So I have always thought that growing something Hydroponically would be rather nifty, so when I ran across this PDF http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/oc/freepubs/pdf/HG-44.pdf

I just had to give it a go.

Garbage Can Hydroponic Cucumbers

This was a method for Growing Hydroponic Cucumbers in a Plastic Trash Container. How could I not try that out!

So I collected my growing medium, some peat and perlite from the local garden shop, and stuffed it into my makeshift ‘forestry tube’ (I could never find a place online to buy a forestry tube) –> Forestry tubes can be bought in small quantities from dpl**ha*waii@*aol.com (remove the *’s) which is a small hydroponic outlet in Hilo.

My forestry tube was cannibalized from a root viewer toy thingy http://explo.stores.yahoo.net/roviga.html which I drilled some holes into.


I then cut a hole in the lid and stuck the tube through. (I had let the seed germinate inside where it was warm)


Next I needed to locate a source of Chem-Gro® 10-8-22, with much searching I finally found some at http://www.hydro-gardens.com/10822.htm

So I measured out the chemicals, and then dumped them swirling into the trash can.

garbage can

After that I closed it up and then just watched it grow!


After a month or two I had a cucumber!


So, then I ate it.

cut cucumber

And this is what the end result of the root growth turned out to be.



  1. I stumbled on this page after searching endlessly for a forestry tube.
    Like you I wanted to experiment on the hydrophonic cucumber of that Hawaiin pdf.
    Pls. email me details of how to go about making a homemade forestry tube. Do you think I could make one out of pvc pipe? Thanks

  2. Hi! Forest tubes look an awful lot like the plastic bouquet holders (like the cemetery kind) that you can get at a Dollar Tree. Just an observation that needs to be experiment ed wtih…

  3. I stumbled upon your site while looking for grow lights to use for an indoor version of this same project. I think if you try this again in the summer you’ll get a lot more cukes…they require lots of warmth, which is why I want to try this project indoors this winter. Thanks for posting this.

  4. This looks like a good experiment to try. I will try this during the summer when it gets hot. I live in North Florida. Mellerbeck how long did you let cucumbers grow? Was it enough time to use all of the nutrients and water? I am going to try the PVC pipe. Will write later and let you know how my experiment turns out. I will be using the same nutrients. If it goes well I will probably try another vegetable like squash or tomatoes.

  5. how many plants or seeds did u use??
    i used this medium to start seeds. all my cuke seeds started. I have about a dozen plants.

    • You should use one plant per 32 gallon container. 2″ net pots can be used instead of forestry tubes if you use a flat lid. Long forestry tubes are used if your lid is domed, requiring a longer tube to reach the water. If your plant is healthy, the roots will fill the trash container. Your plant should also provide cukes the same as if grown in the ground.

      I also grow eggplant, beans, green onions, bell peppers, basil, tomatoes, and lettuce in non-circulating hydroponic containers.

  6. Karen,
    I’m a teacher in Hawaii. My students constructed a greenhouse that is used for hydroponics. This is not my area of expertise, so my students and I learn at the same time. I use the ctahr website for reference.

    I can tell you this. You can use 2″ net pots with growing medium for cukes, one plant per 32 gallon trash can. You need a forestry tube, or something similar if you use a domed lid. You need the extra length of a tube to reach the water. A net pot is long enough to reach the water with a flat lid like the one pictured above (rubbermaid brute). We use the flat lid.

    If grown disease free, the roots of one plant of cucumbers will fill the entire trash container! It will eventually suck all the water in the container, hopefully by then you will have reached the end of the cukes life.

    We also grow tomatoes, bell peppers, beans, lettuce, green onions, basil, eggplant, all hydroponically, using a non-circulating method.

    You can email me for more info. hilosun on hot mail

      • Mark,
        Use a 2″ hole saw, found at any hardware store. This is the type you attach to a drill. The net pot has a lip and fits perfectly into the hole without falling through.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s