Here's my old Dutch Bucket set-up tutorial

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Rajun Gardener
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Here's my old Dutch Bucket set-up tutorial

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Post: # 3142Unread post Rajun Gardener
Wed Dec 25, 2019 10:27 pm

Dutch Bucket Instructional
I'm posting a start to finish tutorial with exactly what I used. Let's start with a parts list and then I'll go over the process with a few pictures. There should be enough pics of everything I explained and if you have questions just ask.

This seems like a long process but it's not, it goes fast since most of it is repetitive.

Parts needed: ***These are old links and the prices might not be right.
Reservoir, http://www.homedepot.com/p/HDX-27-Gal-S ... /205978361 $11.97
2" pvc pipe for the return, http://www.homedepot.com/p/2-in-x-10-ft ... /100161954 $7.24
2" pcv elbow, http://www.homedepot.com/p/2-in-PVC-DWV ... /100343360 $.92
2" pvc cap, http://www.homedepot.com/p/Charlotte-Pi ... /203811678 $1.64
1/2" cpcv pipe for bucket drains, http://www.homedepot.com/p/Charlotte-Pi ... /100170202 $3.98
1/2"cpvc pack of elbows, http://www.homedepot.com/p/1-2-in-CPVC- ... /100175252 $1.97
1/2 in. x 50 ft. Poly Drip Tubing, http://www.homedepot.com/p/DIG-1-2-in-x ... /100175565 $7.97
1/4 in. x 50 ft. Poly Micro Drip Tubing, http://www.homedepot.com/p/DIG-1-4-in-x ... /100170444 $4.27
1/4 in. Hole Punch, http://www.homedepot.com/p/DIG-1-4-in-H ... /100130448 $2.07
1/4 in. Barb Connectors (50-Pack), http://www.homedepot.com/p/DIG-1-4-in-B ... /100112605 $4.95
36 in. Heavy Duty Tie - Natural (10-Pack), http://www.homedepot.com/p/36-in-Heavy- ... /203531934 $5.97
Hillman Group Rubber Grommets 1-1/8OD x 5/8ID, https://amzn.to/39gGdFA $14.95 for 25
MQ 210-800GPH Submersible Fountain Pump, https://www.amazon.com/MQ-Submersible-F ... B07SG4FGP7 $18.99
Lamp and Appliance Timer, https://www.amazon.com/DEWENWILS-Christ ... 45&sr=8-49 $11.99
5 gallon paint strainers, https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XB ... UTF8&psc=1 $24.99 for 25
Perlite, go to a feed n seed store and buy in bulk. Most have them in stock. It should come in a 4 cuft bag for about $20 and that will be enough for 12 buckets.
Calcium Nitrate should be also available at your local FnS store, Southern Ag sells 5lb bags for about $10
Masterblend is the most expensive part besides a greenhouse. Morgan County Seeds has it. I ordered a 25lb bag for about $48.00 last year and that included shipping. I still have over half of it left and expect to get another 3 years out of it.
Epsom Salt is everywhere
I bought a meter to check PPM and PH but found it's not required but if you would like to have it then here's the cheapest I found and this is what I have. http://www.ebay.com/itm/US-Digital-Ph-M ... 1676009328
Buckets, I'm using the free buckets that bakeries get icing in. Walmart and Sam's are a good place to start. They only need to be about 3 gallons, I have 3 plants in 1 bucket and it works fine.
You can use anything handy to make the platform, I used 1 2"x4"x10' & 1 2"x8"x10', I'll show pictures of how I put it together
Next is the blocks to set the platform on, I had old 8" pipe laying around so I just cut it to make it work but any blocks will work. It has to be taller than the reservoir unless you bury the reservoir then measure accordingly.

WOW, this is turning into a project researching!! Now the easy part.

I cut the 8" pipe to 14" and set them on a 12"x12"x4" block for the platform. Any platform will work, wood framed or 2 Cinder blocks.

