Truly a wonder of modern science, hydroponic gardens now produce bountiful harvests of fruit, vegetables, grains, herbs and flowers in places never before able to sustain growth. Hydroponic gardens grow the healthiest crops with the highest yields and vitamin content, thanks to their perfectly balanced nutrient solutions and growing environments. Modern hydroponic methods provide food for millions of people worldwide, supplying us with superior quality produce, even out of season. Even with all its advantages, the American consumer is sometimes wary of hydroponically grown produce. Many years ago, hydroponic products were admittedly of poor quality, and this association still persists for some people. This old association is rapidly changing because hydroponic produce has evolved into a superior quality, premium product. In fact, modern day hydroponic cultivation has become so effective, NASA itself has devised an advanced method of hydroponics for use in outer space. While it may appear that hydroponics is a recent invention, its history can be traced back to the dawn of civilization.
The science of hydroponics began with experiments to determine the elementary composition of plants. These experiments have been dated as early as 1600 A.D. In addition, historical records reveal plants have been cultivated in soilfree mixtures of sand and gravel much earlier than that. The hanging gardens of Babylon and the floating gardens of the Mexican Aztecs are both examples of early hydroponic gardening.
To this day, many people are still unaware of the art and science of hydroponics, even though most of us have practiced it first hand by placing cut flowers in a vase of water and adding a little plant food. Photo: Basil cutting rooting in water.
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