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Dutch Bucket System

Dutch Bucket System

Dutch Bucket System

What is Dutch bucket system?

Dutch bucket system is also known as Bato bucket, in which buckets are used as the main container for holding the plant. Dutch Bucket works on the same principle as does the Ebb & flow or Flood & Drain system, where grow tray (Bucket) is flooded on regular intervals with the nutrient solution and then it slowly flows back into the reservoir. The arrangement of equipments can be customized as per the farming needs.

Bato bucket system is used both in aquaponics and hydroponics, though hydroponics is simple and extensively used.

How to setup Dutch bucket system?

The variations which can be done in Dutch bucket system gives flexibility in design and size, to meet the growers need. The tool or equipments required to setup up a Dutch bucket system are:

Bato Bucket:

  • One bucket should accommodate only one plant, so decide how many buckets with lids you want.
  • Growing medium for plant support is essential. Decide the media on the basis of their water holding capacity, aeration and sustainability. The most commonly used media are perlite, vermiculite, hydroton and coconut.
  • It’s your choice to setup your system either on floor or bench. Though, using a table and bench makes maintenance and cleaning easier. The important thing is to give the return line a tilt, so that it drains to the reservoir at one end.

Irrigation Line:

  • Reservoir or Tank for holding the nutrient solution.
  • Submersible pump to run the nutrient solution.
  • PVC pipes through which the nutrient will flow towards each bucket. Its length depends on the size of your system.
  • Drip emitters, through which the solution finally drips on plants. Generally one bucket needs one dripper, however depending on the size of the plant and its nutrient requirements the two drippers can be fixed for one bucket.
  • Fittings, clamps, air pump, timer, tubing, hose, drain valve & connections as per the setup.

Return Line:

  • Two Siphon elbows to fit at the bottom of each bucket.
  • PVC pipe

The buckets are arranged on bench or floor, containing a growing medium. There is a large reservoir which holds nutrient water solution and a submersible pump to pump the nutrients onto the straight drip/irrigation PVC pipe line and drop onto the plants via the drip emitters. The drip emitters are fixed to the irrigation line and are pointed to each bucket to feed the plants. Drippers control the flow to each bucket, and solution runs through the media of the buckets and then due to gravity automatically drains out. The siphon elbow functions to drain the excess nutrient solutions to the return line and then come back to the reservoir.

There are two ways to run your drainage:

 

  1. Flow-to-waste irrigation

Flow-to-waste drains solution out of the system. This option is more wasteful, but much simpler in terms of nutrient balancing.

This means that over time, a solution can become unbalanced; one nutrient may get accumulated while others are used up.  The Nutrient unbalancing is not good for plants’ optimal growth.

  1. Recirculating irrigation

In a recirculating system, a slightly tilt return line brings drained water back to the reservoir for reuse.

To avoid nutrient imbalance, a periodic water analysis is required to determine the levels of each element in the solution, which growers can adjust as per the need.

 

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