How to set up a simple Dutch Bucket growing system?

In the Hydroponic space, the Dutch Bucket system has found a lot of mention and a lot of favor from those venturing into cultivating vegetables such as Capsicum, tomatoes, Brinjal etc.

Dutch Bucket System:

Demo installation at CityGreen’s Urban Gardening Research center

A simple system that allows easy monitoring and variations to allow the user to try a variety of crops and the suitability to the type of methods of growing it.

The Dutch Buckets are central to a system that allows flexibility in set up and kind of crop. It also enables variation in the medium that can be used for growing the crop.

Why Dutch Bucket?

  • Simple
  • Cost-effective
  • Water saving
  • Independent growing for each plant so ideally fewer chances of diseases and transmissions of these diseases.
  • Greater control over each plant and its growth
  • This system can be used to grow many kinds of vegetables.
  • One fixed system at a onetime cost that can be used to grow multiple crops.

Materials /Components needed

1. A table / raised platform to place the Dutch Buckets. Or any area that is decided to place and set up this system.

2. One  PVC pipe (used for the nutrient solution to flow back into the storage container /drum).

3. A drum or container to store and use the nutrients to be supplied to the plant.

4. Dutch buckets with siphon elbows.

Joined elbow fitted in the dutch bucket

5. Lids for the Dutch Buckets (optional)- but lids are helpful if you are setting this up in open space and not in a Polyhouse protected environment.

Typical dutch bucket lid. You can either opt for one big Netpot at center or 4 smaller ones at the corners.

6. Net pots (again optional) but preferred.

One can choose to skip the net-pot and lid and use only substrate

7. Submersible pump (to automate the flow of nutrients to the plants).

8. Timer (to set timings for the nutrients to be supplied).

9. A drip line/ feed line (it’s a little pipe that can supply the nutrients).

10. Clamps (to fix the pipe on the table or surface).

11. Valves (water control).

12. Drill machine (to make the necessary holes to fit the Dutch Bucket into the pipe).


Time Taken to set up:  20 to 30 minutes.

Dutch Buckets can be placed on ground level or at a height.

For ground level, one has to ensure that the surface is even so that the fittings are done without any scope of being disconnected or disjoint.


Dutch buckets on a raised platform:

The Dutch buckets need to be placed alternately (like in musical chairs game) and the markings need to be done such that the outlet of the bucket is fitting perfectly into the pipe. The pipe needs to be fitted with clamps so that it does not move and is in a fixed position.

Decide how many buckets you are going to place and then get the siphon elbow connected.

Now fit these into the holes made in the pipe.

Cover the Dutch buckets with the lid. (lids generally come with an opening for the net pots to fit in)

In the Net pots put clay pellets and coco peat or any grow media of your choosing. Transplant the plant that has already germinated and has more than 8 to 10 leaves.

Connect the drip line from the first to the last bucket.

Then make the necessary openings in this pipe and fit it with another small pipe so that the nutrition can reach the plant directly.

Step by Step instructions for setting up Dutch Bucket system:

1. Place the  pipe on the raised surface.

2. Make the necessary openings/holes in the pipe to fit the Dutch buckets into these holes.

3. Place the Dutch Buckets attached with siphon elbows. Attach a small net/mesh at the opening of the siphon elbow inside the Dutch bucket to prevent coco peat/clay pellets from entering the pipe through the siphon elbow and blocking the pipe; thus, preventing water from circulating all through.

4. Place the feeding pipe across the Dutch Buckets.

5. At the necessary places where the water needs to be supplied attach a valve and a flexible pipe of 1-2 inches so that when the solution is given to the plant it reaches and enters right into the plants.

