Posted on 2 Comments

Low-Cost Indoor Hydroponic Gardening Using Space Buckets and SNAP Hydroponics

Inside the classic space bucket

For gardening enthusiast in urban areas, finding a gardening space that receives sufficient sunlight to support plant growth can be a challenge. In addition, pests and other environmental factors can ruin plants with ease. Growing plants indoors is an excellent solution but the space requirements and cost of an indoor gardening rig can be a problem. Worry not because a cheap and space saving do-it-yourself indoor gardening solution is available.

Space bucket is a simple DIY indoor gardening rig. It has enough room to grow one plant, provides enough light to support plant growth, provides sufficient ventilation to keep temperature and humidity under control, has a small footprint and can be made from materials you can find locally. In this post I’ll discuss the materials needed, where to get them and how to assemble your very own space bucket.

A space bucket with three spacers and an optional LED strip lighting.
A space bucket with three spacers and an optional LED strip lighting.

Materials for the Classic Space Bucket

There are a number of ways to put together a space bucket. In this post I’ll discuss how to assemble the most ubiquitous configuration the classic space bucket.

Five Gallon Buckets

You’ll need  five-gallon buckets similar to the one pictured below. You can find these types of buckets in depots and hardware stores. Price varies. The color doesn’t matter. Although white is recommended as it makes the space bucket look clean and sanitary and also helps keep the temperature down. At least one lid is required. Some buckets have spouts similar to the one pictured but that is not required. A spoutless lid is easier to work with.

a white round plastic 5-gallon bucket.
A white round plastic 5-gallon bucket.

Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL)

Plants require light in order to grow. Indoors, where the sun doesn’t shine, we can meet a plant’s light requirement using artificial lighting. A cheap and effective option are compact fluorescent lights (CFL).

Cool daylight and warm white CFL bulbs.
Cool daylight and warm white CFL bulbs.

At least 100 true watts is recommended. For best results use a mix of cool day light and warm white. This will be explain in a future post about indoor plant lighting.

Philips 24w compact fluorescent lights.
Philips 24w compact fluorescent lights.

You’ll also need light sockets for your CFL bulbs. Weatherproof rubber sockets works well.

Fans for Ventilation

Your space bucket requires ventilation. Proper air circulation keeps the temperature and humidity inside your space bucket under control. Without it heat can build up inside your bucket and kill your plant. Lack of air circulation also weakens the plant’s stems and makes them susceptible to fungal and bacterial growth.

80mm computer case fans for space buckets

Find quiet and efficient fans. Twelve-volt computer case fans 80mm in size works well. Get four of them. You can power them with 12V cellphone charger with sufficient amperage. Most spare cellphone chargers you have at home should be able to power all 4 of them. Be sure to check the current (amperage) requirements of your fan and compare that to the current that your cellphone charger supplies.

Twelve volt cellphone charger.
Twelve volt cellphone charger.

Power Strip

The space bucket has a number of electrical components that must be plugged in and supplied with electricity. A quality power strip will make maintaining your space bucket and managing your plant easier.

Electro-Mechanical Timer

To simulate night and day cycles you must regularly turn the lights on and off. Although this can be done manually it is impractical to do so. You can use an electro mechanical timer to automatically turn the lights on and off on a preset time of day.

Electro-mechanical timer switches is a low-cost yet effective way to automate your plant’s light schedule. Please see this guide on how to use electro-mechanical timer switch for more information on how to use them.

You may also opt to use a digital timer. Although it is more expensive than an electro-mechanical timer.

digital timer switches
Digital timer switches

Screw on Wire Connector

Also known as wire nuts. They make splicing wires together easier and safer.

pack of screw on wire connector
A pack of screw on wire connector.

