We had a small closet hydro system right after college (late 90's). It was really cool but you could only grow 3 small plants in it and cops around here started busting indoor growers pretty hard so we sold it to a friend. It took all the guess work out and you just had to add you food/fertilizer ever couple days and make sure the water level stayed up.
I did watch a video where a guy had a veggie set up in a outdoor shed in Mi... i think. If I find it i'll post it. homemade set up with all store bought stuff.