I screwed the 2x4 to the 2x8 on it's side, this gives it more strength and makes the top 9" wide. This also gave me a flat surface to ziptie the drain pipe.
image.png

I changed the routing of the 1/2" poly feed line, it tucks nice between the bucket drain and the zipties
image.png
After you set the platform on the blocks, level it and set the reservoir in place, I cut the top just like Bobby(MHPGardener) did and it works fine. I can remove the lid to refill and not have to remove the drain fitting. This is cut 11" x 14" but any size will work
image.png
image.png
Drilling the bucket drains are next, to make it easy to get a starting point for the 1st hole I installed a ziptie at the end of the platform to hold the pipe while I got in in position. You can use any method to install the 2" drain pipe, I had zipties and it was quick and easy to get a slight drop so it drains. I just tightened the last ziptie up and much as I could and then made sure I had a drop then tightened the others. Install the 2" elbow on the pipe and position it where you want the drain in the reservoir, Don't glue anything, they don't leak and you can always change things later if you need to. Once you're happy with the drain then mark your 1st bucket drain location. Now we have a starting point, remove the pipe and elbow, set it on a table to drill 3/4" holes at 20" apart. To get a straight hole pattern, use the markings on the pipe to drill the holes. You can see the manufacturers marking on the top of the 2" pipe, make your marks and drill away.
image.png
I know from the above pic that spacing looks good but it's too close. I drilled 3/4" holes every 15" for the bucket drain but it really needs to be at least 20" to get more airflow and light to the plants, this is like a jungle.
image.png
Next put the pipe back in place and secure it with the zipties so that it's lower on the reservoir side to allow it to drain, install the elbow and end cap. I drilled a 1/2" hole for the zipties, you can see in the pics that I just drilled through the 2x8 and ran the ziptie around the 2x4.

Depending on how much distance you have between the 2" elbow and reservoir, you may need a short piece of pipe to connect to the elbow to go into the reservoir lid. A short piece cut off the end of the pipe should work. Just measure to make sure it fits.

I used the 3/4" drill bit and tin snips to cut the hole in the lid for the drain, a 2 1/2" holesaw will work and be much easier.

Time for buckets, I drilled a 3/4" hole 2" above the bottom for the grommet. I tried to turn the bucket so the handles were on the side, this is where I tie the strings for support and I used tomato clips but you can just wrap the string around the plant as it grows. I also use the handle to wrap the 1/4" water line around for each bucket.
image.png
Install all the grommets, it's a little tight but not hard to get them in.
Next I cut a 6" piece of the 1/2" cpvc, this will go through the grommets and then connect an elbow to each end. Set all the buckets in place and measure to cut pieces from the elbow into the 2" drain pipe. I made them long enough to go into the drain 1". Make sure the elbow inside the bucket is pointed down to drain properly.

By now you should have everything done except the pump and water lines.
Unroll and cut the 1/2" poly to fit the system, allow a little extra to close off the end and make sure it fits the pump correctly. Feed the line through the zipties and bucket drains, when you get to the end just fold about 3" over to close off the pipe and ziptie it with a smaller size or use a piece of wire. Remove the pump from the box, inside should have a few fittings for different sized poly, install the one that fits to the poly. I think I used a lighter to melt the poly a little to get a good connection. Set the pump in the reservoir so it sits flat and the poly isn't kinked. Once your finished fighting the poly to get it to lay flat and neat it's time to punch holes for the 1/4" tubing. Use the hole punch and install the barbed fittings. I found that you need to pinch the poly on the sides to make punching the hole easier, you'll know what I mean when you try the first one. I made the 1/4" lines long enough to wrap around the bucket handles to help hold them there and then cut a 6" piece of 1/2" poly to insert in the perlite. By doing this it allows the top of the perlite to dry out so algae doesn't grow to crazy and it directs the solution to the rootzone. You'll have to push the poly deeper into the bucket then pull it up a little to unclog the poly, you'll know it's right when the water just flows through it and not fill it up and come out the top.

Time to fill the buckets, put a paint strainer in and fill it with perlite, it's dusty so be careful. Wet it down slowly and continue to wet it down till the water runs clear from the bucket. Set them in place when you're done.

