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How to Grow Vegetables in PVC

By Kevin Krause

Creating a PVC grow chamber is the perfect solution for those wishing to grow vegetables in small spaces without much hassle. This system is a combination of traditional soil gardening and hydroponics, and offers a portable garden that can be maintained on a deck, balcony, or even rooftop. The separate water reservoir chamber makes feeding plants easy, requiring only that the water be topped off every few days.

Cut four, 4-inch long pieces of 6-inch-diameter PVC pipe. Space these pipes evenly on their ends on the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket. These pipes will form the support structure for the grow media and plants.

Cut off the outer rim of the bucket lid. It should fit inside the bucket, where it will rest on the four PVC pipe supports. Cut a 1-inch hole in the lid and insert a grommet and 6-inch long piece of 3/4-inch PVC. The lid now becomes the floor of the grow chamber, and the pipe will act as the feeding point where water and nutrients are supplied to the root system.

Punch evenly-spaced 1/2-inch holes through the entire surface of the lid around the pipe. Rest the lid on the PVC support pipes.

Cut an inch-wide hole in the side of the bucket just below the floor of the grow chamber. Insert a grommet and push a short length of 3/4-inch PVC pipe into the hole. The pipe should fit tightly. It will act as drainage for the water chamber.

Fill the bucket with potting soil, compost, fertilizer, or some other grow media mixture. Do not fill above the 6-inch pipe connecting to the water reservoir below.

Plant vegetables as normal. Water the soil directly until the plants have established good root systems.

When the plants have become established, add water and nutrients to the reservoir below the grow chamber by pouring them directly into the 6-inch feed pipe.


Things You Will Need

  • 5 gallon plastic bucket with lid
  • 48 inches of 6-inch-diameter PVC pipe
  • 10 inches of 3/4-inch-diameter PVC pipe
  • 2 grommets
  • Vegetable seeds or young plants
  • Potting soil mixture


  • Use a high quality soil and fertilizer mixture designed for your vegetables.


  • Do not over water the plants at the beginning. Once the plants have become established, the water reservoir and drainage pipe will make watering easy, and will control the water supply without the need for constant monitoring.

About the Author


Hailed as one of his native Baltimore's emerging writers in Urbanite Magazine, for the past five years Kevin Krause has been writing everything from advertising copy to prose and poetry. A recent grad holding a degree in English and creative writing from University of Maryland, Baltimore County, his most recent work can be found in The Urbanite.