Dutch bucket gardening is a great way to raise vegetables. It involves using buckets, such as 5 gallon food grade buckets for your containers and some sort of media to grow your plants in, such as vermiculite, perlite, clay pellets or even stones if you so choose. Vermiculite and perlite are very good at retaining moisture. Generally, you may line all your buckets up in a row. At the end of the row is a large tub type container that would be called your reservoir. You would fill your reservoir with water and any water soluble nutrients needed for whatever type of vegetable you’ve decided to grow, much like fertilizer.Each bucket has a drain on the side of the bucket about an inch from the bottom. You would put a submersible pump into the reservoir, from which a pvc pipe would come out and extend down the length of your row of buckets. There would be a tee at each bucket coming from that pipe, pointing a small extension into the bucket so as the water is pumped down the line, each bucket is filled to near the top. Some people like to put a timer on their pump so it may come on for say, 10 minutes every hour, or for however long it takes to fill the bucket. Then goes off for another hour til its time to pump again. Below the front of the buckets could be another piece of pipe, much larger in diameter, that the buckets slowly drain into. That pipe carries the drained water back to the reservoir where it will be recycled to the plants. It’s a never ending circle of life so to speak. Some water will have to be replaced in the reservoir every now and then, due to evaporation, but compared to irrigating out in the field, thousands of gallons of water can be saved.
There just isn’t much maintenance to be done on a system of this nature. Dutch bucket gardening, is clean, neat and fairly easy to do. The buckets are reasonably price at Home Depot or Lowes, and a plastic container big enough to use for a reservoir can be bought in the same place or Walmart.It is very important that any and all containers used in any type of vegetable gardening are made of food grade materials. All of these stores sell submersible pumps, such as pond pumps, and it isn’t very difficult to set up, although it will be somewhat time consuming.
There is a man named Bobby on YouTube with a user name of MHP that has done extensive work with Dutch Bucket Gardening. You might want to shoot over there to get a better view of a fine system. Just click on that YouTube link and you can head on out to Virginia to see what he’s doing. As always, leave any comments to let me know what you think of this idea.