Tools and Other Supplies

As with most DIY project, the tools you have at your disposal will make be a huge factor on how your space bucket will turn out. You will be working with plastic and electrical components. I suggest you go through this guide to learn how the space bucket is assembled to give you a general idea on what tools you need to complete the project. Use your creativity and DIY prowess. The entire build involves cutting and boring holes through plastic. A regular hand saw cuts through plastic with ease. To make holes a soldering iron or a heated cutting implement can be used. I use a Dremel for DIY projects and it works well for building space buckets too.

Dremel tools with useful attachments for space bucket construction.
Dremel tools with useful attachments for space bucket construction.

Some essential DIY supply and equipment such as the following may come in handy:

  • Zip ties
  • Duct tape
  • Electrical tape
  • Mounting tape
  • Super glue
  • Wire stripper
  • Sand paper

Space Bucket Assembly

With tools and materials ready, we can now proceed to assembling the space bucket. But first…

Safety First

Please make sure to take all necessary precautions to ensure your personal safety when assembling your space bucket. Wear eye protection when cutting or boring through plastic because small bits of plastic can easily make their way to your eyes.

Work in a well lit and well ventilated area specially if you are using heated implements to burn through plastic. Avoid breathing in the fumes. Use face a mask.

You will be working with electrical components. If you never worked with these before I suggest you find someone to help you. Extra precautions must be taken because you will be working with water in close proximity with electrical components. Always unplug your space bucket when watering your plant or tinkering with your hydroponic system.

With that in mind let’s get started.

Build the Main Container

The main container will hold your plant and this is where most of the remaining components attach to. Pick the the best bucket among your collection. Make holes at the bottom of this bucket for drainage. A heated metal rod works well for this purpose.

Drainage holes at the bottom of the main container of a space bucket
Drainage holes at the bottom of the main container of a space bucket

Intake fans needs to be attached to the sides of the main container opposite to each other. Please refer to the picture below. Make a hole large enough for the fan.  You can use a marker to make an outline where you will be making the hole.

You can use zip ties to tie the fan in place. Make sure the fan is blowing air inside the bucket. The frame of the intake fan has arrows indicating the direction of the airflow.

Next, add reflective materials to the walls of the main container. This prevents light from leaking. The walls of five gallon buckets are thin enough to let light shine through which can be an issue and makes lightning less efficient. You can buy silver plastic sheets from stationary stores and stick them to the walls of the main container using two-sided adhesive strips. Another option aluminium foil tape which you can buy from hardware stores.

Inside the classic space bucket
Inside the classic space bucket. The walls are made reflective with aluminium foil tape.

Build Spacers

Spacers are stacked on top of the main container to add height to your indoor garden.

To make them simply cut off the tops of your extra 5-gallon buckets. Make sure to leave enough of the bucket so that you can still stack them on top of each other well. Pick the best one and set it aside for now. This will be constructed into a light-top for your space bucket. Add reflective material on the inside walls of the rest of the spacers.

As for the rest of the bucket you can fashion them into plant pots enough to hold 3 gallons by adding drainage holes and optional handles.

Three gallon plant pots
Three gallon plant pots.

Build the Light-Top

This is one of the most complicated part of the build. Take the spacer you set a side for the light top and add holes on the side here the light sockets will fit.  You will also need holes for the fans. Be sure to double check you measurements before you start cutting holes through your the spacer.

With proper spacing and appropriately sized CFL bulbs you should be able to arrange the lights and fans similar to the picture below.

Light-top assembly with one of the spacer attached.
Light-top assembly with one of the spacer attached.

Add the lid and add reflective materials. Make sure the fans are blowing air towards the outside of the bucket. With this fan configuration, your space bucket will be able to suck in cold and fresh air from the outside and blow cold and fresh air through your plant while at the same time pull out hot air from the lights keeping the interior of your bucket cool and well ventilated.

Wiring the Lights and Fans

If you are not familiar with wiring (voltages, amps, series/parallel configuration)  I strongly suggest you recruit the help of some who is. Improper wiring can cause electrocution. You can even burn your house down.

The lights and fans should be wired in parallel. Use solder or wire nuts to splice the wires together. Use zip ties to tuck wire neatly.

