by Amber

How To Make Your Own Dutch Buckets

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When you want to grow larger fruiting plants hydroponically, like beefy tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers, you will want to give them more rooting space than crops like lettuce. Both tomato and pepper plants will live a long time allowing for a continuous harvest of fresh produce without the need to start your crop over. Naturally, since they will live for more than a year, they do get large. Pepper plants won’t get anywhere near the size of a large fruiting tomato, but they are the size of a shrub over time.

The best hydro system for these types of crops is the bato bucket or dutch bucket type with one plant per container. For all of you who have a really tight budget thanks to the still pitiful job market and economy, you can make your own dutch buckets very inexpensively with both used and new parts from your local hardware, Home Depot, and discount supply websites like Grainger.

Here’s Bobby, known as MPHgardener to walk you through making your own in the video below.

Plants this size will need an indoor growing space that can accommodate them too. However, unlike growing them outdoors where getting a big harvest means lots of planting space, being able to keep them growing year around lets you get more food from less space and fewer plants. So, it makes having these fresh foods in the indoor garden a lot more feasible, and allows you to grow them on the porch or balcony during the warmer months too. Of course if you have a spot for a small greenhouse, you can take full advantage of all natural sunshine and reduce the cost of your crop quite a bit. It is most likely that you will need to assist the sun in the cloudy months of winter though, and for many this means that they would need to provide heat in a greenhouse too. Only having to worry about lights, fans and other energy demands in the indoor garden can be a lot cheaper for people living in a cold climate.

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  • Tommy says:

    What kind of fertilizer would you recommend

  • Vince Valencia says:

    Can pumice rock be used for the media

    • Amber says:

      Hi Vince,

      Yes, you can use pumice. It has similar properties to perlite. I would think you’d want to stick to smaller pumice stones rather than large ones. Look at the size of LECA and expanded clay pellets for a guide. Too much air from large pieces would be as bad as not enough from tiny pebble remnants. Definitely wash it well if harvesting it from a local deposit.


The garden played a starring role from spring through fall in the house Amber was raised in. She has decades of experience growing plants from seeds and cuttings in the plot and pots.