An inexpensive children's sand bucket makes an ideal watering tool.

How to Use Sunken Plastic Buckets to Water a Garden

by Victoria Bailey

The feast-or-famine method of garden watering by soaking the plants once a week is adequate for growing some vegetables, but a number of plants, such as lettuce (Lactuca sativa) benefit from a more constant supply of moisture. Buried irrigation systems can be expensive and out of reach for the casual gardener. Create the same effect of a constant slow trickle of water by planting your seedlings around a specially prepared sunken plastic bucket. Your plants will have a constant supply of moisture, eliminating the drying and perking up that so many plants suffer from with hose and sprinkler watering.

Poke a line of holes around the side of the bucket, right above the base. Use an awl or sharp screwdriver to create holes that are about 1/4 inch across, and space the holes about 1 inch apart.

Dig a hole large enough to hold the bucket right up to its rim. The placement of the bucket in the garden depends on your plants. Place the bucket in the middle of a circle of lettuce plants, but position one in between each tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) cage in a row.

Place the buckets into the ground and firm the garden soil around them.

Plant your garden seeds and seedlings around the buckets.

Fill each bucket with water up to the rim. Cover the bucket openings with discarded plates from your kitchen or a thrift store to keep dirt from falling in and to keep mosquitoes from laying eggs in the water.

Check the buckets every two or three days to see how often they empty out. Refill the buckets before they go completely dry to keep the supply of moisture to the plants constant.

Items you will need

  • Awl or screwdriver
  • Shovel
  • Plate


  • Drop a small shovel full of compost into the bucket before filling it with water. The compost and water will mix to create compost tea, which can be used as an all-purpose fertilizer for your garden plants.

About the Author

Working in sunny Florida, Anne Baley has been writing professionally since 2009. Her home and lifestyle articles have been seen on Coldwell Banker and Gardening Know How. Baley has published a series of books teaching how to live a frugal life with style and panache.

Photo Credits

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