For convenience and additional safety precaution, attach the power strip to the side of your space bucket. As a rule of thumb all electrical components should be off the ground.

Optional LED Lighting

Additional lights can be added using LED strips. This can be constructed on one of the spacers.

Final Checks and Finishing Touches

Almost done! Double check your wiring. Screw on the CFL bulbs. Plug in the lights and fans to the power strip. Plug in the power strip and turn it on. You are now ready to grow indoors!

Space bucket in operation.
Space bucket in operation.

Space Buckets and SNAP Hydroponics

You can use space buckets with SNAP Hydroponics to conveniently grow plants indoors. Find a fitting container to hold the nutrient solution and let it grow.

Growing Tips

To lessen the heat inside your space bucket specially during summer you may opt to turn on the lights during the night and turn them off during the day. Twelve hours of continuous lighting should be enough for most tropical plants. You may opt to remove some of the lights when your plant is small and doesn’t need that much light.

Be sure to unplug the space bucket before working with your plant or the nutrient solution reservoir. Water and electricity is a dangerous combination. Be extra careful.

Use topping, pruning and plant training to keep your plant short and bushy. It’s very easy for your plant to outgrow your bucket if you don’t manage the foliage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Neat! Did you come up with this?

No, I did not. This is the brainchild of u/Ekrof. He built a community of DIY indoor gardeners at r/spacebuckets.

Is it worth the electricity consumption?

That depends on who you ask and how they use it. For a hobbyist who just want to start growing indoors the cost maybe worth it.


More space bucket pictures.

Posted on 2 Comments

CnS 101: How to Grow Cactus and Succulents in the Philippines

An updated version is available in our comprehensive Knowledge Base.

This is a comprehensive and newbie friendly guide to cactus and succulents growing. Growing cactus and succulents (CnS) in the Philippines can be challenging. CnS originate in areas where it is hot and arid while the Philippine environment is generally hot and humid. Humidity is the opposite of aridity! Without proper care CnS can easily die in tropical conditions.

an arid desert with little vegetation
The arid landscape of Africa.


What are Cactus and Succulents?

All cactuses (“cactuses” and “cacti” are both correct plurals of “cactus”) are succulents but not all succulents are cactus. In this post I’ll refer to both as succulents.
Succulents are plants with fat leaves and/or stems that are used to store water. Succulents have adapted to arid environments.

In their natural habitat succulents receive very little water. Rains are few and are far between and the landscape experiences dry spells. In their natural environment it is arid. The air contains very little moisture (low humidity) which means water, if available evaporates quickly. When it rains in the desert it floods. The floods carries with it rich nutrients from the desert landscape thus enriching the soil. Remember the rain is not nutrient rich. Only when it hits the ground or collect as floodwater does it get infused with nutrients which in turn gets distributed through out the landscape. Because it is arid the water evaporates quickly.

flash flood in a desert
Desert flash flood.

These are the conditions that succulents has adapted to. To survive succulents generally have the following adaptations: water storage through succulency and crassulacean acid metabolism.

Succulents Store Water

Storing water is one of the ways plants survive in arid environments. Succulents store water in their leaves and stems in the form of juice or sap. Succulent is derived from the latin word sucus which means juice or sap.

jade plant potted in a grow bag
Crassula ovata stores water in its leaves and stem.

Succulents Use Crassulacean Acid Metabolism

Plants transport water and nutrients in a process called evapotranspiration. Plants draw water and nutrients through the roots. Water move through the plant via the stem. Water then escapes as water vapor through the stomata. Up to 98% of the water taken up by plants escapes as water vapor through this process. This is something that succulents cannot afford in the dry environments where they originate. To combat this they developed the crassulacean acid metabolism or CAM. With CAM the succulent keeps their stomata closed during the day thus preventing water from escaping. To photosynthesise they used carbon dioxide they stored  previously.  Then at night their stomata opens allowing for the exchange of gases which will allow the succulent to store carbon dioxide in a form of an acid.

