18 gal utility tubs as containers?

steve_in_los_ososMay 28, 2011

My local hardware store has these on sale this weekend for $5. They are the sort of tubs with faux rope handles that some people use for giant outdoor ice buckets.

Anyone have pros or cons on using these for small trees, etc.? I know they would need drainage holes, etc. I am mainly interested in how they might stand up to the sun.

I spend 3 to 4 times that amount at HD for what is supposed to be an outdoor pot only to have it become brittle in a year (esp. at the rim) and crack if you just look at it sternly. So...how much worse could these tubs be?

Any experiences? It's a great price.....

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emgardener

Same experience here. Big plastic pots crack pretty easy.

Have some of these Home Depot tubs ($6/tub) as containers. The 2 year old ones also crack if you mistreat them.

Let us know if you find a lightweight durable 18 gallon pot.
I'd pay a lot extra for one, but never found one.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 6:30PM
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JVjava

Will 5 gallon buckets from Home Depot work for chile peppers?

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 6:34PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Yep, 5-gallon buckets are great for chiles.

Josh

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 7:14PM
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JVjava

That's good to know. I am looking for the final containers for my peppers when the time comes, and I was at Home Depot this afternoon, and saw a stack of Orange 5 gallon buckets for $2.49 each, which beats the price of any nursery pots I have been able to find. I can make my own holes for that price.

Thanks,

Jon

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 12:46AM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

I got the buckets with the rope handles a few years ago. They only lasted 2 years, and crack now if barely bumped.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 12:59AM
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rockguy(7a)

Shade pots/buckets in summer, it'll reduce IR and cool soil without shading plants.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 7:28AM
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steve_in_los_osos

So the utility tubs crack after two years also. But if the pots that cost 3 to 4 times as much do the same and you are going to have to replace the container anyway.....

I wonder if you'd get more mileage by giving the container an annual coat of paint? Just something to act as a "sunblock".

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 10:26AM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

Have you considered fabric aeration containers? I just planted a dozen smart pots for the fourth season and they are holding up well. I got 20- and 25-gallon pots from a garden center for about $12-15 each. They cost a little more to start with, but they're cheaper in the long run if they last a few years longer.

Here is a link that might be useful: Smart pots

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 10:42AM
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terrybull

is the anything out there that can be put on as a uv protectent. like a car wax?

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 12:01PM
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JVjava

That's good to know. I am looking for the final containers for my peppers when the time comes, and I was at Home Depot this afternoon, and saw a stack of Orange 5 gallon buckets for $2.49 each, which beats the price of any nursery pots I have been able to find. I can make my own holes for that price.

Thanks,

Jon

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 8:09PM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

I'm glad I only bought 1 of those plastic, "flower pot looking," 18 gal tubs w/rope handles, at Walmart a couple of weeks ago for $5.97. I'll see how long it lasts.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 8:41AM
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cebury(9)

The HD blue ones, that run $6 for 18gal ones lasted me two+ years. However, the most recent batch I purchased have cracked just removing them while stacked together. Exchanged them and sure enough, bumped it with a full gritty mix inside and it cracked along the top. This whole last batch for me was junk. They didn't look aged whatsoever, but I suspect they could've been stored in un-conditioned facilities.

OTH, Two other ones (don't recall the name brand) purchased as toy containers for my kids are now 7 years old. The first 3 years were used inside and it's on 4th year outside now outside and NO cracking. Wish I had known that at the time of purchase =(

I agree shading it will help reduce the IR heat and make it last somewhat longer, but even just heat of summer and cool winters make it brittle.

I think I'll have my boys coat a few new ones with that max UV Spar Varnish and see how it works. Probably not as good as just typical outdoor white paint. But then again, the changes in regulation for reducing particulates in paints and stains have crippled them for wood preservation. Who knows how well the made-for-plastic paint will work.

The best bet is probably just getting the larger sized nursery containers and protecting the outside from direct sunlight (by whatever means).

re: smartpots. I'm about ready to give up on fabric containers, in my climate. I've been struggling to keep trees healthy, in fabric, once they size up and fruit. Prior to that, they work great and have lasted a few years outside with no problem -- and are reasonably priced.

Heck, the white 7mil plastic grow bags for $1 have worked *excellent* for me with my blueberries. They are 5 gallon sized.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 6:12AM
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familyman2004(z8 MS)

Why don't you try some of the plastic barrels that have had food products in them such as coke syrup they come in several sizes and when cut in half make an ideal planting container. They will definitely take many many years in the sun. I am currenty using them only as a rain barrel but have been thinking about planting in them.

Family

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 6:22PM
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Jay5

I use the 18 gallon storage containers from walmart.
Sterilite I think is the name, about $4.50 each.
This is my first year with them so I can't say about the "mileage" but if someone knows I'd appreciate it.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 10:26PM
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lexie1397

I'm in my third year with tomato plants in an 18 gallon utility tote. No cracks, but it needs a rather light soil, plenty of drainage holes and I'd recommend wheels of some sort. I didn't do any of those and mine probably weighs as much as I do right now.
i don't get a whole lot of sunlight that low on my patio but this guy is holding up very well. There is some light areas on the rim and I think if I tried to lift it straight up it would crack, but the body looks great.
Be careful when drilling the holes-don't put too much pressure on your drill. I managed to make four cracks around the drain holes on the bottom when it was new before I figured what the REAL problem was!
If you can find some with more ripples in the sides and bottom, like a coffee can, it should hold up a little better

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 4:48PM
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