Nutrients:
After 2 seasons using the HDX tote I know that if I fill it up to about 1 1/2" from the top that it close to 25 gallons. I mix all my solution inside.
Masterblend=72 grams
Calcium Nitrate=72 grams
Epsom Salt=36 grams

You have to mix each individually or they won't dissolve properly, I use an old mayo jar filled about half with hot water, mix and shake till dissolved then pour into a larger container. I do this for all 3 then just dump it in the reservoir already filled to 1 1/2" from the top. Plug in the pump and let it run for a few hours to flush out the fresh water and mix the solution up.

I have the pump plugged into the timer, the timer is set to run 15 minutes 3 times a day for established plants. I've found that when you put new plants in that they grow better running the pump 24/7 for about a week. This lets the plant grow new roots and get accustomed to hydro growing.

What plants to use=ANY... You can grow any plant from anywhere in this system. I bought Big Beef Hybrid last year and they grew fine. Plants are tougher than we think so just wash them off and set them in and watch it grow. I take a bucket of water and clean all the soil off the roots under water, it works well.

Now that you have everything, the extras come in handy. I can grow just about anything in a bucket with just perlite and the solution, tomato suckers will grow fast and still set flowers.

When I 1st put the system together I was always worried about doing something wrong and being extra careful about not allowing anything in the system. Well you can be careless and still grow well, I've had 1 of the water lines fall out and empty the reservoir many times and once you fill it back up the plants take off.

That little pump has ran dry for weeks when I thought I turned it off and it still works fine.
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Zone: 9A
Climate: Hot and Humid
Avg annual rainfall: 60.48"

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MissS
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Re: Here's my old Dutch Bucket set-up tutorial

#2

Post: # 3143Unread post MissS
Wed Dec 25, 2019 11:02 pm

Thank you Rajun Gardener for the great tutorial. This was explained very well, clear and concise, packed with the information that we need to be able to do this project. Thanks so much for sharing. Very much appreciated.
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Re: Here's my old Dutch Bucket set-up tutorial

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Post: # 3146Unread post arnorrian
Thu Dec 26, 2019 1:03 am

Great setup.
Climate: Cfa
USDA hardiness zone: 7
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SusieQ
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Re: Here's my old Dutch Bucket set-up tutorial

#4

Post: # 3168Unread post SusieQ
Thu Dec 26, 2019 7:58 am

Great set-up, Rajun!
I do hydro, too. Currently, about 65 buckets set up pretty much the same way. It's a wonderful way to grow, but the perlite busts our chops at the end of the year.
Do you have any tips on how to clean the perlite at the end of the season? We spend HOURS getting the roots/buckets clean.
Thanks,
Susie

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Rajun Gardener
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Re: Here's my old Dutch Bucket set-up tutorial

#5

Post: # 3173Unread post Rajun Gardener
Thu Dec 26, 2019 8:48 am

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

No I don't have any tips, it's just one of those things that have to be done. I do turn off the water and let the plants die to suck up all of the water the perlite dries out completely before I clean them. I saw MHP Gardener has a video showing his method soaking it in a 250 gallon tote with bleach but couldn't find that one and @Cajun-Hydroponics built a big 2"x4" framed box with a screen bottom to allow it to dry once clean. He might chime in and give tips.
Zone: 9A
Climate: Hot and Humid
Avg annual rainfall: 60.48"

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Re: Here's my old Dutch Bucket set-up tutorial

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Post: # 3209Unread post Cajun-Hydroponics
Thu Dec 26, 2019 12:23 pm

Rajun Gardener wrote:
Thu Dec 26, 2019 8:48 am
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

No I don't have any tips, it's just one of those things that have to be done. I do turn off the water and let the plants die to suck up all of the water the perlite dries out completely before I clean them. I saw MHP Gardener has a video showing his method soaking it in a 250 gallon tote with bleach but couldn't find that one and @Cajun-Hydroponics built a big 2"x4" framed box with a screen bottom to allow it to dry once clean. He might chime in and give tips.

Yes we built a frame that's 4 foot x 16 foot with 2x6 sides.

Stapled window screen down first the put rabbit wire across the bottom.

