Dutch bucket hydroponics or Bato bucket is a hydroponic system that uses containers, or “buckets,” filled with a growing medium to support plants.
In a Dutch bucket system, each plant has its own bucket, and multiple buckets are connected to an irrigation system that delivers nutrient solution.
You can grow a wide variety of hydroponic plants in a Dutch bucket system: tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and strawberries. It is often used in commercial greenhouses but can also be used by home gardeners on a smaller scale.
How to make a Dutch bucket hydroponic system
To build a Dutch bucket hydroponic system, you will need the following materials:
- Containers or “buckets” for each plant – these can be any food-grade plastic buckets or nursery pots as long as they are dark to prevent light getting to the nutrient solution (which would cause algae)
- A growing medium, such as coco coir or perlite, to support the plants.
- A central irrigation system, which can be as simple as a water tank, pumps, and tubing.
- Nutrient solution, which is a mixture of water and nutrients that will be delivered to the plants through the irrigation system.
- A drainage system to collect and reuse excess water and nutrient solution. This can include a drain pipe and a reservoir for storing the drained water.
Happy Hydro Farm explains how to build the bench where the buckets will stay, drilling the buckets and the tubing necessary with precise measurements and step by step procedures
Bigelow Brook Farm shows how a dutch bucket hydroponic system works in real life growing hydroponics tomatoes
Dutch bucket hydroponic system advantages
- works with bigger plants – unlike ebb and flow or deep water culture, you can easily space the buckets as you need
- in case of diseases and pests you can easily eliminate the problematic plants and keep the rest
- the Dutch bucket system is designed to minimize water and nutrient waste
Dutch bucket hydroponic system disadvantages
- lines and drippers can clog
- the volume of pumped water should be monitored
- buckets might leak