After a little bit of research (and a whole lot of convincing my other half that I could do this for a small amount of money), I got my first hydroponic system set up!
Granted, it's in my bathroom...on top of my toilet, but I can easily monitor it at that location and watch water levels and such.
So here's my setup...the purple light in the photo is from the grow light ($10.97 at Walmart), my water container (holding the nutrient solution: 1/2 gallon filtered H2O, 1/2 scoop Plant Food [$3.97 for a giant box of "off brand" Miracle Grow], and the tiniest pinch of Epsom Salt) is an empty Folger's coffee "can". I used a small planter (Dollar Tree...$1 for 4 of them) that I drilled massive amounts of holes into the lower half, then filled with a handful of decorative stones (giant bag of them from Dollar Tree..there's probably about $0.03 worth in this set up)...rocks from outside would have worked, but then I would have had to boil them and such to ensure no "ookies" got into my system. The tubing in the lower left of the photo is my airline, this was another Walmart purchase...you get 8-feet of tubing in the fish section for $1.88. I drilled a 3/16" hole to shove it into the can and under water it went, with an air-stone attached at the end (it looks like a pencil eraser). The air pump (also a Walmart purchase for $6.38) is above the whole system on top of my cabinet.
The plant I used for my "test system" is a Celery that I am regrowing! Even if I never eat it...the plant itself is gorgeous and smells great! The darker outer stalks and leaves were already sprouted when I set up the Hydro system, but, those paler green leaves in the center are all new in the past week or so! It is doing amazingly well (even flourishing) in my little Hydroponic experiment.
I need to buy some seeds so that I can get the full system set up sometime between now and winter (I know my original goal was end of Summer, but my hands are getting worse, not better and I don't think I'll be doing much of anything until after I have healed from surgery on both of my thumbs...and I don't even meet the surgeon until the end of June). I can't wait to harvest veggies from a full-blown Hydroponic System in my garage! Months away, I know...but a girl needs goals.
For now, I have a second air line and a set of T-splitters ready to expand this little system...just need a plant to go in the pot!