A homemade hydroponic bucket system is easy to make and simple to use. It is based on the flood and drain system, also known as the ebb and flow system. One bucket serves as a reservoir for the nutrient solution. The second bucket--the grow bucket--contains soilless planting medium and plants. A homemade hydroponics bucket system is excellent for herbs, leafy vegetables or dwarf varieties of peppers or tomatoes.
Use the drill and the ½-inch drill bit to drill one hole in the side of each bucket ½ inch from the bottom of the bucket.
Insert one end of the tubing about 1 inch into the hole on one of the buckets. Glue the tubing in place with aquarium silicone sealant to prevent leaks. Repeat this step with the other end of the tubing and the second bucket. Let the sealant dry according to the manufacturer's directions.
Pour a layer of gravel 3 inches deep in the bottom of one of the buckets. Cut the piece of fine mesh screen to fit tightly in the bucket and lay it over the gravel. Fill the bucket with soilless planting medium to within 3 inches of the top of the bucket and set the plants in the medium.
Mix the nutrient solution with water in the second bucket following the manufacturer's instructions.
Set both buckets on a table or bench until the planting medium is well soaked. If the solution does not drain adequately into the grow bucket, set the reservoir bucket on a block so it is 2 to 3 inches higher than the grow bucket.
Set the reservoir bucket on the floor to allow the nutrient solution to drain out of the grow bucket. Repeat this process several times a day to keep the planting medium moist but not soggy.