Hydroponics Growing Without Soil
The science of growing plants without soil has been known and used for more than one-hundred years. The word “hydroponics”, however, is comparatively new. Dr. W.E. Gericke is usually given credit for coining the word, which translated from Greek, means “working water”. The famous hanging gardens of Babylon were probably on of the first attempts to grow plants hydroponically. The work of Dr. Greicke in the 1920’s and 1930’s in California, however, is generally considered the basis for nearly all forms of hydroponics. During the 1940’s at Purdue University, Robert B. and Alice P. Withrow developed another hydroponic method. Their process was called Nutriculture. Nutriculture varied from Dr. Gericke’s method in that gravel was used as a rooting medium.
After World War II a number of commercial installations were built in the United States. The majority of these were located in Florida. Most were out of doors and subject to the rigors of the weather. Poor construction techniques and operating practices caused many of them to be unsuccessful and production inconsistent.
How is the quality of the food today affected by the methods of Hydroponics of today?
The growing media that is used for gardening greatly effects the production of the plants. If sand is used as a medium it should be tested thoroughly for any residue that might cause infected growing medium. The sand should be cleaned at least every three of four weeks. Leaching is also a major step, it is to be done at the end of each crop cycle ( Jones 69-70). Sand that is used for the medium should have sawdust mixed with it to allow for better drainage. The sawdust also makes the sand lighter and not pact together as easy ( Bridwell 86).
Gravel is another medium, it is used more often because it is easier to clean. If gravel is used round, smooth,
Cited: Bridwell, Raymond. Hydroponic Gardening California: Woodbridge, 1982. Coene, Trisha. “The Ins and Outs of Soilless Gardening”: The Growing Edge. Vol. 8, no. 4, summer 1997. Jones, Lem. Home Hydroponics: ... and how to do it! New York: Crown, 1977. Resh, Howard M. Hydroponics: Home Food Gardens. California: Woodbridge, 1990. Zim, Herbert S. Plants New York: Harcourt, 1947.