As Rajun said we turn the water off for about 3 weeks to get the perlite as dry as possible. Then cut the upper parts off the plants.
Dump the perlite in the trough. Shake and rinse as much of the perlite off the root system as possible.
Spray down with 1/4 Clorox to water.
It stays out in the weather so the suns and rain can rinse and dry it. We kind of turn it over with our hands every couple days. Nothing really intense just pass hands through it.
If we dont get rain for 4 or 5 days we give it a good washing.

You will loose some perlite through the bottom. The really fine particles. But we chalk that up to not having to clean that from the bottom of the tank later.

If you live in a windy area you will need to add a top on it... ask me how I know.. lol

Oh we do end up with a few grass seeds in the mix but nothing bad. This is the easiest and time effective way that we have found.

We usually do this at the end of June beginning of July because at that time of year here in Louisiana its lava hot in the GHs so there's not much that will grow.

If i confused you with something in this answer please ask away. Sometimes translating my cajun to text dont come out too well... lol

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Re: Here's my old Dutch Bucket set-up tutorial

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Post: # 3319Unread post SusieQ
Fri Dec 27, 2019 6:02 am

You built a trough for the perlite?! Oh, that's GENIUS!

So if you don't mind a few questions...
** How much perlite do you dump in your trough at one time? (I currently use about 65 five gallon buckets, and want to expand further.)
** Is the water from your clorox spray a problem for underneath?
** You mentioned covering for the wind, and I'm definitely in a high wind area. What did you use that would still let the rain pass through?
THANK YOU so much for your post. I'm even more excited for 2020 now!

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Re: Here's my old Dutch Bucket set-up tutorial

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Post: # 3324Unread post Cajun-Hydroponics
Fri Dec 27, 2019 7:25 am

SusieQ wrote:
Fri Dec 27, 2019 6:02 am
You built a trough for the perlite?! Oh, that's GENIUS!

So if you don't mind a few questions...
** How much perlite do you dump in your trough at one time? (I currently use about 65 five gallon buckets, and want to expand further.)
** Is the water from your clorox spray a problem for underneath?
** You mentioned covering for the wind, and I'm definitely in a high wind area. What did you use that would still let the rain pass through?
THANK YOU so much for your post. I'm even more excited for 2020 now!
Your so very welcome

1. We are able to put about 24 5 gallon buckets of perlite in it.

It gets very heavy when wet so make sure that what ever you use to sit the trough on wont sink into the dirt below when it rains.

I use a pair of saw horses to sit them on.

2. I am not sure what your asking about the Clorox. The trough is outside in the sun and the rain to help clean it. We saturate the perlite well with the Clorox solution and let it set. Then move the perlite around every few days. Also rinsing if no rain for a couple day. We leave it in this set up for 4 to 6 weeks.
Something to remember is that the sun neutralizes Clorox relatively quickly. And rinsing 2 times a week will completely get rid of any traces from what we have seen. Also the sun will bleach the perlite nice and white again.


3. To stop the wind from blowing it out I just made a frame from 2x4s to sit over the top and secured with a couple screws. To the trough.
Here with this you could get as fancy as you like. But I just used scraps of wood to throw this together. We didn't want it to be too heavy.

One thing with this was that we ended up with alot of rain the first year. Seemed like an inch a day for over a week. Alge started to form again on the perlite on top. I just mixed some more solution. But this tile 1/8 cup to a gallon of water. And sprayed well then moved the perlite around but had and rinsed well again with the hose. And it was gone.

**I did forget something about the trough. You will need braces on the bottom to help hold the screen and mesh from falling through. I used a 2x6 and ran them side to side on the 4 foot. Put 4 of them along the bottom. They are also a good spot to set on the sawhorses.
Also after all of that I cut some strappings from 2x4s. 3/4 of an inches thick and used to screw the screen and mesh to the bottom so that the staples would not pull out.


I will look to see if I can find some pictures of it.

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Re: Here's my old Dutch Bucket set-up tutorial

#9

Post: # 3334Unread post SusieQ
Fri Dec 27, 2019 9:15 am

Thanks for your reply, Cajun. The added info clarifies things for me. 'Cept I'm still confused about how you attached the wind guard. Was it over the top of the trough or along the sides to make it deeper. I can't quite picture it in my mind...

