Hydroponics

Who started hydroponics, and how did it get started?

I wasn’t there. I am not that old.

It was either the Babylonians and/or the Aztecs.

The Babylonians who had fabulous hanging gardens. The plants were watered by hand by slaves who walked from the Euphrates River. A measure of soil was placed into each of the water vessels, and thereby gave the gardens liquid nutrition.

Aztecs lived in the mountains and grew their food plants on rafts floating on the mountain lakes. The lakes were full of nutrients washed down from the hills.

Modern Hydroponics were started by scientists in the 1800’s, by using liquids with different types of minerals dissolved in it. The scientists tried to discover what made the plants grow by adding more or less of things they thought might be plant food.

In World War two, the US Military tried to grow vegetables in the sand of Pacific Islands using nutrient solutions. The concept was great, but the sand was just too salty.

In 1970 Dr Cooper had the job to save the greenhouse tomato industry in England. The tomatoes were too expensive because the heating costs of greenhouses was high, and the Spanish and Italian Tomatoes were imported into England cheaper because there was no need for heated greenhouses in the Mediterranean climate.

Dr Cooper designed the channel system, where only the liquid was heated. The by product was that the costs were down, and the yields were double. SO he saved the greenhouse industry. His book – The ABC of NFT is still the defining work on all modern Hydroponics, and still sits next to my bed anytime I cannot sleep. It is highly technical and not an easy read.

Scott