A diagram of Crassulacean Acid Metabolism
CAM diagram

Succulents Have Shallow But Expansive Root Systems

As mentioned earlier water is a premium in the environments where succulents originate. When water does come they must make the most out of it to be able to absorb as much water and nutrients as they can before it all evaporates.

During dry spells succulents put out roots to try and find water and make sure they are going to make the best out of the next rain. When rain does come their roots are ready to make the most out of it. They will suck up all the water they can as fast as possible and store them in their leaves and stems. The soil will soon be dry again and they will grow more roots and so on.

That is why it is very important that succulents receives dry spells. It is during dry spells that much of the root growth happens. The more root they have the better they can absorb water and nutrients when rain does come.

Proper Care

We now know basic but important information about succulents. To grow succulents successfully we must do our best to replicate the growing conditions for our potted plants. The conditions, NOT the landscape. For example, you can’t take a cactus out of the desert; put it in a pot using the rocks, pebbles and silt from the desert; take it with us to the Philippines; put it out in the sun and rain and expect it to grow.

First of all, it rains here too often. Secondly the air is so humid because the country is surrounded by water. The end result, the pot could stay wet for too long. Wetness is bad because it promotes the growth of microorganisms that can cause problems for the plants.

Remember, in their natural environment succulents doesn’t have to deal with wetness for very long. That is why they don’t have that much defense from water borne maladies. If they stay wet in their pot for too long. Sooner or later rot will result.

That is why it is important that your potting mix is fast draining, quick drying and airy.


Terracotta pots are the best. Terracotta pots are porous. They allow moisture to escape and thus allow your potting mix to dry faster. Terracotta pots can be cumbersome however.

Your pot should be big enough to allow the root ball to occupy 1/2 to 2/3 of the volume of the pot. When in doubt err in the side of caution and under pot. Larger pots collect more moisture and takes longer to dry.

Be sure that your pot as drain holes at the bottom. Drain holes are required because otherwise water pool inside your pot and kill your plant. It should also be at the bottom instead of the side. Side drain holes still allows a small amount of water to pool at the bottom which will supply moisture through out the entire pot.

a potted jade plant
A jade plant in a properly sized terracotta pot.

Potting Mix

There are as many succulent potting mixes as there are succulent growers. The amount and type of materials you use should apply to your environment.

Fast Draining

The mix must not retain water. Again it is important that our growing medium dries as quickly as possible. One way to check if your mix is water retentive is by comparing its dry and wet weight. If your mix become significantly heavier when wet, then it is water retentive.

crushed scoria pictured with 25-centavo coin for scale.
Crushed scoria is a medium that doesn’t retain water.

Quick Drying

The longer the pot is wet the longer the plant has to deal with the problem instead of doing other things like growing  or reproducing  (flowers/fruits/seeds). Your potting mix should be allowed to dry quickly. One way of allowing your pot to dry faster is by not using top dressing. Top dressing can prevent water vapor from escaping the pot and slow the drying process.


Plants need to breathe too. Roots need oxygen from the air. In addition, air circulations culls the growth of anaerobic bacteria (bad ones). Air circulation speeds up evaporation too. One of the signs of a good mix is when it makes a faint sound when you pour water over your pot. Those faint gurgling sound is a sign that fresh air is being pulled inside your pot aerating the roots and keeping them healthy.

Proper Watering Steps

Proper watering, again, is based on the conditions in their natural environment. In their natural environment, there are periods of dry spells. Rains (and other forms of precipitation) drenches the soil. Then it all drys up again. To water properly follow these steps:

  1. Wait until the medium is thoroughly dry.
  2. Add water until the pot is thoroughly wet.
  3. Repeat.

Make sure the pot is dry. You’ll be surprised how, even an excellent medium like pumice take so long to thoroughly dry because of how humid the environment is.

Do not follow a schedule. “Water once a week.”, is a common advice but this can be harmful for your succulent. It can take more than a week for the potting mix to dry and if it remains wet for too long  death will occur.

