The Incredibly Scalable Dutch Bucket System: 2 Different Builds

Bato Bucket System

Dutch bucket design systems also referred to as ‘Bato bucket’ systems, are great if you’re wanting to create large, scalable systems for larger or vining plants like tomatoes or cucumbers. 


The reason is simple… Dutch bucket design systems use one large reservoir to feed into several planters throughout your growing area.  These systems are

ideal for people that want to create one massive system and get a lot of return on their investment.


Need more info? Take a step back and learn more about the system or check out some other Dutch Bucket System designs before you jump in to start your build.



Staggered Dutch Bucket Design

Dutch Bucket System -staggered,
Dutch Bucket System -staggered,






  • Power drill
  • PVC Pipe Cutter
  • Hole saw Match your net cup size selection. This may be more difficult than it seems as the exact hole saw size you need may not come in your hole saw kit. See more details in the instructions below.
  • 1/4″ Drill bit for wood or plastic. The size of this hole will depend upon the diameter of the air tubing you have purchased.
  • Razer or Exacto knife  I would normally never recommend the “snap-off blade” type of box cutter knife, but the ability to extend this blade out a few sections to cut a clean slice on the 1″ styrofoam makes this particular knife design the right choice for this job.





  • Build your table or platform in its final location
  • Place the reservoir in its permanent location under the table or platform
  • Place your Dutch Bucket on the table or platform in their final locations



  • Assemble the dutch buckets according to manufactures instructions 
    • Install 2-90 degree siphon pieces inside buckets
    • Install lids on each bucket
    • Install Net pots in each bucket
  • Assemble the supply line manifold according to this diagram.
    • Use Teflon tape on every threaded fitting
Dutch bucket manifold with valve fittings



  • Assemble The 90-degree fittings on one end to the reservoir and install the 1″  cap on the other end
Dutch bucket method build pump-fittings
Dutch bucket pump side fittings





  • Fill the reservoir with filtered water (Make sure the water  level touches the bottom of the net cups when the styrofoam is placed on top of the reservoir)
  • Add nutrients as per manufacture instructions
  • Check pH
    • pH will rise or drop after adding the nutrients (usually drop)
    • Adjust the water pH with pH up or pH down to read about 5.8 to 6 




  • Cut a small 6″ length of hose and connect to the air pump
  • Connect the end of the air hose inside the container to the air stone
  • Connect the outside end of the air hose to the check valve. Look closely on the check valve to see an indicator on the side indicating the proper direction of the flow of air and position the direction of the check valve accordingly.  Note that the air flows from the air pump to the air stone inside the container. If you are uncertain, you can blow through the valve one side at a time. One side will be more restrictive. That is the side that will connect to the hose or tubing that goes to the airstone.
Air line check valve direction
Air line check valve direction


  • Connect the check valve to the small 6″ piece of hose already connected to the air pump.
How to connect your hydroponics aeration system
How to connect your hydroponics aeration system



Option 1 – Seedlings

  • Put your plants into each net cup


Option 2 – Starter plugs and seeds




Additional Instructions





The Dutch Bucket Row 

For narrower areas, this style of Dutch bucket system design may very well work for you.  Thin tables, benches, or horizontal overhanging flaps installed around the wall can be easily converted into this type of system.  In fact, one of the best parts of this system is its ability to greatly use the areas hugging your walls effectively. The only difference between this build and the previous one is the layout. Even the drilled holes in the 1-1/2″ return line pipe are the same distance. 



Dutch Bucket System-row
Dutch Bucket System – Row,



Additional Instructions




Learn more 

Dutch Bucket Designs

Buy this system

Build this system


Install your Accessories

Set up your system



Picture of Bobby


HI! I'm Bobby, an entrepreneur, inventor, green builder and urban farmer. I've been a custom home builder since a kid and an avid gardener. The critters, bugs and climate outside our new home forced me to check out some new ideas in gardening. I found out about Hydroponics and have spent years learning the best techniques to build the best, most efficient, home hydroponics systems. I built one of the first ever, small scale, mobile hydroponic systems. Would you like to know how I did it?