Hempy Buckets: A Safe and Simple Alternative for the Disabled Grower

Posters note: I noticed that not much is written here about Hempy buckets and since a big part of my grow journal here features them I thought I would reprint something I wrote for my site for growing with disabilities. In any event I figured even normal folks could always use an extra techique to keep in their mental back pocket; they sure have allow me to keep growing long after I would have been forced to stop using more traditional methods. With that, on with the show…

Greetings Kids, Jeff here with a little life lesson…no matter what to do or how you are set up, if you have a degenerative disease, there will come a point where the more sophisticated and high-production methods become too much and you are faced with that or giving up growing entirely. In point of fact, I am at this point myself…when I first started growing with the idea of growing while disabled in mind I studied as many different methods of growing as I could find, just to have as much fundamental knowledge as is possible. Hempy buckets are an older method of growing going back quite a ways…I looked at these a few years ago but could not figure out how to make them work with the rest of the system I had designed and was working so they just became interesting ideas.

Well now that I am struggling my good friend and grow mentor reminded me of these…I had to do some refresher work but realized these could be a good middle-ground between struggling with a bigger system and giving up everything. At their heart, Hempy Buckets are a very very simple design that blends hydroponics and soil growing. To make a Hempy Bucket you just have to take any bucket-shaped container, drill a 1/2 inch of better hole a few inches from the bottom and presto, you have a Hempy Bucket. The rest is how its used:

Basic Hempy Bucket Design

There are many ways of doing this so its best if I only explain this one because thats what I am doing in real life. The idea is you fill the bottom to the drain-hole with drainage friendly stuff like rocks, hydroton, perlite, etc. Then I fill from there to the top with nutritionally inert soilmix with 75% coco coir and 25% perlite for drainage. After I add a plant I add nutrients until they start to flow from the hole we drilled earlier. This is the reason for the dishes under the buckets. This becomes a reservoir for the plant roots to drink from and set up this way you only need to feed once a week at first, twice a week later. The plant and its personal environment will help the plant last longer and do better and it makes them very portable so moving them from veg to bloom is a snap.

To make a Hempy Bucket, get a drill with a half-inch bit and drill the bucket(s) 2 inches from the bottom of the bucket:

3.5 Gallon Buckets

Your Tools of Destruction

Drill here

A Hole in One!

The idea is you have the bucket with the hole a few inches up. Depending on the bucket size that means that bucket will hold between a half and a gallon and a half of nutrients. Into the bottom of this you fill with perlite, hydroton, rocks, anything that features good drainage. Fill to just cover the hole.

Fill up to the hole you drilled with drainage material such as this hydroton

Then you fill the rest of the bucket with your favorite soil mix. Me, I used hydroton in the bottoms and made a 75/25 mix of coco coir and perlite.

Mixing big-batch soilmix in wheel barrow, 75% coco coir, 25% Perlite

Finish by filling the bucket to the top with soilmix

Once these buckets are set up like this, set them in a dish large enough to catch the runoff.

My Padawan Learner giving the new girls their first meal in their new home

Finally transplant your plant(s), move them to the grow tent where they will stay and liberally soak the soimix in each pot with normal veg nutrients until they start to drain out thru the hole you drilled. Use a turkey baster and suction that run-off out and dump it. Your buckets are ready to rock.

Add nutrients until they start to flow from the hole. Your Hempy Buckets are done and need to be filled about once or twice a week during veg, moreso in bloom. This is how my grow(s) will finish. Easy to make, simple to set up and so simple to fix. Not as automated as I like but it more than makes up for that with certain features that protect the plants, in this case from my dementia.

I ran out of coir before finishing so will do remaining plants tomorrow. Bonus is now my wife can help more…

Had six more to rescue from problems plus four crappy seedlings. Now that the basic Hempy is up and running, its time for version 2.0; that is just how it is around here. So applying what we know helps plants grow, I introduced air into the setup at the same time hacking up a feeding tube out of some spare PVC:

This I will set up in the Hempy buckets as I am adding the rest of the mix, finally plugging them into Big Mo’ my industrial 8-port airpump:

That is how I have my Hempy buckets set up and have been running like this now for three crops. Yes my old system was better but this one is conceptually simpler and therefore easier to pass on to a Padawan Learner…that and Hempy buckets represent to me that intersection between an improved grow method and baby-proofing the process of growing pot.

IOW I expect to be able to continue using this method with success when my decaying mind would have forced me to quit with virtually every other method I knew of. The day-to-day is extremely simple and I can do it even while in a self-induced partial coma:

  1. Open all tents
  2. Add 1 gallon of nutrients from the master reservoir to each Hempy Bucket.
  3. Kill 10 minutes fooling with the branches, buds, etc, then check the dish under each bucket for run-off.
  4. If runoff is detected, suction out the excess with a turkey baster; that plant is done for the day.
    4a. If no runoff in 10 minutes, add another 1/2 gallon nutrients to the top.
    4b. Lather, rinse and repeat steps 4 and 4a until runoff is achieved.
  5. Repeat with all plants in grow.
  6. Zip up the tents, we are done.

Now approximately every week or so or when the main 33 gal bloom rez runs dry I take a day and do a clean-water flush of all the plants, returning to the normal feeding schedule the next day. Salts and other crap can build up in the soilmix and can eventually result in nutrient lockout…flushing like this helps keep that under control…


@lbdwarrior This is a quality quality guide, thank you SO much!! Really good effort man!


I need to try this method thanks for the info


Anyone else have experience with this method?

1 Like

Interesting topic.


No don’t think I will either. Seems way more complicated than just watering like I do now.