Proper Care Tips

Use a Test Pot

Take a pot similar to those used by your potted succulents. Fill it with the same potting media you use with your succulents. This is your test pot. To use simply water your test pot until the medium is thoroughly wet. Take a BBQ stick and stick it into the center of the potting medium. Push it down to the bottom of the pot. Wait for a couple of minutes. Pull it out and feel the stick for moisture. If there is moisture the pot is still wet. You’ll be surprised how long potted media take to thoroughly dry.

You can use it to tell if you should consider watering your collection. Water your test pot along with the rest of your succulents following proper watering steps. You can use the test pot to tell you when to water. Check you test pot for moisture to tell if it is OK to water your succulents.

Don’t Use Sprays

Spraying succulents will do no good because most of them have a waxy covering to keep moisture in and this also keeps the moisture out.

Spraying the growing medium will do more harm than good. Spraying the top of the growing medium can result in bad root development. Remember that the medium should be thoroughly wet if one follows the proper watering steps.

Don’t Use Top Dressing

Don’t use them. Unless, you are following proper watering steps or made adjustments elsewhere. Top dressing can trick you into believing your pot is dry. Top dressing also hinders evaporation. Even if your medium is porous and airy often times top dressing is not. The top dressing prevents water from escaping and can keep your medium wet for longer.

Don’t Use Terrariums

Don’t use them. Unless you’re quite experienced in succulent care. Terrariums act like a humidity dome that traps moisture in. This is one of the worst place for succulents to grow.

Drainage Holes at the Bottom of the Pot

This is very important. Without this your plant will sit in water and drown (roots need oxygen from the air) or rot.

Drainage holes to the side is OK as long as you make sure that water doesn’t pool at the bottom of the pot.

Use Terracotta Pots

They can be cumbersome but are the best option. They are porous and it wicks away moisture from your medium and exposes it to the outside of the pot thus increasing the rate of evaporation. If you are in hurry to dry them up you can use a fan to speed this up further. Air movement increases the rate of evaporation.

Use a Dry Box

It is just a box with a dehumidifier inside. You can buy dehumidifiers from hardware stores. The more you put in your box the more arid the conditions will be inside the box. That is because dehumidifiers removes the humidity from the air thus the name. This increases the rate of evaporation of your pot. It is best to do this overnight so that you don’t deprive your plant of sunlight.

Water in the Morning

Following proper watering steps. If you water in the morning your pot and succulent will be exposed for up to 12 hours of warm temperature and sunlight. Water evaporates faster when it is warm. In addition, succulents (and other plants) generally do a lot of work at night. Topping them up with watering the morning makes sure they are ready for the day ahead.

Give Them as Much Sunlight as You Can

Succulents (generally) are not indoor plants as many would lead you to believe. They live outdoors in the middle of the punishing desert heat. They are not used to receiving very little sunlight. If they do not receive as much sunlight as they need they will etiolate in an effort to find more. They stretch, become less compact, and their stems become weak. Etiolation is not a normal thing. It happens because they are desperate for sunlight. Etiolation means they are not healthy and this makes them even more vulnerable to rot caused by overwatering.

Fertilize in Moderation or Not at All

In the desert, succulents generally survive in poor soil and nutrients are only brought in by the occasional flooding. To adapt to this environment most cacti grows slow. If they grow slow they won’t need that much nutrients. Pumping your pot with fertilizers could be harmful. Always start at half dose and increase gradually until your reach the recommended dose or a sweet spot you are happy with. In most cases you can forgo adding fertilizers because succulents are used to growing in areas with very little nutrients in the soil.

Put Succulents Inside an Air Conditioned Room at Night

Desert nights are cold. Air conditioning also lowers the room’s humidity which can aid in drying up your pots. If you spend your night sleeping in an air conditioned room, consider taking your succulents with you. Cold nights are perfect for your succulents and can give them their trademark stress coloring. In addition, colder nights trigger flower production in some succulent species.

