Bubble buckets are an ideal way to get into indoor hydroponic gardening. They are easy to setup and use, and have minimal maintenance. Here are 7 reasons Bubble Buckets are for you…and 3 reasons you may want to choose a different method.
7 Reasons to Use a Bubble Bucket
1. Small upfront investment
A Bubble Bucket consists of the following parts:
- A bucket with lid
- An air pump, tubing and stone
- Net Cups
- Hydrostone grow medium
- A plant.
You can pick up most, if not all, of these items in a short run to the hardware store. You can purchase a full Bubble Bucket kit for under $50. Our first Bubble Bucket was the HTGSupply 3.5 Gallon Bubble Boy Kit. Within an hour, we set up the Bubble Bucket and had started our indoor hydroponic garden.
2. Super Easy Set Up
The hardest part of assembling a Bubble Bucket is cutting holes for your net cups and air tubing – if the lid didn’t come pre-cut. If you do need to cut a hole in the lid, find a circular item (like a cup) that is about 1” smaller in diameter than the outside rim of your net pot, trace it on the lid, and cut a hole.
Once the lid is cut, building the Bubble Bucket is a matter of stacking its parts and filling the reservoir.
3. Really Hard to Screw Up
The Bubble Bucket is largely a hands-off method. Because you are required to do less during growth, there is a significantly lower chance of user error impacting your results. It is still important to keep an eye on your plant to make sure it is healthy and growing, but you don’t have to concern yourself with complicated feeding schedules or finding someone to water your garden if you are away for the weekend.
4. Easy Nutrient Changes
In the overview of the Bubble Bucket Method, we suggested picking up a second bucket to make nutrient and water change over quick and easy. Let us help you learn from our mistakes.
Our initial indoor hydroponic gardening experiment was in the basement. There is no water outlet in the basement, so all plant maintenance had to happen upstairs. The first nutrient changeover wasn’t terrible, the plant was only about a foot tall, and we had four hands doing the work. Our plant grew a significant amount during its second nutrient phase…which is what we expected to happen. Moving a 4 foot tall plant and changing its water was not easy or graceful. Bonus pro tip: Bring the newly filled bucket to the plant…not the other way around.
5. Small Footprint
As far as floor space is concerned, the Bubble Bucket only takes up as much space as the container it is built in. For contractor buckets, this ranges from 10-14” in diameter. Once your plant begins to grow, its foliage make spread out, but the reservoir will usually fit in a single square foot.
Another feature of the Bubble Bucket that is tied to its small footprint is the limited amount of space it takes to store when not in use. Say you love the Bubble Bucket method so much you want to do more indoor gardening. You are ready for a bigger system, and the Bubble Bucket is being decommissioned (until the next botanical experiment). You can keep all of the components for your Bubble Bucket in its reservoir (the bucket) and stashed away in a corner.
6. Low Maintenance
Not to belabor the point, but the minimal time you have to invest fussing with the Bubble Bucket when compared with its potential crop yield makes it one of the lowest maintenance indoor gardening methods for beginners and busy gardeners alike.
7. Cheap to Run (and Maintain)
As far as your long-term upkeep and expenses, the Bubble Bucket has two expenses to consider: nutrients and electricity. If you are using LED Grow lights along with the air compressor, there will be a small uptick in your monthly electric bill – about the same as if you added a couple of new lamps to your living space.
3 Reasons NOT to Use a Bubble Bucket
1. Not great for multiple plants.
The Bubble Bucket is a fantastic entry point for indoor hydroponic gardening, but if you are looking forward to a large or varied garden, you will want to look elsewhere. Looking for a fast, large single crop yield, try Recirculating Deep Water Culture. If you want to have a larger, varied indoor garden, consider the Kratky method for water-only hydroponics or the manual water and feed Drain to Waste method using soil or coco coir.
2. Provides an Ideal Growing Environment
For Some plants, hydroponic gardening is too consistent and provides abundant resources that aren’t typically found in their natural growing environments. At Curious Cultivations, we are hot sauce fans, so growing hydroponic peppers was a no brainer. Peppers are a perfect example of a crop that needs special treatment, or manufactured environmental stress, to flourish. This can include limiting feedings, watering sparsely, or heating the environment
3. Organic Grows can get GROSS
If you are growing organic, or want to grow with lots of microbes, your Bubble Bucket might get scuzzy. Scum buildup makes your air pump less efficient. Less efficient air pumps don’t create enough circulation, encouraging more buildup. This happens when certain microbes congregate at places with high concentrations of oxygen. A bubble Bucket might need frequent cleaning depending on the micro-flora you have.
If you have any questions, have any suggestions for what you’d like to see in future articles, or want to have us help you in your home grow, contact us and we’ll be happy to help out.