequate resources, overcrowding brings competition for the resources, which causes all of them to lose.
Is A 5 Gallon Container Big Enough For Tomatoes?
A five-gallon container is a perfect size to grow one tomato plant. When you grow tomatoes from seedlings, ensure you transplant them immediately after the roots grow from the drain holes to larger containers.
You can progress the size of the containers as the tomatoes grow. But, don’t increase the container size beyond two inches every time you change. This is because it’ll have you use more soil which the baby root system won’t reach, and diseases could develop.
For your tomato plants, the bigger the container, the better they thrive. Usually, a 5 gallon container is an ideal size that’s not too big or too small to ensure the success of one tomato crop.
A 5-gallon bucket with a depth of over 14 inches and a circumference of more than 11 inches provides adequate room for robust root growth. Besides, most vegetables’ success relies on the roots’ health and strength.
Tomato plants thrive in containers because of the portability of reaching for sunlight. Because tomato plants prefer warm soil, ensure you buy black 5-gallon buckets to absorb heat to warm the soil.
How Do You Grow Tomatoes in a 5 Gallon Bucket?
When you plant tomatoes in a 5 gallon bucket, there are essential features you should pay attention to, such as;
You can create your potting soil by mixing soil, compost, worms, and residue ground coffee.
Why is potting mix necessary for growing tomatoes in a container?
- Anchors plants upright and firmly
- Gives an aired platform for roots to grow strongly
- Absorbs and maintains water and food for the roots to take in
- Drains away excess moisture freely to avoid root rots and other infections
- Feeds the tomatoes through the included fertilizer
Preferably, use sand soil for making your potting mix. Sand is lightweight, loose, and well-draining to ensure water doesn’t log.
So, when you make the ideal potting mix, rest assured that your tomato plants will quickly absorb all the nutrients.
Feeding your tomatoes in the 5-gallon bucket or any other container would be best. Even though tomatoes feed on the soil’s natural nutrients, a good boost from fertilizers ensures they thrive better.
This is because the soil nutrients sometimes deplete, making light and steady fertilizer crucial. Remember that your tomato plants only require a small dosage of fertilizer at the right time. Excess fertilizer enables excess foliage growth with few or no fruits.
The ideal nutrients for your potted tomato plants include nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK). If you buy potting soil instead, you might find that with included fertilizer. Otherwise, use a tomato-specific slow-release fertilizer to feed your tomatoes.
First, fertilize before planting the tomatoes. Then fertilize again after 10-14 days of planting. Afterward, stick to a monthly schedule until harvest.
On the other hand, you can fertilize using an organic fertilizer consisting of a quarter cup of worm castings monthly for the first three months. The results are excellent!
Aside from good potting mix and fertilizer, consistent watering is ideal for your tomato plants. If you plant your tomatoes in a 5-gallon bucket, ensure you stick to an adequate watering schedule to keep the plants well-hydrated.
The best part? Watering your potted tomatoes is straightforward and takes a short time. Preferably, water the tomato plants deeply in the morning to ensure they have adequate all-day moisture. Plus, water directly at the soil without wetting the leaves – soaked leaves cause fungus and blight infections.
Most importantly, your container needs to be well-draining. So, drill enough holes at the bottom to ensure excess water drains out.
While watering, also ensure you get the right amount to avoid over or under watering. Your tomato plants start to wilt, dry, and die if they lack enough water from under-watering. Subsequently, overwatering causes root rot and infections from the roots to the stem and leaves, which also kills the plant.
All tomato plants thrive in full sun. You should ensure they take in sunlight for about 6 to 8 hours daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The beauty of growing your tomatoes in a 5-gallon bucket is the aspect of portability. So, you can quickly move your containers to find a perfect spot with a good amount of sun. To decide where to place the containers, go outside and inspect the sun’s location for the day.
Keep moving your containers until you find a spot with enough sun and monitor the different locations for the entire growing season. Usually, the location with full sunlight in the morning becomes shady in the afternoon and evening.
It’s also critical to know that though tomatoes prefer full sun, the extreme sun can be harmful. The harsh rays can weaken, dry, or kill young tomato plants. Usually, potted tomatoes are sensitive compared to hardened outdoor ones.
Aside from the sun, tomato plants also love warm temperatures. Some varieties can handle a temperature drop below 50 degrees. But past 30 degrees is harmful to all tomatoes due to frost and freezing.
Additionally, in extreme temperatures of over 90 degrees, the tomato plants fail to produce flowers. No flowers, no fruits! Thus, it would be best to maintain a temperature of 60 degrees to enable perfect growth.
Finally, your tomato plants require good support as they grow. Therefore, you should stake or cage your plants to avoid breaking or toppling because of the heavy weight of the fruits.
In this case, the bucket planters are a perfect solution. Because of the wooden frame, you can easily connect the metal fencing or stakes for that effortless and straightforward support.
If you are openly growing your tomatoes, you can attach a stake at the bucket’s edge to have a place for tying the branches.
How many pounds of tomatoes in a 5 gallon bucket?
From the extensive guide above, the amount depends on the tomato variety and growing conditions. But generally, you should expect to harvest about 30 pounds, about 90 fruits from your 5-gallon bucket.
This size is ideal only for growing one tomato plant to enable adequate spacing and nutrient intake for the best results. It also has a perfect 12-inch depth, enabling robust and deep root growth.
Nonetheless, if you lack adequate space for your container, you should look for a tomato variety that produces small fruits.
You should get a larger container if you want to grow more tomato plants at once.