Ruth Grace Wong
Mar 11, 2017 · 3 min read

I am trying to make a Kickstarter for my grow bucket project. This series will be my project diary.

A grow bucket is a device made from repurposed 5 gallon buckets with lights, ventilation, and timer. I want to create and sell a kit for making a grow bucket so you can grow food in your apartment.

Chances of project success are low but you’ll be able to see all my emotional highs and lows in real time


I want to learn how to work with operations at scale because I figure if I am going to help change the world for the better, it’ll be at scale. So at my job I’m an SRE and work with software at scale. In my spare time I want to work with objects at scale and learn to mass manufacturing them. This grow bucket kit is a great place to start because if I want, I just have to learn to source the parts and not have to design them myself.

It will be interesting navigating balancing my day job, my interests, and my sanity. I want to have kids later while still working, so this will be a good exercise.

Also grow buckets are useful!

grow bucket parts

A grow bucket is essentially two plastic 5 gallon buckets, plus some electronics.


On the weekend of May 19th I have a booth at Maker Faire Bay Area. I’d like to make a small run of 100 buckets to sell at Maker Faire to make sure I understand the production process, and to gauge interest. If that works out, I would like to launch a Kickstarter campaign in July, ending in August.

That’s the end of the introduction! Each addition to this publication will be one diary entry. Subscribe here and to my mailing list at !

update June 18

Turns out I do have to do some designing instead of just sourcing parts, and also these things don’t sell as quickly as I thought they would. Kickstarter is definitely not happening in July, but I’m hoping to get a design that I can take to a manufacturer with LED lights soon, and get a letter from a factory to get a 10 year China business visa, in time for the Noisebridge China Hacker Trip.

update September 30

I moved apartments, and didn’t have room for my grow bucket stuff, so I donated all the hardware to Noisebridge and paid for people to take the buckets to the recycling center in El Cerrito. In the end, I spent over $3000 for the hardware on this project (enough hardware for 100 kits), manufactured 44 kits, and sold 7. I thought that the fact that there was an online space buckets community meant there was already market validation for this project, but I was wrong. The most recent diary entry is the project teardown.

I’m still super keen on building up skills for manufacturing! Follow me on Medium to watch my journey unfold.

Robin helping me disassemble the kits to make the electronics more easily donate-able

Grow Bucket Life, Project Kickstarter Diary


Ruth Grace Wong

Written by

Pinterest engineer by day, manufacturing engineer by night. Manufacturing writer for

Grow Bucket Life, Project Kickstarter Diary


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