Some gardeners consider a hydroponic system as nothing more than an expensive method of growing fruits and vegetable as opposed to a cheap, space-saving way of bringing a garden into your home. With a few pieces of recycled material, you can build a hydroponics system in an afternoon.
Soda Bottle System
Use old soda bottles to build reservoirs for your hydroponic solution and a place for your plants to sit. Cut each soda bottle in half. Poke a hole into the top end of the bottle, through the cap, and feed a piece of wick through the hole. Fill the inverted top half of the soda bottle with perlite, keeping the wick standing straight up in the center. Fill the bottom half of your cut soda bottle with a mixture of nutrient solution and water, then set the top half of the bottle, with the cap down, on top of it. The wick coming out of the cap should touch the nutrient solution in the other half. As the plant needs nutrient solution it will pull it up through the wick.
Air Gap System
The air gap system again uses a soda bottle to create a cheap hydroponic system. Cut the soda bottle just below the spout. Throw away the top part of the bottle. Take a plastic coffee cup and poke holes into the bottom and side. Fill the plastic cup with perlite and your plant seed. Pour water and the nutrient solution into your soda bottle, completely to the top, and place your Styrofoam cup into it. Once roots sprout from the bottom and sides of the Styrofoam cup, lower the level of nutrient solution so it is 1 to 2 inches below the cup.
Another Air Gap System
Take a plastic container and fill it with your nutrient solution. Take a piece of foam board and cut holes into it so you can place plastic coffee cups into it. Poke holes into the bottom and sides of the coffee cups. Fill the cups with perlite and your seed, then cover the top of the cup with plastic wrap. Place the foam board on top of the plastic container, making certain that the nutrient solution is touching the bottom of the Styrofoam board. Once roots begin to appear from the bottom of the cups, drain the nutrient solution so it is one or two inches from the bottom.