Common Misconceptions

Succulents Photosynthesise at Night

No they don’t. Photosynthesis require light, so like other plants they do photosynthesis during the day.

Succulents Grow Indoors

No, most succulents cannot survive indoors. Succulents require lots of light in order to survive. Growing them indoors will result in etiolation and very likely death.

Succulents Can Grow on Rocks

No, they can’t. Succulents can survive in environments with very little nutrients but like most plants they can’t survive without them. Only the Mexican giant cardon (Pachycereus pringlei) and a few others have developed to ability to extract nutrients from rocks.

Additional Questions

What is humidity?

Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air. Humidity dictates how fast water evaporates. The higher the humidity the longer it takes for water to evaporate. The Philippines is surrounded by water which makes the air very humid which means wet stuff tends to stay wet for longer.

Can I use SNAP on Succulents?

Definitely. If you’re using a totally inert media like pure pumice or scoria you can use diluted SNAP working solution to supply their nutrient needs. The left over nutrient solution you collect after harvest works well.

Posted on 1 Comment

Growing Tomatoes in Soil

Everybody loves tomatoes. Eating them freshly picked and still warm from light of the sun is a pleasure only tomato growers get to experience. The tomato plant is very easy to grow from seeds or cuttings. They grow and flourish everywhere as long as there’s enough sunlight and water as you can see below.

fruiting tomato plant surrounded by weeds
This tomato plant is growing unattended. It’s fruiting despite all the competition around it.

Tomatoes can be grown from seeds or cuttings. Seed packets can be bought from your local gardening center. If you are feeling adventurous you can try growing them from kitchen scraps. Put tomato seeds on a layer of newspaper and dry them under the sun. They need to be thoroughly dried otherwise it might take a while to germinate them. For the lazy (like me) you can just put fresh seeds on potting soil, put it under the sun to dry, wait a few days, then add water. That’s how I germinated tomato seeds recently.

small tomato seedlings on some potting soil
Seedlings! It is fascinating how hard to decompose the tomato skin is.

Wait for them to grow big enough to be transferred to your plot. I usually repot the seedlings into individual nursery pots and wait until they are around 10-15cm long before I transfer them to my garden.

a potted young tomato plant
A young tomato plant in a nursery pot

If a friend or neighbour has a tomato plant you want to experience the pleasure of growing, try asking them for cuttings. Just choose healthy shoots and cut them to 10-15cm. Then put your cuttings in a container filled with clean water. Keep the container in a place with indirect sunlight and wait for a couple of weeks for them to take roots. Be sure to refill or replace the water as needed.

When the roots are long enough, 5cm will do, transfer them to a nursery pot filled with soil. Keep them in indirect sunlight for a couple of days. And slowly introduce them to more light. In a few days you’ll have a healthy potted tomato plant ready to be transferred to your garden.

Once transplanted all that’s needed is regular waterings and plenty of sunlight. You might want to add a tomato cage too because these grow until they can no longer keep themselves up.

Described below is my recent experience in growing tomatoes. I had a blast growing the Costoluto Genovese Pomodoro.

four tomato plants growing on soil
Tomato plants transplanted January 19th. Pictured 2nd of February.

Pictured above are tomato plants grown from clones given to us by a friend. It has grown so much since it’s been transplanted.

big tomato plants
Tomato plants pictured February 21st.

Above I added strings to support the plants. Using strings proved to be a mistake. Because they just kept growing.

big and bushy tomato plants
Tomato plants pictured March 5th.

Until the string broke and the plants collapsed under their own weight. They are already bearing flowers and fruits at this point.

We just propped them up with a better support structure and they went about their business of growing and bearing fruits again. Soon enough we are harvesting tomatoes.

a bunch of Costoluto Genovese Pomodoro
Costoluto Genovese Pomodoro

At first I thought I might be doing something wrong because my tomatoes have a weird shape. My friend who gave me the seedlings never told me what variety they are aside from telling me they are “pomodoro.” It took me a bit of Googling to find out that they are Costoluto Genovese Pomodoro. “Pomordoro”, by the way, is Italian for tomato. So I guess it’s wrong to say “pomodoro tomatoes.”

