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ebb and flow table

   Ebb & Flow: How it Works

The ebb and flow hydroponic system (also called flood and drain)
is the classic hydroponic setup. It is easy to understand, build and
maintain. It's versatile and can accommodate pots of any size, or even
rockwool blocks. We love the ebb and flow and use it often.

Individual potted plants are arranged
on a drain table or "growing bed" which can hold a few inches of water.
Periodically, nutrient solution is pumped in, flooding the holding bed.
The plants are watered from the bottom through the drain holes in the

After a few minutes of
soaking, the pump cuts off, and the table drains, the nutrient
returning to the reservoir below it. This flood-and-drain cycle repeats
2-4 times a day. Simple but very effective.

ebb and flow system diagram

There is a link at the end of the project series to a nice printable booklet of the process!

Interested? Learn to build a large Ebb & Flow System [4X4 growing bed with 24 large pots!] Read all about it here: Simon's Simple Hydroponic plans.

Not ready for a large garden yet?, get started below with our small ebb & flow mini-farm [2-4 pots] free plans!

Not into Do-It-Yourself? Perhaps one of these complete kits is perfect for you: Hydrofarm's Megarden Systen or the Big Boy Bucket System.

HydroTek Ebb & Flow Systems

Grow large in a small space with the classic Ebb & Flow. Automated and effective, ebb & flow delivers optimal water, nutrients and oxygen to the plant roots.

Kits include pump, reservoir, grow tray, ebb and flo kit and galvanized metal frame.

4' x 4' tray/ 40 gallon reservoir- $490

#113502- 4' x 8' tray/ 100 gallon reservoir- $1,070

Ready to "go pro"? Buy multiple 4' x 8' table kits and fill up your greenhouse with healthy, nutritious veggies for the market.

Contact us for details and specs, shipping costs and how to buy one of these top quality FarmTek systems at the lowest possible price .

   How to Build a Small DIY
Ebb and Flow Hydroponic System

is a great, dependable little unit. You can grow four- 6” to 8” pots or
several smaller plants. It costs about $90 (not including
a lamp and food). Most of the materials are available from Home Depot
or Walmart. A few items must come from a hydroponics supplier (but we
give you a good cheap source).


  • Rubbermaid Black Storage Tote Bin with lid- 18 gallon [Walmart]
    (Or similar sturdy tote bin of 16-20 gallon volume)
  • Rubbermaid Snaptoppers Clear Tote- 30 qt. [Lowe's or Home Depot]
    (Or similar flat bin that will fit on top of the tote bin)
  • Timer, mechanical garden; 15 minute increments [Walmart]
  • Aquarium air pump, 6 feet of airline tubing, “T” connector & 5 inch airstone [Walmart]
  • 4 cheap flower pots, 8” [Home Depot or Walmart]
  • Small bag of perlite [Home Depot or garden center]
  • Black irrigation tubing, ½ “ I.D. (inner diameter) about 18” long, [Home Depot]
  • Small submersible pond pump- 120 gph [Home Depot or here's one cheap: Pond Pumps]
  • Fill and drain fitting set with one extension [order as below]
  • One
    brick of coco coir & small bag of LECA (Hydroton or clay balls)
    More on this and ordering info later in the Tips 'N Techniques section.

Rubbermaid 18 gallon tote
Rubbermaid snaptopper
supplies for a small ebb and flow setup


  • Power
    drill; 1-1/4” hole saw & 3/8” regular or spade drill bit (Borrow a
    hole saw kit or buy one, you will definitely use it again).


Return From Ebb and Flow Hydroponic to 4 Simple Systems


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