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Hydroponic Cultivation Systems with Dutch Buckets

The hydroponic cultivation systems with Dutch Buckets , have been used for many years for the production of vegetables both in large commercial greenhouses and for domestic use.
A hydroponic system with Dutch vases lends itself particularly well to customizations and can be adapted to any type of environment.
Plants grown with this system grow with roots in a substrate consisting mainly of expanded clay or perlite or a mixture of the two.
The Dutch pot is a plastic pot, available in volumes of 10 or 12 liters, with a particular shape that allows it to be positioned along a 50mm PVC drain pipe which collects the drainage of the solution and conveys it to the collection tank of the solution.
A pump will push the nutrient solution from the tank or reservoir, this will be distributed through a drop system directly into the respective vessels, bringing water and nourishment to the roots of the plants. The excess solution will be drained along the drain hose back to the main tank.

Dutch Bucket

It is a vessel characterized by a missing corner that allows it to be inserted along a 50mm PVC pipe that serves to convey the drainage water. Inside the pot there is a kind of siphon that prevents the substrate from ending up in the drain.


Inside, substrates such as clay or perlite are usually used, or a mix of the two. These types of substrate favor an excellent passage of air that brings oxygen to the roots, at the same time they have little water retention and consequently they will have to be irrigated for several cycles per day.
The frequency of irrigation will also depend on the size of the plant and the air temperature. It is therefore important to keep the substrate always moist and at the same time to encourage the passage of air
The special shape of the bowl ensures that there are always about 2 liters of water left on the bottom, which can act as a reserve in the event of pump failure or power failure.



To build a Dutch Buckets system you need to:

  • Dutch Bato vase of 10 or 12 liters
  • Drain / drain line consisting of 50mm PVC pipe
  • Solution distribution line in multilayer PE pipe PN4 (white / black) diameter 16 mm
  • Rubber pipe fittings D 16MM (tee, elbow, plug, valves)
  • Dripper + Adapter
  • Capillary tube in PE 3x5mm
  • Dripping stick
  • Water collection tank / reservoir
  • Water pump


Drain line

The drain line has the function of collecting the drainage solution from the vessels and returning it to the tank.

It consists of a 50mm diameter PVC tube, along which 26mm holes are drilled for inserting the vessel drain. PVC pipes require dedicated fittings which must be mounted with the help of a special PVC glue.
There are also types of PVC pipes with a sort of glass with a gasket that allows the fitting of fittings and extensions without the use of glue.
When preparing the drain line, a slight slope must be provided in order to facilitate the flow of the drainage solution towards the tank.

Solution distribution backbone

The distribution line can be made of multilayer PE pipe PN4 (white / black) with a diameter of D16mm or D20mm. This will serve to transport the water from the tank by means of a pump to the cultivation pots.

Along the ridge, deviations will be made which will distribute the solution capillary in the individual vessels. The deviations consist of a dripper, a removable adapter, a piece of microtube and a dripping stick.

Another alternative is to mount the drippers on a tube positioned directly above the vessels, in this case the use of a micro tube and dipstick will not be necessary.

To mount the dripper on the PN4 PE pipe, it is necessary to drill a 2mm hole with the appropriate punch or with an awl, after which it will be sufficient to push the coupling inside the pipe until it has completely entered.

The distribution line of the solution must clearly follow the arrangement of the cultivation pots and therefore doublings, deviations, curves etc. may be necessary.
These can be made by means of hose connectors (preferably with a tightening ring nut) with tees, elbows, caps and valves of a size suitable for the tube used.

It is always necessary to mount an in-line filter upstream of the drippers to prevent small parts of material that may be present in the solution from depositing in the drippers, obstructing the passage of water.

Solution Collection Tank / Reservoir


The tank contains the nutrient solution which will be distributed to the vessels through the water pump. Once drained from the vessels, the solution will return to the tank.


When sizing the tank, it will be necessary to take into account the number of jars to be fed. Taking into account that the Dutch vase holds about 2 liters of water on the bottom before reaching the level necessary for drainage, the tank must have an adequate volume to contain sufficient water.

Example: System with 24 bato vessels
Each jar contains 2 liters of water therefore 24 x 2 = 48 liters

The tank must have a volume of 48 liters + a reserve of at least another 150 liters to guarantee an autonomy of about 4 days. If greater autonomy is desired, the reservoir capacity must be increased or an automatic refilling system must be inserted (see floating valve).

In oltre la vasca di raccolta dovrà essere dotata di coperchio e schermata dai raggi luminosi per evitare la conseguente formazione di alghe. E’ buona norma (quando possibile) interrare la vasca di raccolta per preservare la soluzione dal riscaldamento, cosa molto comune quando si coltiva in serra durante i periodi estivi. Una temperatura dell’acqua compresa tra i 18 e 22 gradi aiuta a mantenere buoni livelli di ossigeno disciolto (DO) ed evita il proliferare di batteri anaerobi responsabili di malattie e marciumi radicali.

Water Pump

The water pump is the heart of the system, it will have to push the solution with a certain pressure along the distribution backbone and must therefore be sized to the number of drippers it will serve.

There are various models on the market that mainly stand out for their characteristics: flow rate and prevalence.

The flow rate is expressed in l / h (liters per hour) and determines the quantity of water that the pump is able to transfer in one hour. This value is intended as empty, in fact the flow rate is reduced according to the length and diameter of the outlet tube, any curves, climbs and obstacles in general.

The head is expressed in meters and means at what height the pump is able to push the water. This value indicates the outlet water pressure, for example a head of 2.8 meters indicates a pressure of 0.28 bar.



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