How tall are they? A 5 gal bucket is pretty small but will be OK for a first year I guess. Does the bucket have good drainage? I water mine (in 25 gal containers) every night because it's been in the mid to high 80s every day.
As for fert, I like the chemical route. A handful of some 10-10-10 or similar once a month up until I started getting cones. I also put the miracle gro plant food mixed with water in a spray bottle and hit them good every week or so. ALso, I kept them side dressed with some cow manure.
This late in the season I'm not sure what you should do. Maybe give it a little fert and see what happens?