Yeah, if you do home hydroponics you’re going to get accused of growing marijuana at some points, possibly frequently.
I just want to link to some pictures of hydroponic chard to prove my set up really did grow vegetables. As well as a lot of algae at one point.
I’ve done hydroponics twice in my life, once with my dad in the early 1970’s and once with my landlord (that’s where the linked pictures come from) more recently. Both used an ebb-and-flow system, the main differences were in the details controlling the ebbing and flowing. It’s a fairly simple DIY method for beginners.
You get two big buckets, a lot of pea gravel, food-grade tubing, a (clean, of course) a pump, two timers like you’d use for lights when you’re away on vacation, grow lights, and growth solution. Put the buckets one above the other (we used saw horses and an old door to support the upper one in the linked pictures). Fill the upper bucket with pea gravel. Fill the lower bucket with growth solution. The pump goes in the lower bucket. Use the tubing and whatever plumbing connections are required to have the water enter the upper bucket from above (you can see this connection in the first linked picture). You have another tube underneath draining the bucket from it’s lowest internal point. So, the pump lifts the liquid to the upper bucket and the liquid flows through the gravel until the pump shuts off, at which point it ebbs away to the lower bucket. Hence, “ebb and flow”. The pea gravel retains moisture between “floodings”, but the ebbing also draws air into the gravel as well, which keeps the roots from drowning. You have to tweak things a bit, so you run the cycle often enough to keep things moist but not so often you get problems with water-logged roots. Or runaway algae. That’s where the timers come in. We had a timer for the pump that allowed multiple “on” and “off” periods per day. The second timer is for the lights. 14-16 hours of light seem to work well for many plants. You need the lights close to the plants. Many plants will need support, not just things like peas but also things like tomatoes or peppers. In some cases, it may make more sense to mount a light vertically next to the plant rather than horizontally over it. Or both, if you have enough lights.
There are a bajillion recipes on line for growth fluids. I “cheated” and used Miracle Gro which, combined with the naturally mineral rich well water around here, worked pretty well. There are, I admit, better ways to go about this but I was on a shoestring budget and I had a large box of the blue stuff. As you can see, it did work.
You can do a lot of testing to optimize your situation. Or, like me, you can just change out the growth fluid every two weeks (the nutrients gets depleted, among other things).
Or - if all of that seems too much initial investment and work - many big box stores have ready-made kits for hydroponic herb gardens to sit in your kitchen, complete with grow lights. Unfortunately, their capacity to produce foliage is minimal. Mine was more work but kept two families in fresh greens all winter for a couple years. Chard, spinach, radishes, and lettuce were our main product. I’d recommend any of those for a first time effort. Some other things, particularly root vegetables, are more finicky to produce.
If you have any further questions fire away.