What Is A Hempy Bucket? [Best Easy Hydro System For Beginners]

Dont let the name hempy bucket put you off. Although the term was coined and popularized by cannabis growers it works great for peppers and tomatoes and just about any large plant.

7 Cost-Effective, DIY Hydroponics f...
7 Cost-Effective, DIY Hydroponics for Home

What is a hempy bucket? A hempy bucket is probably the simplest passive hydroponic system there is. It is easy to build. It is great for large plants and the best easy hydro system for beginners.

Dont let the name hempy bucket put you off. Although the term was coined and popularized by cannabis growers it works great for peppers and tomatoes and just about any large plant.

What Is A Hempy Bucket?

What Is A Hempy Bucket?

The hempy bucket is a passive hydroponic system and a variation of a sub irrigated planter. It is simply a bucket (usually 5 gallons) with a drain hole about 2 inches from the bottom. It is  passive (no pumps or air stones) and so needs no electricity. It is also a top feed drain to waste system.

How Does A Hempy Bucket Work

To use a hempy bucket you simply add water on top until it runs out the drain hole. So you will want something to catch the runoff.

Water is held in a small reservoir in the bottom 2 inches. It wicks up by capillary action to water your plant.

Every time you add water to the top it forces out the old water and so the reservoir is refreshed each time you water.

How To Build A Hempy Bucket

Hempy buckets can be any size. But since they are usually used for large plants like tomatoes or peppers most people use 5 gallon buckets for them. They are usually readily available and even if you have to buy them they only cost a few bucks.

You can use other sizes and grow smaller plants in them too. But it is best to use opaque buckets to keep light out. However, you can wrap white buckets with tin foil or spray paint them black.

All that you need to do to build a hempy bucket is drill a drain hole about 2 inches above the bottom of the bucket.

Size is not critical but you don’t want it too large because you are going to fill your bucket with planting media and you don’t want it washing out. The hole can be as small as 1/4 inch and a half inch is plenty.

Some people glue a small piece of screen to the inside of the bucket over the drain hole to keep all the contents in the bucket but it really is not necessary.

Filling  Your Hempy Buckets

Hempy buckets are very versatile. They can be filled with coco or perlite or a mix of the two. You can use peat based potting soils too.

Don’t try to use garden soil though. It will compact to much and it may have unwanted bugs in it too.

The most popular grow mediums are perlite or hydroton or a 50% coco/perlite mix.

Running just perlite or hydroton works great. It does not attract bugs line other media can but it will require daily or even multiple daily waterings.

Using coco in your hempy will reduce watering times the most but many people still like to mix in perlite.

Hempy Bucket Nutrients

You have a wide choice when it comes to hempy bucket nutrients. I prefer using hydroponic nutrients.

But organic nutrients are just fine in a hempy. You can add teas, microbes, and other organic inputs as long as they can be dissolved in your feed water.

Also, I should mention with the exception of some hot super soil mixes you should feed every watering especially with coco, perlite or mixes of the two.

How Often To Water Hempy Buckets

There is no hard and fast rule for this. It depends on the size of the plant you are growing and what grow medium your hempy bucket is filled with.

Large plants may require daily watering and a young plant may go several days.

The best advice I can give you is to lift your hempy buckets. You will get a feel of when to water after you do this for a while.

If they feel heavy they don’t need to be watered and if they feel light they need watering.

Don’t let your hempy bucket dry out but don’t drown it either. When the liquid comes out of the drain your hempy is full. If you think it might have been overwatered you can tip the bucket to drain off excess water. Learn about using a grow tent for vegetables

GroBuckets Are A Hempy With  Built In Reservoir

I don’t grow my veggies in a hempy bucket instead I use GroBuckets which are really just a hempy bucket with an improved reservoir.

peppers in a grobucket a modified hempy bucket

The only difference is an insert that goes in the bottom of the bucket. It gives separation from the grow media and the reservoir.

Because my 5 gallon bucket has more water holding capacity I can water less often. Here is an article I wrote about GroBuckets