Can You Grow Onions in 5 Gallon Buckets?
Onions are a simple and easy way to spice up sandwiches, salads, soups, casseroles and more. In addition, onions come in a number of varieties including both hot and sweet, long and short storing, and red, yellow and white.
Then of course there are green onions that not only adds flavor, but color to any dish they are used in.
Onions are also fun to grow for both beginners and experienced gardeners and many people believe that onions that they grow themselves simply taste better than those that are purchased in a store.
And I’ve had some beginner gardeners ask, can you grow onions in a 5 gallon bucket?
If you live in an urban setting and you are probably wondering whether or not onions can be grown in a 5 gallon bucket, the answer is definitely yes. You can grow onions in a 5 gallon bucket as long as your bucket is at least 10 inches deep to make room for the onions and it’s roots to grow under the soil.
Here are other vegetables you can plant in 5 gallon containers.
How Many Onions Can You Grow in a 5 Gallon Bucket?
Each onion plant only yields one onion per plant; however, the good news is that you can plant 6 or 8 onion plants per 5-gallon bucket. Green onions are even better since you can plant green onions around the edges of the buckets in which you are growing other vegetables, allowing you to make the best use of your bucket space.
Why Grow Onions in a 5-Gallon Bucket (Container)?
There are many benefits to growing onions in 5-gallon buckets (or other containers). First and foremost is the fact that buckets are lightweight, durable and easy to transport.
In addition, for those people who want to eat organic, growing your own onions is not only cheaper, but allows you to know exactly what is used in your soil or on your plants.
Then of course is the fact that there is nothing like the feeling of knowing you provided some of your own food for your family.
Things to Consider Before Growing Onions in 5 Gallon Buckets
There are several things you will need to consider before trying to grow onions. Here is a look at just some of the things you will need to think about:
Variety of Onions to Grow
You will need to really consider the type and variety of onion you plan to grow. This is important because different varieties of onions require different growing times and different amounts of light each day.
Number of Plants You Want to Grow
You are also going to have to decide how many onion plants you want to grow so you can determine how many buckets you will need.
Seeds or Sets
You also need to consider whether you want to grow your onions from seeds or sets (you can even grow from plants that have already started.) When choosing sets you may have a more limited choice of the type of onion you can grow.
Elevations for Buckets
You are going to have to consider how you plan to elevate your buckets in order to allow for proper drainage.
What You Need to Start Growing Onions in 5 Gallon Buckets
Here is what you need to start growing your onions.
- 5- Gallon Buckets – You will need to collect clean food grade 5- gallon buckets
- Drill and Bits – Since you need to prepare your buckets for planting, you will need to drill holes in the bottom and bottom sides of your bucket to allow water to drain from the soil.
- Soil Mixture – A couple of weeks before planting you are going to want to combine your potting soil with compost to provide a nutrient rich soil for planting your onions.
- Fertilizer – Onions do best when they are fertilized with a fertilizer that is a combination of nitrogen, Potassium and phosphorus. A liquid fertilizer that is an equal mixture of phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium is best.
- Seeds or Sets – Of course you are going to need your onion seeds or sets so you can begin planting.
- Bricks or Boards – You are going to need either paving bricks or boards in order to elevate your buckets for proper drainage.
General Directions for Growing Onions in a 5 Gallon Bucket
Due to the different varieties of onions and the different requirements for each variety these directions for growing onions are going to be very general.
For more specific directions you will need growing directions for the specific variety of onion you are planning on growing.
Step 1 – Prepare your 5-gallon buckets by drilling drainage holes and filling the buckets with your soil mixture.
Step 2- Plan on planting onion seeds 8 to 10 weeks before the last frost date. If you are planting sets, then plan on planting them 2 to 4 weeks before the last frost date.
You can also start your onion plants indoors if you have adequate artificial lighting to meet the plants lighting needs.
Step 3 – When planting seeds sprinkle them over the soil in your bucket and then cover with about a 1/8 inch of soil. Onion plant sets should be planted about 1 inch deep.
Step 4 – Place your buckets on bricks for elevation in a sunny location. Make sure you check to see how many hours of sunlight your particular variety of onion needs.
Step 5 – Water soil as needed, making sure to keep it moist, but not overly wet.
Step 6 – If growing onions from seeds, you are going to need to thin out your plants once they sprout. Select the weakest plants and cut them off even with the base of the soil.
Step 7 – You may want to fertilize your onions every 2 to 3 weeks to ensure that they get all of the nutrients that they need to grow healthy onions.
Step 8 – In order to grow the largest onions possible, you are going to want to prune your onion plant that grows above ground. When the plant reaches 9 inches high then prune off half the center of the greenery with a slanted cut. Prune again when the plant reaches 12 inches tall.
Step 9 – Harvest your onions when the stalks turn yellow and begin to flop over. Simply pull up on the stock until the onion comes out of the soil.
Can You Grow Onion in a 5 Gallon Bucket?
As you can see, you can grow onions in 5 gallon buckets. And while onions are not the easiest vegetable to grow, it isn’t difficult if you take care to follow the directions.