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How to Build a Hydroponic Garden at Home

A Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Soil-less Grow System

What is Hydroponics?
Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without soil.

The Ideal Hydroponic System for Beginners
A common and cost-effective hydroponic set up for beginners is the deep-water culture (DWC). In a DWC system, plant roots are suspended in an oxygenated nutrient mix.

Read our Hydroponics Definition article to learn more about different types of hydroponic systems.


Supplies Needed:

  1. 5-gallon bucket with lid
  2. Opaque garbage bag
  3. Air pump with weighted air stone and tubing
  4. Net pot
  5. Growing medium
  6. Nutrients
  7. Drill

8 Simple Steps to Build Your Own Deep-Water Culture (DWC) System:

  1. Using the net pot as a sizing guide, drill a hole through the center of the lid. The hole should be big enough for the net pot to fit snuggly.
  2. Cut a second small opening at the upper 2-3” of the bucket. The width of the opening should be large enough to fit the air pump tubing.
  3. Line the bucket with an opaque garbage bag to block light from entering. Keeping light exposure to a minimum prevents unwanted algae growth in the root zone.
  4. Prepare the air stone and pump by connecting the two with a tube. Place the air stone into the bucket. Allow the tubing to fit through the small opening of the bucket (from step 2). Air pump will remain outside the bucket.
  5. Fill the bucket with water and add hydroponic nutrients [link].
  6. Place the net pot into the opening of the lid (from step 1). Carefully transfer the plant into the net pot and fill with preferred growing medium such as hydroton or coco coir.
  7. Place the lid on top of the bucket. The roots should be dangling low enough to access the water. If not, add more water. Another option is to hand-water the plant until the roots grow long enough.
  8. Turn on the air pump to prevent the roots from drowning and watch the plant grow!

Happy growing!


I have pretty much all of the things on that list in my basement or garage right now. It’s the wife’s b-day this weekend, but I’ll work on actually putting a bucket together to show people how this can be done (and easily!)

Great guide, thanks @Hygrozyme!

1 Like

Awesome!! We look forward to seeing your pictures (and success)!

Happy Birthday to your wife!


Wow! This is a great post. Great information for home garden growers.


I like the basic method but I would ask for some changes.

I find for growing hydroponically in large scale productions the best results came from drip irrigating the crop.
Aeration of the water was not as effective as less water mostly for weight and spraying the roots with a fine mist.

This gave us the most root hairs and the greatest production for square foot of space used.

We used little giant pumps submersible regulated to the correct PSI of the drip emitters and spray heads Netafim

we also had all our buckets go back to a central tank. It was a very effective way to grow.

from the voices in my head