Container Gardening Garlic and Onions


In this area, late September to October is the time in the Autumn to plant onions and garlic for harvest in the next season. This year I am experimenting with growing both in containers, including a few spare buckets.

Depending on where you are located, both onions and garlic that you can grow at home may be available at local heirloom seed libraries or farming supply stores. These garlic cloves came from a friend, and the red onions came from an heirloom seed supply in Thomasville. As it turns out, I wound up with way more onions to plant than containers to plant them in, so I’m going to try and keep the rest for later when more materials become available, or compost them if they rot in the mean time.

If you end up with too many, try planting at a friend’s house or perhaps even in public gardening areas.

The key for both garlic and onions is around ten inches of soil, so I was able to use a few large gardening pots, but mostly I relied on the 5-gallon buckets stores like Lowes sells. To convert your bucket into a planter, you need to start by drilling a few holes for drainage on the bottom. I also use leftover gravel to fill the bottom few inches of all my containers to further assist with draining excess water. While these veggies do need water to avoid stopping growth, we don’t want water to get stuck in the containers and freeze the bulbs to death.

Once my gravel was in, I filled each container about 2/3rds of the way full with soil and compost, then I tucked in my bulbs. Once we get some green sprouts going, I’ll add another layer of soil and compost (weather- and content-dependent, so as not to make it too susceptible to freezing from excess liquid) for added cover. I may even relocate some downed leaves to these containers instead.

We’ll check back on this project in the future!


Pat Mosley (NC LMBT #16882) is a licensed massage and bodywork therapist in the Winston-Salem area. His work is rooted in compassionate touch, permaculture, and deep ecology with the resilience of all Earth's children in mind. Connect with him via email to

DIY, HomesteadingPat Mosley