I eventually had to take down the plants because they’ve grown too big and they started to attract pests. I made sure to save and root cuttings before I did so. Below is a video of me planting the cuttings I took from my previous tomato plant.

Thanks for reading. Good luck and happy growing!

Posted on 3 Comments

How to Grow a Gardening Community: The Story of SNAP Hydroponics Growers

plants growing in growing boxes with SNAP hydroponics

I’m an “experimental gardener.” I really don’t have any particular goal when it comes to gardening. I just grow plants because it’s fun and rewarding. When I stumbled upon SNAP on the internet I got curious and decided to try it out. My curiosity lead me to a community I never thought of creating.

Back in 2016 we moved to a house which has more place for me to do gardening. In addition, it has a disused basement (silong) which I thought was perfect for indoor hydroponics gardening. I started reading about hydroponics and I learned that hydroponics:

  • Needs a constant power supply
  • Is expensive
  • Is complicated

As I searched Google on how to make hydroponics work on my environment and experience level (“hydroponics philippines beginner”) one result keeps popping up—SNAP Hydroponics. As I read more about it the more I learn that there is very little information about SNAP online. Nonetheless, with minimal knowledge about it, I decided to buy a set of solution and try it out. My very first grow in the summer of 2016 is a success and so is my second try during the rainy season of the same year. It was then I decided to record and share my experience with SNAP on the internet.

plants growing in growing boxes with SNAP hydroponics
Pechay in growboxes with SNAP Hydroponics.

The goal at the time was to spread the right words about SNAP hydroponics.

I created SNAP Hydroponics Growers on the 30th of September 2016 with my wife as the only other member. I never even thought of adding my friends because I don’t believe any of them are into gardening. And so for the first few months. There are very little activity in the group. I’m very thankful for the first few members who joined though there’s very little content or activity going on in the group. However, in these first few months I learned a couple things and set a few simple rules to run the group.

  • Be nice
  • Stay on topic
  • No spam

Though member requests are few and far between during to first few months I make it a point to review each request to make sure they aren’t there to spam. I allowed everyone to post without requiring admin approval and it worked somehow. We reached one thousand members on August of 2017, short of a year after the group was created.

picture of plants with text over them saying 1000 happy growers
The 1k milestone post.

Many things changed when the group reached one thousand members . There are more activity in the group and membership requests has grown. It’s also around this time when the most knowledgable horticulturists in the group joined thus increasing the amount of knowledge being exchanged in the group. Shortly after that, I created this website as a repository of information about SNAP hydroponics. Not long after, in December of 2017 SNAP Hydroponics Growers reached two thousand members.

a collection of pictures with text saying
SNAP Hydroponics Growers Reached 2,000 members in December 2017.

At this point, members are discussing many other aspects of gardening outside SNAP Hydroponics so I changed the rules to include horticulture topics and changed the group type from “club” to “support.” The growth of the group continued rapidly and in just another month it reached 3,000 members.

picture of seelings with an overlayed text:
SNAP Hydroponics Growers Reached 2,000 members in January 2018.

By January of 2018. The number of membership requests really ramped up. There is so many membership requests that I can’t keep up. In addition, I noticed that a high percentage of the requests are from spam accounts. I decided to only review and decide approval for membership requests that answers the group questions. The group’s membership reached 4,000 member in early March and 5,000 members mid-March.

When we reached 5,000 members Facebook restricted me from freely changing the groups privacy setting and group type. The good news is Facebook gave me more features to manage to group. I can now have multiple announcements instead of a single pinned post and I get to set a list of rules that is visible in the groups “about.”

The growth of the group continued. I grew so fast that I didn’t fail to make milestone posts for 6,000 and 8,000-member milestones.

