How do I Make Homemade Hydroponic Systems for the Ebb & Flow System?


Hydroponics systems allow you to grow plants indoors without soil, substituting an inert growing medium and a nutrient solution for the structure and nutrition that plants normally derive from the soil. Ebb-and-flow systems, also known as flood-and-drain systems, are basic hydroponics setups in which plants grow in a container that is periodically flooded with a nutrient solution, then drained. Although advanced ebb-and-flow systems with pumps and timers allow automation and ease, a basic ebb-and-flow setup can be constructed easily and inexpensively at home by the hydroponics beginner.

Step 1

Drill a hole in the side and near the bottom of the bucket. The bucket will hold the nutrient solution you will use to feed your plants.

Step 2

Drill a hole in the side and near the bottom of the plastic tub. The tub will act as the growing bed, so choose a size suitable for the number and types of plants that you want to grow.

Step 3

Insert the plastic tubing into the hole in the bucket and the hole in the tub. The tubing should protrude about 2 inches into the tub. Seal the edges of both holes with glue and allow it to dry.

Step 4

Cover the end of the tubing that protrudes into the tub with the plastic mesh. Hold it in place with the rubber band. This prevents the growing medium from washing into and clogging the tube.

Step 5

Fill the tub with growing medium to one inch below the edge. Fill the bucket with nutrient solution.

Step 6

Lift the bucket higher than the tub to flood the growing medium with solution. When you are ready to drain it again, lower the bucket beneath the level of the tub. Once you've soaked your growing medium, your hydroponic garden is ready for planting.

Things You'll Need

  • Drill with 1/2-inch bit
  • Bucket
  • Plastic tub
  • ½-inch plastic tubing (3 feet)
  • Silicon or epoxy glue
  • Plastic mesh
  • Rubber band
  • Growing medium
  • Nutrient solution
  • Seeds or seedlings


  • Virginia Cooperative Extension: Home Hydroponics
  • Hydroponics Online School: Building a Simple Ebb and Flow Hydroponic System
Keywords: DIY hydroponic system, ebb flow hydroponics, build hydroponic system, construct hydroponic system

About this Author

First published in 2000, Dawn Walls-Thumma has served as an editor for Bartleby and Antithesis Common literary magazines. Her work has been published academically and in creative journals. Walls-Thumma writes about education, gardening, and sustainable living. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and writing from University of Maryland, and is a graduate student in education at American Public University.