In 1937, William Frederick Gericke is credited for his earliest modern reference to hydroponics. He grew tomato vines about 7.6 meters high in his backyard in a mineral nutrient solution. The earliest modern reference to hydroponics (last 100 years) comes from a man named William Frederick Gericke. While working at the University of California, Berkeley, he began to publicize the idea that plants could be grown in a solution of nutrients and water instead of soil.
The first known record of hydroponics supposedly used was around 500 BC. It was in the legendary Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. King Nebuchadnezzar II built this miraculous building as a gift for his wife, Queen Amyitis. Gericke coined the term “hydroponics” to describe his method of commercial crop production without land use.
In recent decades, NASA has conducted extensive hydroponic research for its Controlled Ecological Life Support System (CELSS). NASA studies have shown that aeroponically grown plants have an 80% increase in dry weight biomass (essential minerals) compared to hydroponically grown plants. Another popular new hydroponic method, Deep Water Culture (DWC), uses individual containers for each plant with air pumps that saturate the roots with oxygen. The origins of hydroponics can be traced back to the ancient city of Babylon, where modern-day Iraq is located.
For all techniques, most hydroponic reservoirs are now built from plastic, but other materials have also been used, including concrete, glass, metal, vegetable solids, and wood. When people who aren’t familiar or have heard of hydroponics first hear what it’s about, they would either say it’s impossible or something so futuristic that it could have played out in science fiction. Hydroponically grown plants occupy only 25 percent of the area used by traditional soil cultivation for the same harvest. The various hydroponic media available, such as expanded clay and coconut shells, contain more air space than traditional potting soil and deliver more oxygen to the roots, which is important in epiphytic plants such as orchids and bromeliads, whose roots are exposed to air in nature.
Compounds can be added in both organic and conventional hydroponic systems to improve nutrient uptake and uptake by the plant. According to the US Army’s special hydroponic department, fresh produce is grown for military demand. The Epcot Center at Disneyworld presented Living With the Land, a futuristic ride through hydroponic “gardens of tomorrow.” The nutrients used in hydroponic systems can come from many different sources, including fish droppings, duck manure, purchased chemical fertilizers, or artificial nutrient solutions.
Before the ancient Chinese used hydroponic methods to grow rice, there was archaeological evidence that it was first grown in the soil at the beginning of rice cultivation. Organic Hydroponics seeks to combine water culture technology with the simplicity and environmental benefits of traditional soil farming.