Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate October 2001

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Hydroponics Hydroponics, the process of growing plants without soil, began many years ago. The history of this science goes back to several hundreds of years before Christ. Hydroponic culture is shown in the hanging gardens of Babylon, the floating gardens of the Aztecs of Mexico and those of the Chinese. The growing of plants in water was also described in the Egyptian writings. These writings date back to hundreds of years before Christ was born. The word hydroponics comes from Latin, meaning water working.

In the 1930's scientists began experimenting growing plants without soil using nutrients dissolved in water. The scientists worked for years determining which elements and their combinations affect plant growth. After many years of research, they discovered the first hydroponic formulas for plant nutrition. During these studies, they also discovered that soil in not necessary to anchor the plant's roots.

Although hydroponics has been around for many years, the science still hasn't progressed very far, but has progressed very quickly for the past forty years.

It has been adapted into many areas such as outdoor farming, greenhouse, and now to in home gardening. Some countries have adapted it to submarines to grow vegetables to feed the crews. Presently the space program is experimenting with the use of Hydroponics in space. Although it hasn't exactly been done yet, Hydroponics can be used in areas with poor soil, such as a desert, or in underdeveloped countries for food production in limited space. It is also very convenient because it can be used during all seasons.

In order for plants to grow in water, they have to have certain materials they normally get from the soil or air. For plants to survive in water without drowning, they must have light, water, oxygen, CO2, potential hydrogen (pH), nutrients, and temperature.