An inexpensive hydroponic ebb and flow system IS simple to build at home. One bucket contains the plant and growing medium, while the other contains the nutrient solution. The bucket of nutrient solution is raised and lowered to water and drain the bucket of growing medium.
Take two 5-gallon plastic buckets, and drill a half-inch hole just above the bottom of each one. Insert a half-inch grommet into each hole. Insert a half-inch straight connector into each grommet, and connect the buckets using 4 feet of vinyl tubing.
Pour a gallon of grow rocks into one bucket, and cut a section of window screen to fit on top of it as snugly as possible. Add growing medium on top of the screen, and plant the seedling.
Fill the second bucket with water, and add hydroponic fertilizer. Place an aquarium pump and air stone in the bucket to prevent the water from stagnating. Place the bucket with the plant on a platform. To water the plant, place the water bucket next to it. After a few minutes, return the water bucket to the ground.
Once the plant has used half the fertilizer solution, top the water bucket up with plain water. Once half of this has been used, empty the bucket, and start with a fresh solution. Other hydroponic systems require more components, such as pumps and PVC piping.