This last winter I was really craving some freash salad greens and didn't like the choices at the store. So after doing some reasearch I decided to set up a salad garden in our unused basement bedroom. The wife told me right away no dirt so I set up a Flood and drain (or eb and flow) hydroponic system .
This uses a 5 gal. bucket for the reservoir with the nutrients. There is an aquarium pump hooked to a large air stone and a submersible pump. The pump comes on for 15 min 3 times a day to flood the pan above. Then it drains. There is round clay balls that have been cooked so they are porous. They hold some moisture while letting air get to the roots.
I have reflective film on all sides. The front is set up so I can lift it out of the way.
I have used this for 6 months with a number of different crops of buttercrunch, romain lettuce and spinach. The best thing, no dirt to wash off and no pests eating it before us. This small garden produced enough for me and my wife to eat saled 4-5 times a week and still give some to our friends.
I also started a Thai pepper and tomato plant to put out on my deck.
This is what they looked like on May 31st. I started the seeds in the basement flood and drain system.
The Thai pepper on the left is in a Deep Water Culture (DWC) that just uses an aquariam pump and a large air stone in the bottom of the bucket. The top of the bucket has a net cup to hold the stones above the water level and the roots just hang down into the water.
The tomato plant has whats called a farm kit which has a larger net cup to hold the stones. It uses air to draw the water up a tube and drips on top of the stones, the same way an aquariam filter works.
Needless to say both have worked our very well.
I have to add about a gallen of water and nutriants every day. I have so many Thai peppers that I'll be set for a couple of years with ground red pepper. The tomatoes are just starting to turn red and are huge.
Already planning on how to expand next year.