Hydroponics Past, Present and Future
The First Hydroponic Gardens... 600 BC The Hanging Gardens of Babylon are believed to be the first successful attempts to grow plants hydroponically.
The Floating Gardens of the Aztecs…. 11th century The Aztecs of Central America, practiced hydroponic growing methods out of necessity. Without land to grow plants, they were forced to learn other ways of producing crops. They built rafts out of rushes and reeds, they then piled soil on the rafts called Chinapas. Some of the Chinampas were as long as 200 feet, growing vegetables and flowers.
Dr. William F Gericke….. 1930's In the late 1920's and early 1930's, Dr. William F. Gericke, focused his research on growing practical crops for large scale commercial applications. He coined the term, "hydroponics", which came from the Greek words, hydro (meaning water) and ponos (meaning labor).
Hydroponics Used in W W II to Feed Troops…..1940's During the late 1940's, a practical hydroponic method was developed by Robert B. and Alice P. Withrow. Their system flooded then drained a container holding gravel and the plant roots. During World War II the shipping of fresh vegetables overseas was difficult. In 1945, the US Air Force built one of the first large hydroponic farms on Ascension Island in the South Atlantic, followed by farms on islands in the pacific. These hydroponic farms provided vegetables for U.S. troops.
New Technology Brings Hydroponics into Mainstream…..1970-80's Commercial hydroponics in the US were held back until hydroponic systems were economical and easy to operate. With the advent of high-tech plastics (PVC) and simpler system design, this came about in the late 1970's. It was proven that, with proper management, hydroponic growing could produce premium produce and be profitable.
Hydroponics Now Currently the US has hydroponic farms that cover as many as 60 acres and produce large quantities of produce. The demand for premium produce is so high in the US that the number of current hydroponic farms cannot meet the demand. The US Navy is growing fresh vegetables on submarines in highly specialized recalculating hydroponic systems to help supply fresh vegetables for the crews.
The Future of Hydroponics Currently, plans are being drawn for using hydroponics on space stations, and on the surfaces of other celestial bodies (planets, moons, etc.) Hydroponics will be used in areas such as deserts and mountains, where it is difficult to grow plants using the traditional method.