Dutch Bucket Grow Table

This Tab is dedicated to my beloved daughter, Rachael Marie

Hello everyone, I'm back and submitting another Build. This one I'm calling a Grow Table, Hydroponic Dutch Bucket System. I have completed the table and the dutch bucket system. Now I will share them with you. If you have not had the chance to read the other two, the links are provided here:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Hydroponics-and-Indoor-Gardening-in-the-Winter/**Grand Prize Winner**


Picture of Dutch Bucket Grow Table

Grow Table for Hydroponic Dutch Buckets

You know there is something calm about growing older in this life. When we are younger we tend to think that we will never grow old and must live for today and in some cases do things that we know are not good choices but do them anyway. I remember my first 300 foot of seawater dive (FSW) there was an amazing feeling that went with that. The sense of being surrounded by the world where there was .445 pounds per square inch all around my body. That equals to 133.5 pounds per square inch all over it. A sense of accomplishment in great proportions.That deserves worthy consideration before you go out and try it.

The reason I say something like that it because when we grow older we must still find things that make our lives exciting and we must never stop moving. Stop moving, Stop living. So when I build a greenhouse and build things that go inside and prove to myself that the 133 pounds per square inch that surrounded my body when I was young still surrounds my body when I'm older (so to speak) and deserves that same feeling of accomplishment.

Grow Table:
When I'm building something outdoors I always use outdoor building materials, that's why they are made. We pay more but it's worth it. Here we use pressure treated wood that protects against weather and insects. I'm using 4x4, 2x4 and 5/4x6 deck boards. I like using the decking boards for my shelves, and tables because they have a finished look and plenty strong enough. I will prime and paint these before doing anything with them. I take the time to do this because it is easier to paint flat wood than constructed items.

Picture of Grow Table for Hydroponic Dutch Buckets

Prime Time

I have completed priming and painting the pressure treated boards. Have you ever noticed when you buy pressure treated wood that it is always wet and heavy. I have. What I always do is let it lie on a flat surface supported by some 2x4's on the ends and let it dry for about a week. Usually I flip it over once also. I have an overhead fan in this room I keep on to keep the air circulating. The heat is set at 60 degrees most of the time in the winter months and 72 in the summer. I look through the wood when I buy it and pick out the ones I think are the best. What I mean is I don't buy the select wood that costs the most. I buy the lower priced wood. It isn't the best but I call it my select. For the primer I have chosen KILTZ 2 indoor/outdoor. It covers to wood nicely and prevents bleed through for the chemicals used in treating the wood. For the paint I used Behr Semi Gloss outdoor paint. It's a little pricy but it has proved to be a really nice product. That is what I have used throughout the building of the entire Greenhouse. I've noticed that the outside paint has weathered very well. It has been through two winters already and there are no problems as far as I can see.

    Picture of Prime Time

Round up Your Gear

As you can see I have rounded up my gear that I plan on using for the build. As notice I don't have any fancy stuff, just your typical run of the mill woodworking tools. I have a 10" Delta chop saw. Believe it or not I have had it since 1990. It is one of those solid steel housings that has been used extensively over the years. I thought about buying a newer model but for some reason I cannot bring myself to doing it. I guess it has done me good over the years and I hate to see it go. The Dewalt circular saw has proven to be a good tool also. no complaints here. I've had it about 5 years now and will keep it around a while too. Notice the safety glasses and hearing protection. Use it if you want to be safe, not sorry. I use liquid nails and outdoor screws to assemble my benches and shelving. I must insist you use these two items for the best results. 

Picture of Round up Your Gear

4 x 4 Joint Layout

Here I have simply marked where I want to cut out the material to make a joint. . I will set the depth of the circular saw to 1 1/2" and follow the lines across. I'll show this in the next slide. 

Did you know....
The famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, are largely believed to have functioned according to hydroponic principles. Built around 600 B.C. in Babylonia, or Mesopotamia, the gardens were situated along the Euphrates River. The area suffered from a dry, arid climate that rarely saw rain, and it's believed that the lush gardens were watered using a chain pull system, which carried water up from the river and allowed it to trickle down to each step or landing of the garden structure. [source: http://howstuffworks.com]

   Picture of 4 x 4 Joint Layout

Saw Dust Everywhere

I used the circular saw and cut across all the 4 x 4's to a depth of 1 1/2".

Did You Know......

Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to convert light energy, normally from the sun, into chemical energy that can be later released to fuel the organisms' activities. This chemical energy is stored in carbohydrate molecules, such as sugars, which are synthesized from carbon dioxide and water – hence the name photosynthesis, from the Greek φῶς, phōs, "light", and σύνθεσις, synthesis, "putting together". In most cases, oxygen is also released as a waste product. Most plants, most algae, and cyanobacteria perform photosynthesis, and such organisms are called photoautotrophs. Photosynthesis maintains atmospheric oxygen levels and supplies all of the organic compounds and most of the energy necessary for life on Earth.
[source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photosynthesis ]

                       Picture of Saw Dust Everywhere

Cross Cut

Next I will use a wood chisel to remove all the material so that I will have a joint that will enable the top 2 x 4 to become flush with the 4 x 4 legs.

Did you Know....
The old-time gardeners say, "With the waxing of the moon, the earth exhales. " When the sap in the plants rise, the force first goes into the growth above ground. Thus, you should do all activities with plants that bear fruit above ground during a waxing moon. With the waning of the moon, the earth inhales. Then, the sap primarily goes down toward the roots. Thus, the waning moon is a good time for pruning, multiplying, fertilizing, watering, harvesting, and controlling parasites and weeds” [source: http://www.gardeningbythemoon.com/lunarfacts.html ]

                   Picture of Cross Cut

Wood Chiseling

By making the cuts it was easy to remove the wood pieces. All I needed to do was to remove the rough edges.

Did you Know.........

Solar energy is the reason we are all alive today; it is the main source of energy for all life forms, read on for more interesting facts about solar energy!
Solar power is one of very few sources of energy that are completely free.
On Earth we are especially lucky; the sun is in the top 5% of stars in the Milky Way in terms of brightness and size.
Although the sun is over 90 million miles from the Earth, it takes less than 10 minutes for light to speed across that distance.
Only 0.01% of the energy produced by nuclear fusion in the sun PER SECOND would be needed to satisfy the entire population of the earth’s energy requirements.
The largest solar power plant in the world is located in the Mojave Desert in California, covering 1000 acres.
A single Air Force base in Nevada has saved $83,000 A MONTH since it switched from using traditional energy sources to solar energy produced on site.
The average US taxpayer pays almost 100 times as much in subsidies for fossil fuels as he does for solar energy.
Solar energy has been used for over 2700 years; in 700 BC, glass lenses were used to make fire by magnifying the sun’s rays.
Space missions have been using solar energy to power spaceships since 1958. [source: http://renewableresourcesinc.com]

                   Picture of Wood Chiseling

Ready for Assembly

Notice the back two. Those are the tall legs. Pretty simple stuff. Now, If I had a radial arm saw the cuts would be perfect. I don't so this is what I have. I can live with this, the liquid nails will fill in the gaps and it want affect the strength.

                          Picture of Ready for Assembly

Glue and Screw

The outsides of the bench has been assembled. See how the two by's are flush with the 4 by's. All joints were assembled using liquid nails and the outside screws. they were 2 1/2 inches long. The heads are the star bit shape. The box the screws come in have a star bit included. The color of the screw is green. Make sure you put them together opposite of each other. if you make them the same, one of the leg sections will be backward.

   Picture of Glue and Screw

Legs Together

This was pretty easy to do by myself. I have a a set of sliding clamps and used them to hold everything together until I could get some screws in. I always pre-drill a hole where the screw is going to go. This prevents the wood from splitting. Oh, and dont forget to use the liquid nails.

Did you know.........

The biggest advantage of the hydroponic method is that crop yields are increased many times over those of conventional agriculture. For example, the yield per acre of tomatoes grown in soil is from five to ten tons. With hydroponics, the harvest is from 60 to 300 tons! For cucumbers, the equivalent figures are 7,000 pounds compared with 28,000 pounds ... for lettuce, 9,000 pounds and 21,000 pounds.

Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/hydroponic-greenhouse-zmaz74sozraw.aspx#ixzz2zumGG1Kb

                      Picture of Legs Together

End View

Just wanted to show you what it looks like from the the end. I left this end higher with the intention of placing a piece of wood here to mount a timer and a multi plug outlet for running the timer, water pump and air pump. At this point I'm not sure that's the way to go. I figure it's better to have them tall to start out with. I can always cut them to the height I finally decide on.

Did you know........