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Re: Here's my old Dutch Bucket set-up tutorial

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Post: # 3338Unread post Cajun-Hydroponics
Fri Dec 27, 2019 9:28 am

It was over the top.

I am sure that you could make the trough as deep as you would like. Even using 2x12s.

Here in town I will be having to make another one to hold about 80 5 gallon buckets full. I was thinking of using a 250 gallon tote cutting the top off. And putting a screen at the bottom but my issue I came up with that one was getting the perlite turned over, or moved around. It would drain but it would be slow..
It should let the fine roots that are left in the perlite move to the bottom or wash out if I would be able to turn it over.

I also thought about using 2x12s on the sides of the trough. But being in town my space is very limited and would rather a raised bed in that area than something that's only used for a couple months.

My thoughts right now are going towards the tote. And filling from the bottom. Once its filled with water it should be easier to moved around like a slurry.
Another thought was to use a piece of PVC pipe with a water hose attached and push through the perlite.

Its gonna be some trial and error for sure. Maybe when you make your decision you could let us know. And we could get some ideas form there! Or just use the same set up as you!!

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Re: Here's my old Dutch Bucket set-up tutorial

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Post: # 3357Unread post SusieQ
Fri Dec 27, 2019 1:08 pm

Well, you're just full of good ideas, Cajun!
I'm digging the trough idea for my needs. (Hopefully) Easy up, down, and put away for winter. For the wind, I'm wondering if I should just cover the top with tulle - we already have some on hand to protect cabbages and such from the little boogers that want to eat our stuff. Hmmm... you've set the wheels in motion...

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Re: Here's my old Dutch Bucket set-up tutorial

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Post: # 3360Unread post SusieQ
Fri Dec 27, 2019 1:19 pm

Oh, and thanks for the IBC thought, but I don't think that would work for me. We use ours to back-up the reservoirs and I find it heavy when it's empty, let alone with all the water and perlite weight added.
You must be one strong Cajun! :P

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Re: Here's my old Dutch Bucket set-up tutorial

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Post: # 3378Unread post Cajun-Hydroponics
Fri Dec 27, 2019 6:03 pm

SusieQ wrote:
Fri Dec 27, 2019 1:19 pm
Oh, and thanks for the IBC thought, but I don't think that would work for me. We use ours to back-up the reservoirs and I find it heavy when it's empty, let alone with all the water and perlite weight added.
You must be one strong Cajun! :P
SusieQ
I wont be moving mine. It will be staying put. Lol

Juat trying to save space.

I live in town on a 1/2 acre on the bayou. And it's very strange setup for the land because of the bayou.

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Re: Here's my old Dutch Bucket set-up tutorial

#14

Post: # 6215Unread post rdback
Sat Jan 11, 2020 10:08 pm

@Rajun Gardener Great post Rob! Don't know how I missed it. I've built something similar. I'm currently working on a solar solution instead of using ac. I don't have a clue as to what I'm doing, but it's fun!

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Re: Here's my old Dutch Bucket set-up tutorial

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Post: # 6241Unread post SusieQ
Sun Jan 12, 2020 8:19 am

A few years ago I ran across MHP Gardener's YouTube channel and decided to go all in. I didn't want to waste a growing season on a small experiment, so I just followed the step-by-step tutorials, put together a 45 bucket system with tomatoes, cukes and sweet peppers, and am I ever glad I did! The results have been amazing.

If I ever figure out how to get pics off my android phone and put on here, I'll do so.

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Post: # 6244Unread post SusieQ
Sun Jan 12, 2020 8:28 am

Just for comparison, I have hydro set in one greenhouse, and I grow in the dirt in another. The hydo veggies are a full two weeks earlier than those grown in soil (sometimes three)! Being first at market with fresh tomatoes is huge for my short growing season.

I've since added another 20 buckets (65 total), and am looking at creative ways to squeeze a few more in the system. If anyone is on the fence about it, I can tell you that it works! :D

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Re: Here's my old Dutch Bucket set-up tutorial

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Post: # 9726Unread post imp
Mon Feb 10, 2020 4:42 pm

That is a wonderfully complete and detailed instructions for how you did your buckets. Now, I just have to get my mind around all that informations.
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