Learn to make your own homemade hydroponics system to grow virtually any plant, vegetable and fruit without soil.
The Dutch Pot is also known as the poor man's hydroponics gardening system, but don't let the name fool you, it's a rather efficient way of growing hydroponic vegetables using PVC piping. Find out how to build one in this article.
The poor man's Dutch pot is one of the most popular hydroponics systems around and for a good reason: it's cheap, light, efficient and very easy to build. Growing hydroponic vegetables using PVC Dutch Pot systems is also a great way to experiment if you're new in the field. Let's go through the components you will be using and then start building it step by step.
You can purchase some of the components from your local store (Home Depot, Walmart, etc) or order them online from a recommended hydroponics store.
Besides these components, you'll need a drill to get holes through the PVC pipes and the container, a pair of scissors and a hacksaw in case you can't find the right dimensions for the pipes and you need to cut them to fit your Dutch Pot system. All in all, it should amount to a very small cost when compared to many other PVC hydroponics systems, especially considering that the 5 gallon container can be a bucket found around the house.
First off, pick up your hand drill and put a 1 inch hole in your container, around 3 inches from its bottom. In order to find out exactly where you need to drill you can place one of the ½ inch elbows on the 8 inch pipe inside the bottom of the container and raise it 1 inch. This should tell you where to put the hole through in the container, with the end of the pipe being your spot.
Once the hole is drilled, place the grommet inside it and fix it. You'll find out if the hole you drilled was on the correct position when you insert the grommet, but don't worry if it's slightly off the mark. It doesn't have to be perfect in order to work, although the pipe elbow shouldn't be too close to the floor. Also, make sure the grommet fits the exact size of the PVC pipe and keeps it steady in place. There shouldn't be any movement between the pipe and the grommet. In a perfect fit, you might have a hard time inserting the pipe through the grommet, so you can simply use some lubricant to get it inside all the way. This is probably the trickiest part when making the PVC hydroponics Dutch Pot, so one you get this done right, it's a walk in the park from there on.
The pipe should be pushed half way through the grommet, with one half inside the container and one half outside of it, hopefully at symmetrical distance. Place the two elbows on each of the pipe's sides (or just place the second elbow inside the container if you already had the first elbow up).
The lid needs three holes drilled in it. One for the drain pipe, one for the pump and one for the pump extension cord. Usually, ½ inch holes should cut it, but it depends on what you're using. Use a vinyl tube to connect a water hose to the PVC pipe and use an end cap to seal it tight.
Because it's harder to refill the nutrient solution or add the fertilizers in the current state of your PVC hydroponics system, you can use a secondary container mounted on top of a vertical pipe (use a double headed elbow and a short vertical pipe for this) to allow you to refresh the solution when needed. Now you can simply add the growth media in the main container and put the plants in and you're done!
In a short while, you'll be growing hydroponic vegetables using PVC in your new Dutch Pot system.