Create a small hydroponic garden by making a one-plant hydroponics system out of a 5-gallon bucket. The system is low cost and requires few supplies, available at most hardware stores, according to Hydroponics Simplified. Using a bucket creates a deep-water hydroponics system that works well for a single tomato plant or herbs.This method of hydroponics is geared to beginning gardeners or those that live in a small area or apartment where space is a factor.
Clean a dark colored 5-gallon bucket to remove dirt and residue. Rinse the bucket well so there is no soap residue.
Place a netted pot--adequate in size for the plant you plant to grow--on top of the bucket's lid with the top opening facing down. Trace around the lip of the pot. Find the center of the marking with a compass and draw a circle 1/2 inch inside the perimeter of the circle denoting the pot's rim.
Cut out the inside circle on the bucket lid with a sharp knife. Clip around the outside of the hole to the marking line to create flaps that will hold the netted pot in place. Slide the netted pot into the hole to make sure it fits properly.
Drill a hole into the edge of the cover large enough to fit the air pump tubing through. Attach one end of the tube to the air pump on the outside of the bucket. Slide the tube through the hole and attach an air stone, placed on the bottom of the bucket, to the end of the tube.
Add water to the bucket to a height so the bottom half of the netted pot is submerged. Add hydroponics nutrients following the package instruction for the volume of water in the bucket. Turn the pump on to circulate the water in the bucket.
Plant a seedling into the netted pot using hydroponics medium to hold the root ball in place. Rinse the roots of soil-grown seedlings to remove as much soil as possible. Place the pot into the bucket lid so the bottom half of the pot is submerged.
Place the bucket in an area with bright sunlight and keep the air pump plugged in at all times.
Monitor the water level in the bucket and add more as needed to keep the pot submerged. Add nutrients when adding water to maintain a proper concentration level.