6. Now connect the pipe (1 ¼ inch pipe with an elbow so that it is placed in the drum/ container containing the nutrients)

7. Now u can connect the submersible pump in the drum.

10. Switch on the pump and check if the water is circulating correctly.

11. Now we can place the Dutch buckets with the plants

12. Option 1 – Fill the Dutch Buckets with a substrate of your choice (we use a mix of clay pellets and gravel in spread out layers), Or

13. Option 2 – Leave the Dutch bucket empty and fill the net pots with a substrate of your choice (we use a mix of clay pellets, gravel, and coco peat)

14. Now place these net pots on top of the lids which already has the slot to place it.

15. Switch on the pump to see if water is circulating sufficiently.

Time this for the number of times a day you need the plant roots to receive the nutrients. This will depend upon the temperature and weather conditions at the site of installation.

Voila… The Dutch Bucket Set up is ready.!!


Sometimes you choose your profession. Sometimes God chooses your profession for you. For me it was the latter – The quest to find purpose and expression came in the form of my work. A connection with soil, water, growth and life.

As a kid, I would secretly wish that grown-up life was just like my childhood – running around luscious green fields, feeding the farm cows, chasing and being chased by hens, goats, cousins, the wind in my hair, the rain on my face, the smell of the earth after a rain, and the sound of non-stop laughter.

It was a sad day, when I realised that my wish was just that – a wish! Its been a personal mission for me to recreate the magic of my childhood in any way possible and contribute to clean air, smiling faces, nourishing food, happier homes all with a sense of awe and gratitude. Thus I found my way to CityGreens – here I help people sow, plant, nurture, care and harvest plants. Through plants a better home and life.

When I was not running around and playing with my cousins and farm animals I also managed to do my B.Tech and MBA.

12 thoughts on “How to set up a simple Dutch Bucket growing system?

  • Suchi says:

    Great Idea to make the planet greener. Keep up the good work 👍🏻

  • Sujata says:

    Need of the hour idea. All the best

  • Mithun says:

    Great idea, exactly what our environment need right now!

    • Nidhi George says:

      Hi Mithun,

      Thanks for writing in.
      Yes its time for each of us to do our part.
      Keep Gardening!

      Team City Greens

  • Ajay says:

    Very useful information. Key part of Hydroponics is right mixture of minerals and knowledge of pH level of water. Do you have any thread which can give answer to it. I did some reading in past, but could not got any pointers, only possibilities were buy ready solutions from seller which can go expensive in longer run


    • Nidhi George says:

      Dear Ajay,
      Thanks for your query.
      yes the pH level is vital.
      Our Nutrient solutions are pH balanced to a great extent. So that part of it was kind of taken care of.

      Will write regarding the same and share the link with you.
      If there is anything specific that you are looking for regarding ph do let us know.
      Keep Gardening!
      Team City Greens

  • Rupesh Bhat says:

    I have built a 3 Dutch-bucket system in my balconyI. It took me 3-4 days to complete the set-up I got hydrotones from a local store and pored some of it to check the working of system and leakages. Everything seems to work fine. But the location doesn’t allow direct sunlight to the system. I have tomato, bitter guard and Green Chilly plants ready.
    What plants do you suggest I should choose to add?
    Can I add more than one plant in the single bucket?
    Are the lids necessary to be placed above the dutch buckets?

    • Nidhi George says:

      Hi Rupesh,

      Thanks for writing in.
      Its great to hear that you have set up the Dutch Bucket system.
      Plants would need sufficient sunlight to grow.So we would request you to pls check on that.
      You can grow brinjal, capsicum, cherry tomatoes.
      Lids are not necessary if you have filled the dutch bucket with the clay balls or clay pellets. Lid helps in case there is extreme weather conditions.
      As it prevents evaporation of water.
      Adding more than one plant in one bucket is not ideal for bigger plants as they need the space and support to grow.

      Hope this helps!
      Team City Greens.

  • Venkat says:

    which media works economical on commercial scale dutch bucket farm but also keeps plants healthy?

    • Nidhi George says:

      Hi Mr Venkat,
      Thank you for writing in!
      I understand that you mean the media for the Ducth buckets .. Right?
      In that case, fly ash or clay pebbles both should work.
      With respect to keeping the plants healthy.

      Hope this helps
      Team City Greens

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