[Plant-biology] Re: The future for hydroponics

dh321 at excite.com dh321 at excite.com
Tue Jul 25 18:19:18 EST 2006

It is a widespread myth that hydroponics was used by the ancient
Babylonians. There is no evidence they did. The mineral nutrient
solutions required in hydroponics were not developed until the 1860s.
The term hydroponics was not introduced until 1937. William Frederick
Gericke proposed the idea of hydroponics in 1929 but originally called
it aquiculture. The origin of hydroponics is relatively recent.

Maybe the following statement is true in the U.K. but not everywhere.
"Hydroponics growing techniques are responsible for the commercial
supply of nearly all tomatoes, peppers, herbs and cucumbers, most
strawberries and most of the flowers that you see available on the high
street today."

About half the fresh market tomatoes in the U.S. are hydroponic but
almost all canned tomatoes and those in soup, pizza sauce, ketchup,
etc. are grown in soil. Relatively few strawberries are grown
hydroponically in the U.S. Most greenhouse cut flowers are grown via
soilless culture, but that is not the same as hydroponics. Hydroponics
is used for relatively few food crops, not "many", mainly just the few
specifically mentioned, fresh tomatoes, fresh peppers, fresh herbs,
fresh cucumbers, a little fresh lettuce and some strawberries. Tree
fruits do not lend themselves to hydroponics. Most vegetables are
cheaper to grow in soil as are grains, beans and potatoes.

Hydroponics is currently an economic cropping method for only a few
high-value crops.

David R. Hershey

Simplestsimon wrote:
> Hydroponics?
> Simply 'Gardening without soil'. Hydroponics offers home gardeners and
> those new to gardening, a clean, efficient and convenient way to grow
> plants.  No soil. No mess. Surprisingly, you can even grow more in less
> time.
> