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How Much Soil & Dirt Do I Need to Fill a 5-Gallon Bucket?

Measuring the perfect amount of soil needed to fill a 5-gallon bucket is a bit challenging. Since buckets are usually measured by their sizes, not the amount of soil they can carry.

There is no need to worry cause here, we will provide you with all the necessary calculations you need.

How much soil & dirt do I need to fill a 5 gallon bucket? 

On average, a 5-gallon bucket holds about 16 quarts of dry soil and dirt and around .7 cubic feet of soil. A 40-pound bag of soil usually does the work as it can easily fill up a 5-gallon bucket. You should not fill the whole bucket with soil because compost and roots require some space.

Buying the right amount of soil could be a hassle as different manufacturers label their products in other measurements. It is wise to buy a little more than what is required.

Potting soil bags are sold in different sizes range from 6 to 60 quarts and 1.25 to 2 cubic feet. It is better to buy a little more than what is required for sudden mishaps. A 5-gallon bucket of dirt weighs around 36 pounds or .7 cubic feet.

This estimation is based on the average usage of water, the volume required for compost and roots. If your bucket tips over, you can replace spillage with additional soil you have at hand.

The exact amount varies because it depends on the drainage material you use. So, 5-gallon buckets usually hold around 35 to 40 pounds of dry soil or dirt. With a 2 cubic feet bag of soil, you can easily fill up 3 to 4 5-gallon buckets.

How much soil & dirt do I need to fill?

There is no universal scale to weigh how much soil you need to fill up your container. An estimation is that, for ease of calculation, one cubic foot equates to just about 30 quarts.

3 gallon bucket:

3-gallon buckets are often used to cultivate small herbs. It usually requires about .46 cubic feet or 13 quarts or 24 pounds of soil and dirt to fill.

5 gallon bucket:

5-gallon buckets are mostly preferred around households. You may find some lying around your home too!

These buckets usually can contain around .7 cubic feet or 16 quarts or 36 pounds of soil.  

7 gallon bucket:

Another good choice for growing flowers and vegetables that require more space. Great for root development too!

These buckets hold approximately 1 cubic foot or 28 quarts or 58 pounds of dirt and soil.

10 gallon pot:

An excellent choice for growing fruits or green, leafy vegetables. Roots get enough room to grow, providing you with more yield.

You can fill it with 1.5 cubic feet or 38 quarts or 88 pounds of soil.

30 gallon pot:

Best for growing figs or cucumbers. Large containers like this are commonly preferred when you want to grow several vegetables and plants together.

It holds roughly 4.5 cubic feet or 118 quarts or 270 pounds of dirt and soil.

12m inch pot:

12-inch small pots come in handy for small spaces. Great for both indoor and outdoor usage, plus serves well for decorative purposes.

13 pounds or 5.5 quarts or .21 cubic feet of soil can be filled in these pots.

How many bags of potting soil do I need for a 5 gallon bucket? 

You need four bags of 4 quarts of potting soil for a 5-gallon bucket. Two bags of 8 quarts and a bag of 16 quarts of potting soil will do enough to fill your 5-gallon bucket.

You need around .7 cubic feet of potting soil for a 5-gallon bucket. But it is hard to find precisely .7 cubic feet of potting soil. In that case, 1 cubic feet bag of potting soil will be optimal.

You should be looking for 4-, 8-, and 16-quarts bags of potting soil. If stores around you use pounds as a measurement unit, look for a 40-pound bag or two 20-pound bags of potting soil.

How many gallons in a 40 lb. bag of soil? 

You can fill 5 gallons with a 40 pounds bag of soil. Measuring dry soil is different from measuring liquid elements.

A dry 40 lb. bag of soil may seem large for a 5-gallon container, but don’t be deceived. After adding water to the dry soil, you can easily fill a 5-gallon container with a 40lb. bag of soil.

How many pots can you fill with a bag of potting soil? 

A bag of potting soil can come in different measurements. Typical measurements for potting soil are cubic feet, pounds, or quarts.

You can fill two 5-gallon pots with (i)one bag of 1.5 cubic feet or (ii)one bag of 40 quarts, or (iii) one bag of 80 pounds of potting soil.

Pot size 8-qt Bag 20-qt Bag 40-qt Bag
1 gallon2 and a half pots6 pots13 and a half pots
3 gallonsRoughly 1 pot2 pots4 pots
5 gallonsHalf pot  1 pot2 and a half pots
7 gallonsRoughly 1 pot1 and a half pots
10 gallonsHalf pot1 pot
30 gallonsA quarter of 1 pot
10-inch pots1 and a half4 pots7 pots
12-inch pots1 pot2 and a half5 pots
14-inch potsHalf pot1 and a half3 pots
8-inch plant bowls4 bowls10 bowls20 bowls
10-inch plant bowls2 bowls5 bowls10 bowls
12-inch pant bowls1 bowl3 bowls7 bowls

How many soil bags are in a cubic yard? 

You need a bigger unit of measurement if you have yards of space available. One cubic yard holds the same as 27 cubic feet. You need 27 one cubic foot bag of soil and 14 two cubic feet sized bags for one cubic yard.

25l bags:

You will need around thirty 25l bags of soil to cover one cubic yard.

One dry cubic foot is equal to approximately 28 dry liters. We multiply 27 by 28 to find out the total dry liters of soil required and then divide by 25 to get the number of 25l bags required.

20l bags:

Following the calculation done above, you will need around 39 pieces of dry 20l bags of soil to cover one cubic yard. These 20l bags give you scope for customization.  

40 pound bags:

A 40-pound bag of soil is equivalent to dry .7 cubic feet. To cover one cubic yard, you need 44 bags of 40-pound bag soil. Opening all these bags will be tiring, but it is excellent for using them in a customized way.

How many bags of soil for 4×4 and 4×8 raised beds? 

Size of bags 4×4 raised bed 4×8 raised bed
1 cubic feet bag of soil22 bags45 bags
1.5 cubic feet bag of soil16 bags34 bags
2 cubic feet bag of soil11 bags23 bags
8 quarts bag of soil70 bags144 bags
16 quarts bag of soil35 bags72 bags
40-pound bag of soil38 bags70 bags

How deep should soil be for containers? 

Most vegetables and flowers require about 6-8 inches of depth for roots to grow. Which means 6-8 inches deep soil is enough for containers.

Roots can grow adequately in an 8- to 10-inch-deep container. Tomatoes and carrots need a little more space, around 12 inches.

If you’re planting anything other than tomatoes and carrots, you are safe to go with 6-to-8-inch containers.

How long is bagged soil good for? 

Soil nutrients, moisture, and texture degrade over time. Whether you open the bag or not, these components of soil will lose quality. It is best to use soil from opened bags within 6 to 12 months.

And for unopened bags, it is best to use the soil within 1 to 2 years. After 2 years, it will lose most of its nutrition, and plants will not benefit from it. But it can serve other purposes.

Final thoughts

If you cannot find potting soil in quarts, look for a 40 lb. bag of potting soil. One 40-pound bag of soil and dirt is enough to fill your 5-gallon bucket. Or you can buy a 1 cubic feet bag of soil. Do not worry if you have some left. It might save you from unanticipated events!