Container hydroponics systems are small vessels holding a growing medium and one or more plants, such as a tomato plant in a bucket filled with pebble stone or a small plant in a flowerpot placed in growth medium.
This pot is periodically flooded with aerated nutrient solution and drained. This flooding can be manual or part of a more elaborate set up involving a pump and timer – although this would probably be classified as an ebb and flow system. Therefore, the container must have a means to drain the nutrient solution when needed such as a spigot or simply a hole in the bottom of the vessel. These types of container hydroponics systems are generally the simplest of all the types of growing systems.
One simple container system method is to place a tomato plant in a bucket filled with pea stone. The bucket has a spigot near the bottom that can be turned off and on. This bucket is then placed on a support 2 feet off the ground and has a hose attached to the spigot going into a second bucket containing nutrient solution (this bucket is on the ground).
Twice a day, dump the nutrient solution from bucket #2 into bucket #1, with its spigot turned off, until the nutrient solution level reaches the top of the pea stone. Wait a half hour or so and open the spigot to drain the solution back into bucket #2. This is a nice-and-easy manual system guaranteed to be successful.
This system also satisfies the 5 basic plant requirements. Mineral salts are the nutrient which is dissolved into the water. The plant is outside receiving a good light source (and good temperature, hopefully) and the action of dumping the solution into the plant bucket produces oxygen that is carried to the roots.
Larry Maki is an avid, self-taught hydroponics gardener from Connecticut with a passion for alternative types of gardening.