I've made self watering planters from cat litter pails. They worked great.
Baby Romaine lettuce does well in AGs. Most any leaf lettuce, really. A lot of people use AGs to grow weed.
Martha, AGs are hydroponic systems that must use the right liquid nutrients, and the water needs to be aerated. And of course, the lights are critical, too. Grow lights will help with dirt gardening, assuming they're close enough to the plants. It wouldn't work very well to just use the AG hood. It's supported by and connects to power through the base. You'd need another type of grow light, or just a regular light with a full spectrum daylight bulb or 3. That's what I use in my older AGs. When the LED hoods on an AG die, the entire hood has to be replaced. I just buy new LED bulbs for most of mine. 🙂🙂