What is hydroponics?
Hydroponics means “working water” (hydro means water and ponos means labor). Many different civilizations have utilized hydroponic growing techniques throughout history. As noted in Hydroponic Food Production by Howard M. Resh: "The hanging gardens of Babylon, the floating gardens of the Aztecs of Mexico and those of the Chinese are examples of 'Hydroponic' culture. Egyptian hieroglyphic records dating back several hundred years B.C. describe the growing of plants in water." While hydroponics is an ancient method of growing plants, giant strides have been made over the years in this innovative area of agriculture.
Throughout the last century, scientists and horticulturists experimented with different methods of hydroponics. One of the potential applications of hydroponics that drove research was growing fresh produce in non-arable areas of the world and areas with little to no soil. Hydroponics was used during World War II to supply troops stationed on non-arable islands in the Pacific with fresh produce grown in locally established hydroponic systems.
Later in the century, hydroponics was integrated into the space program. As NASA considered the practicalities of locating a society on another planet or the Earth's moon, hydroponics easily fit into their sustainability plans. By the 1970s, it wasn't just scientists and analysts who were involved in hydroponics. Traditional farmers and eager hobbyists began to be attracted to the virtues of hydroponic growing.
A few of the benefits of hydroponics include:
The ability to produce higher yields than traditional, soil-based agriculture.
Allowing food to be grown and consumed in areas of the world that cannot support crops in the soil.
Eliminating the need for massive pesticide use (considering most pests live in the soil), effectively making our air, water, soil, and food cleaner.
noun: the science of growing or the production of plants in nutrient rich solutions of moist inert material, instead of soil.
Hydroponic crops can use up to 80% less water than soil grown crops, when in a recirculating system.
You can plant 4 times the amount of hydroponic crops in the same area that soil crops need to grow.
Hydroponic crops can grow twice as fast.
Hydroponically grown crops can be grown organically and without the use of herbicides & pesticides.