The Humble Plastic Bucket

By Mary Ellen Ellis | February 23, 2021
Image by Steve Dunning
by Mary Ellen Ellis
February 23, 2021

It’s not fancy. I don’t even know where it came from, but the tool I turn to again and again and continue to get use out of is my five-gallon plastic bucket. It has proven to be more versatile than any other tool, and if it ever breaks, I know it will be inexpensive to replace. 

My Favorite Bucket

My plastic bucket probably held something else at one time. My husband may have brought it back from the hardware store at one point. It’s not even as fancy as the bucket I use to mop the floors inside. 

This bucket is a versatile, cheap, and useful garden tool that makes many of my jobs easier. I don’t need a fancy carry-all, and for the size of my garden, I don’t need a wheelbarrow. All I need is my bucket. 

The Many Uses of a Plastic Garden Bucket

This simple tool is handy for several of my garden chores and tasks. Here’s how I use it: 

  • Moving potting soil. I do a lot of warm weather container gardening on my back patio. Reaching into the bag of potting soil is messy. Instead, I pour soil into the bucket and carry it around to the patio. It’s much easier to scoop out soil and put it into pots while keeping the area clean. 
  • Weeding chores. When I head to the back corner of the garden to weed, I take my trusty bucket, holding any tools I need. I dump those on the ground, turn the bucket over and use it as a seat as I pull weeds. Then, I can use the bucket to carry all the weeds back to the garage. It’s easier to lug around than a big yard waste bag. 
  • Patching up mulch. It may not do the job for a mulch overhaul, but on in-between years, I get a few bags of mulch and use the bucket to carry it around to beds that need a patch job. 
  • Picking up sticks. I have a lawn service to cut the grass, but I like to pick up sticks, so he doesn’t have to deal with it. Once a week I walk around the yard with my trusty bucket and collect sticks. I break them up as I go, so they’re ready to fit in the yard waste bag. I can carry many more sticks with the bucket and take fewer trips. 

A bucket is a modest tool, and not always associated with gardening, but for my money it’s the best, most versatile in my toolkit.

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