Past ten thousand members, I finally decided to require admin approval for member posts to deal with spam. By 12,000 members I added a moderator to help me moderate the group. At the same time I reworked this website and moved it to a better content platform. You can still access the old version of should you wish to do so.

Shortly after the group reached 12,000 members I checked and realised that the group has attained one of the goals I set for it back in 2016 to reach the top of search results for “SNAP Hydroponics.” Back when I first started using SNAP. Finding information about it is very difficult and unreliable. There are even search results that will lead you to illegitimate products claiming to be SNAP hydroponics solutions. I’m glad to report that that is no longer the case today. Searching Google and Facebook for “SNAP hydroponics” now leads you to reliable and trustworthy answers about SNAP hydroponics thanks in part to SNAP Hydroponics Growers.

Search Engine Results Page for ?SNAP Hydroponics?
The current Google search results page for “snap hydroponics.”
Posted on

Growing Pipino (Cucumber) Using SNAP Hydroponics

a healthy one month old cucumber plant.

Cucumber is one of the easiest fruiting plant that can be grown in SNAP hydroponics. Here I’ll share my growing experience with them. The first time I ever grown cucumber is the second time I’ve ever grown my own food with SNAP. That’s a testament to how easy it is.

pipino seedling in a seedling plug
My very first pinino seedling 9th September 2016. This seedling was recently transferred from a germination tub.


A sunny location
The more sun the better. I’ve grown mine on an east facing and awning protected side of the house. It receives around direct sunlight from 7am to 12nn it’s under our house’s shadow for the rest of the day.


a healthy one month old cucumber plant.
This is the same set of seedlings on 10th October 2016.
A trellis to grow on
Cucumber is a vine that tends to grow everywhere. You’ll have to give it a trellis to grow on. I let my cucumber plants grow on window grills and plastic twine (taling straw).
Enough room for roots
Cucumber grows fast and to support this growth it develops a big root system just as fast. It’s very easy to run out of room (root bound) in your growing box and as a result the cucumber plant die.


I’ve successfully grown five of them on a single growing box but I think managing them became too much for me. You’ll need to regularly visit it because like I mentioned before they tend to grow everywhere. When they are big (and they get big fast) they drink so much water you pretty much have to top up the growing box with water almost every other day. I guess it depends on what you intend to do with the fruits. If you just need them on a regular basis, growing a couple of them on a single grow box would do. If you need them in bulk, like for example when you intend to pickle them, then 10 of them split in two growing boxes will give you lots of them faster.

Other things to consider
Leaf miners can be a little nuisance. Cucumber grows fast despite of them. Leaf miners will make the leaves look ugly though.


They can be infested with aphids. Aphids tend to slow them down and can be a big problem. If an aphid infestation starts I tend to just discard the plant and start over.

Strong winds can mangle them. Cucumbers have big leaves and soft stems. Summer is the best time to grow cucumbers if you don’t have a greenhouse.

Starting From Seed

I tried both sowing cucumber seeds on a germination tubs and sowing them directly into a seedling plug. Both works but I find sowing directly into the seedling plug more convenient. Sowing them directly into a seedling plug saves them the trouble of getting transplant shock.


As the cucumber plants grow it will take up nutrients and water from the growing box. However, the plant tend to drink more water than nutrients specially during hot seasons. The plant will do well for over a month with only water being added to top up the grow box. I replenish the nutrient solution after every four weeks and gets more frequent as the plant grows larger.

Cucumbers grown in SNAP hydroponics will start flowering in four weeks and fruits will be ready for harvest typically around six weeks. When harvesting, use snips to cut the steam about a centimeter above the fruit.

The cucumber plant’s roots tends to grow dense and heavy relatively fast and will eventually end up filling the growing box. I haven’t tried trimming the roots because I tend to start over from seed when the plant gets root bound.

dead pipino plant
This is the same growing box on the 28th of October 2016. Five cucumber plants filled up the growing box with roots in just over a month.

Thanks for reading. Feel free the leave a comment if you have any questions. Happy growing!