Has anyone used 55 gallon drum halves for Deep Water Culture? I'm thinking of buying 3, cutting them in half, and using 1 inch foamboard. 6 halves would be about the equivalent of a 4 ft x 8 ft grow bed, based on 23 in diameter x 35 in height of 55 gallon drums. 4ft x 8ft foamboard would yield 5 sections of approximately 22in x 34in. Some concerns are: 1) more plumbing involved; 2) more carpentry involved building stands; 3) the shallower sides of the barrel halves could interfere with plant growth; and 4) less water volume than a square bed. Another potential problem is foamboard sticking to the tapered sides, but that would be mitigated by water level. Also, the sturdiness of the top edges could be questionable, but I imagine that those can be reinforced quite easily and cheaply if need be. My thoughts are to design a system that is part parallel and part series with one of the growbeds being ebb and flow for comparison and experimentation purposes.
Some of the pluses for using the barrel halves are: 1) less work not moving heavy components around while building; 2) easier and lighter portability; 3) conversion to DWC or E&F would be easy with various combinations of the two; 3) easier reach for planting and harvesting; 4) better segregation of plant types facilitating variety and experimentation; 5) more flexibility with layout and placement thereby utilizing space more efficiently and access to sunlight depending on plant need; 6) about 50% less cost than a typical 4ft x 8ft growbed - $120.00 vs $60.00 (New Orleans); and 7) more flexibility in increasing or decreasing growbed area depending on time, money, resources, and nutrient availability. Many of these advantages could be applied to bathtubs and other similar smaller containers.
Obviously, such a system would not really lend itself to a commercial endeavor, but I feel would be excellent in a back yard situation.