| Universiti Putra Malaysia

The Dutch Bucket hydroponic system eliminates fertiliser waste and reduces disease

By: Nurul Ezzaty Mohd Azhari
Photo: Sabri Omar

SERDANG, Sept 21 – The hydroponic cultivation system is not new to individuals who like to plant but do not have the space or open land for gardening.

Usually, the hydroponic plant systems are used to grow leafy vegetables such as lettuce, mustard, spinach, and water spinach.

However, through the Dutch Bucket hydroponic system, it is possible to grow fruiting vegetables such as tomatoes, chillies, eggplants, rock melons, cucumbers, and others.

According to the Senior Agriculture Officer of the Faculty of Agriculture (FP), Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Ts. Amir Taufiq Sabuddin, the advantage of the Dutch Bucket system is that it stops fertiliser waste and reduces disease compared to fertigation or conventional methods.

"Plants in the ground are susceptible to disease because of soil-borne diseases, while the Dutch Bucket system gives the roots a very wide space to breathe and allows them to grow fast to be harvested about two weeks earlier than normal planting techniques.”

"The fertigation system continues to release water, and if it is not controlled, waste of fertiliser will occur, but through the Dutch Bucket fertilisation system, it will not only recirculate but even save the cost of purchasing fertiliser since the AB fertiliser is expensive.

"This is a soilless system that focuses on fruiting plants and uses materials such as coconut husk, clay, and broken pots as long as they are made of clay as media," he said.

He added that this system encourages all communities to plant at home using recycled items such as paint barrels, buckets, and oil barrels as the main setup.

It is hoped that more individuals will use this system, especially residents of urban communities who live in apartments and flats, to grow fruit vegetables and diversify hydroponic crops other than leafy vegetables.

"In Malaysia, there are still many people who are not aware of the Dutch Bucket, but in Europe, they practice this system on a large scale," he said.

Meanwhile, Assistant Agriculture Officer, FP, UPM, Muhammad Syahrizan Saharudin, said the drip monitor on the Dutch Bucket needs to be checked periodically to ensure it is not clogged and that the water pump is working properly to distribute fertiliser.

Uniquely, this system also makes it easier to transfer plants from bucket to bucket if you want to change the type of fruiting plant because the container is mobile compared to a polybag that needs to be lifted together with the whole plant. - UPM