My bucket garden is growing!
The mustard greens grown in the container gave me a good idea of the timing and light conditions for early vegetables. I decided to prioritize Spring peas and green beans. Peas and beans grow quickly, with peas coming in earlier, taste great and pack a lot of nutrition. The upright growth pattern makes them easy to grow in containers... and containers make them easy to move around to find the best spot (before they grow too tall and need support).
I considered this sort of a "survival" garden. Even if nothing would grow in the yard, peas and beans in containers should grow well, produce food and more seeds to plant. The early peas could be pulled after harvest and a quick crop of radishes planted, perhaps followed by Malabar Spinach... or even kudzu, with edible greens that would trellis on the same supports I would use for the peas.
I wanted tough, plastic containers of around 2 and a half gallons. It occurred to me that mop buckets would be the perfect size and have handles for easy carry. I also wanted the containers to be cheap - fortunately, the $1 store (Dollar Tree to be specific) about a mile down the road had mop buckets for $1 each. Even better, they had seed packets for .25 cents each! I assumed that the seeds in those packets would be older seeds, relegated to the discount rack, and the germination rate may not be great. So, I bought one seed packet for each bucket. I also bought a few backs of cheap potting soil.
I ended up buying a total of 17 buckets.... the first 10 worked so well, I went back and bought more to grow out some heirloom seeds I had been saving. So, a week after planting the first ten packets of seeds, and seeing them successfully sprout, I planted Dixie Lee field peas, Speckled, butterbeans, Cherokee Trail of Tears beans, Black Turtle beans, Purple Hull field peas and Zipper Cream field peas.
Being a Southerner, I'm kind of a legume fanatic... if I have some beans and peas, greens, pork seasoning and cornbread, I've got a meal!
The cost of my bucket garden was around $20 and labor was maybe 30 minutes. Drilling holes in the bottoms of the buckets was easy, because you can stack them together and drill 5 or more at once. I put four holes in the bottom of each for water drainage. I filled them with potting soil and used coffee grounds... poked the seeds in about an inch apart and watered.
So far, I am extremely pleased with the results!