Hydroponic production has many advantages, including:

Larger, higher quality crops due to controlled nutrient ratios
No soil-borne diseases passed among crops
Up to 90% less water is required compared to growing in soil
High yields in minimal growing space
Can be used in areas where soil-based cultivation isn't possible, such as locations with poor soil quality, or where water supplies are limited
No herbicides necessary because there are no weedsSource: https://www.farmtek.com/farm/supplies/ExternalPageView?pageKey=EXTERNAL_PAGE_3014

                   Picture of End View

Another Point of View

Looking from the opposite end and trying to decide how to design the tall end. I want to make sure it is functional and pleasing to the eye. You know what I mean Vern?

Did you know.........

Ebb and flow: Also known as flood and drain, these systems feature a tray and nutrient reservoir combination. The tray can have a growing medium, such as clay pebbles or rockwool, in it and be planted directly. Another option is that plants are placed in containers, such as net pots, which sit inside the tray. The tray is flooded with the nutrient solution at regular intervals and the solution is allowed to drain back into the reservoir. source: https://www.farmtek.com/farm/supplies/ExternalPageView?pageKey=EXTERNAL_PAGE_3014

                         Picture of Another Point of View

Long View

This is a pretty decent shot showing the length of the table. The side boards are on the end boards are next.

Did you know........

NFT channel hydroponic systems, the roots are suspended in a channel and a shallow stream of nutrient solution is recirculated through the bottom of the channel. A thick root mass develops inside the channel and remains moist from the nutrient film.The main advantage of NFT hydroponics is the capability of producing very high yields in a minimal footprint of space. Water and nutrient waste is also minimized due to the recirculating system. NFT systems are often chosen by commercial growers.


                      Picture of Long View

Side View

Another shot looking to the side. I had the table on the side next to the NFT system debating if there would be enough elbow room if it was located here. I was keeping in mind that there was going to be the buckets and plants growing on it. I need enough room to maneuver. Another reason I was checking this side out was that in the overhead I had already installed some conduit tubing on the rafters. I had hung line reels on them that the tomatoes and cucumbers were secured. As you recall the NFT system was four rows across but I moved them where they are now to give me more floor space.

                      Picture of Side View

Another Side View

Here's another view looking at the side from the other end.

Did you know....

Hydroponic systems allow gardeners to grow plants without soil, which can eliminate many problems associated with traditional gardening. For instance, with a reduced likelihood of pests, commercial gardeners don't always need to douse crops with pesticides. Though often associated with vegetables, hydroponic systems can grow all sorts of plants, including flowers and ornamental bloomers that add color to a home or greenhouse. [source: http://homeguides.sfgate.com/hydroponics-45213.html ]

                       Picture of Side View

End View

Almost done, I like this long shot. It's pretty cool. Look at the end of it. Notice the end legs. What do you see different? Yep, You got it. The legs have shrunk. No, not really. I decided to make them shorter. The idea to put a panel between them was canned. I could vision it at one time but when it came down to it , decided against it. I really like it this way. The 4 x 4 end caps really make it pop. I used the circular saw to cut the 4 x 4's off. I wasn't that easy holding the saw at that angle. I got the caps from Lowes in the section where the vinyl fence parts, handrail, stair stringers and other neat things like that are kept. I have a close up shot a few slides further on.

                         Picture of End View

Yet Another Side View

Here's another side view shot. I consider this project complete. Notice that I have moved it to the other side on the GH. It fit and feels better here. I ran two conduit metal pieces in the overhead so I can tie the plants up. Being here I can walk all around it. On this side I don't have to worry about bumping or being in a confined area when I am working with the NFT system.

                     Picture of Another Side View

Project Complete

Well, This just about wraps up another project by yours truly. Do you see what I mean about it looking better this way. These caps are copper and I like the way they are shaped. This is the business end of the grow table. This is where I have the reservoir, supply and drain, the timer and pumps plugged in. It has worked out really well. I already have the system built as I write this. I'm behind a little bit on my administrative duties. I am extremely pleased with how the Dutch Bucket System turned out. My next instructable will show you how it was built. This is what you should see......... Next Slide

                        Picture of Project Complete

Image from FarmTek.com

This is where I got my system design from. I looked at a lot of systems and liked this one the best. I purchased 90% of the parts from them. They have an Engineering Services instruction guide that has images and part identification on it. The rest of the material I got from other sources. In my next instructable I will go into more detail. as always thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to read this. I really enjoy this web site. Each of us have a unique quality about us that others can learn from. Learn all you can, keep your mind active.

   Picture of Image from FarmTek.com


  1. Anonymous2/08/2015

    Glad I lucked up on your site. I have a small Dutch Bucket set-up that runs Aquaponics But I wish I had tools knowledge & skill to do what you have built. I was wondering if we can talk Thank you

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