In Praise of Five-Gallon Buckets

First we bought three, then two more, then four more. I’m speaking of those five-gallon buckets that Home Depot sells for $2.34 apiece.


Yes, I know we could get buckets free from ice cream shops, grocery stores, etc. But part of what makes the Homer Bucket so useful to us is the ease of stacking them, and the consistency of their size.

Let’s talk about how we’ve used ours so far.

Amanda has one dedicated to her gardening tools. Whenever she heads down to Veg Hill, she grabs her bucket with her pruners, her kneeling pad, her work gloves, her scissors, her twine, and her trowel. Lately she’s been keeping her clipboard in it too. And whenever I load up for a job away from the barn, all the tools I think I might need go into a bucket to keep them organized.

We haven’t needed them yet for this, but we have grand visions of carrying five-gallon buckets full of produce from Veg Hill. And at the rate the Farmer-in-Chief is planting, that may happen soon!

I have six buckets dedicated to the composting toilet. One of the things Joseph Jenkins stresses in the Humanure Handbook is the importance of using identical buckets so they will fit securely in the toilet enclosure. That’s a no-brainer for us. And when I load up the full buckets in Tractor’s front-end loader to take them to the humanure compost pile, I grab two extra buckets and fill them with hot water to use for cleaning.

During the work on our irrigation system, I used a bucket for all the short lengths of various pipe we needed. And yesterday when I was digging a channel after a fresh rain, I grabbed a bucket to bail the standing water out of the ditch where I was working. And because I was working in the mud, I took my gloves off and just relaxed about getting my hands muddy. I kept a bucket of water and rinsed my hands off periodically before grabbing a shovel or a spade fork.

Just yesterday morning we were re-gluing some molding that had come loose on the floor of our little home here in the barn, and we needed something to weigh the molding down while the glue set. I filled three buckets halfway with water. Done.

We need lids for all the humanure buckets, but we really don’t need that many lids for the other buckets. Maybe one or two for all the rest combined would be plenty.

At last count we own 16 buckets. And we’ll probably add more.

2 thoughts on “In Praise of Five-Gallon Buckets”

  1. Every farmer love’s five gallon buckets. They have a million uses! Also favored are 55 gallon drums, coffee cans, and any sort of resealable glass or plastic jar. Butter bowls and other such plastic containers are not unfavored…

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