Hydroponics is the art of growing produce, herbs, and other plants in a soil-less system that uses mineral-enriched water. Hydroponic systems are sophisticated to the point of requiring installation experts to assemble them; luckily, do-it-yourselfers can still make systems on their own that don't need special materials—materials that take months to recoup their costs. Simple, effective systems can benefit from hydroponic advantages with minimal effort and materials that you may already own.
Drill six to 12 holes 1 1/2 inches from the bottom of the bucket, evenly spaced to encompass the whole circumference. The holes should be between 3/8 inches and 1/2 inch in diameter.
Pour your growing medium into the bucket, filling it over halfway. If it is a soft medium, like sand, you should water it before planting.
Plant your seeds or sprouts into the growing medium and water them with a 50% diluted nutrient solution for two weeks to a month, depending on the plant. If the plant seems to be withering or unhealthy, go to step 4.
Increase the ratio of solution to water gradually until your plant is receiving only nutrient solution. Water your plant twice daily with hydroponic nutrient solution, or three times daily in an excessively hot and dry region.