How to Make a Homemade Hydroponic System With Lowe's Buckets

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Transform 5-gallon plastic buckets into a mini farm.
Transform 5-gallon plastic buckets into a mini farm. (Image: Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Create a homemade hydroponic system with Lowe's buckets to grow plants anywhere and anytime. The hydroponic growing method in water is related to the use of greenhouses, where crops are grown indoors to protect them from the cold. Fabricate a simple hydroponic system utilizing two Lowe's buckets. One holds the water and pump, while the second bucket grows the plant. This system is ideal for a single large plant, such as a tomato, or two smaller plants, such as lettuces.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 5-gallon plastic Lowe's buckets
  • Drill with 3/8-inch drill bit
  • 10 lb. bag 50/50 mix of vermiculite and perlite growing medium
  • Potted plant base
  • Nutrient solution
  • PH paper test strips
  • 2 60-foot long and 1/4-inch thick plastic airline tubing
  • Air stone
  • Air pump
  • Submersible pump with a timer
  • Plant seedling

Turn one 5-gallon bucket on its side. Drill six equally spaced holes around its base about 1 1/2 inches from bottom using a 3/8-inch drill bit. This bucket houses the plant in the hydroponics system.

Fill the bucket with a 50/50 mix of vermiculite and perlite growing medium. These two minerals complement each other in hydroponic growing because vermiculite retains water while perlite increases aeration and drainage.

Pour 4 1/2 gallons of water to the other 5-gallon bucket, which acts as the reservoir. Add nutrient solution according to the manufacturer's instructions. Test the water with pH paper test strips. Depending on the type of plant, adjust the pH accordingly. For example, tomatoes grow well with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5.

Attach a 60-foot long and 1/4-inch wide airline tubing to an air stone, which are both found in the fish department of a pet store. Place the air stone into the bottom of the reservoir bucket. Insert the other end of the airline to an air pump, which is also found at the pet store, outside the bucket. Plug the air pump in an electrical outlet.

Insert the remaining 60-foot long and 1/4-inch wide airline tubing into a submersible pump with a timer, which can be found at a hydroponics supply store. Place the pump in the bucket. Place the other end of the tubing into the bucket with the growing medium.

Plant the seedling into the center of the bucket with the growing medium. Plug the submersible pump with a timer into an electrical outlet. Set the timer to pump water into the growing bucket for one minute twice a day.

Tips & Warnings

  • Place a loose-fitting lid over the reservoir bucket to prevent debris from falling into it.
  • Add growing lights above your plant unless you are growing it outdoors.

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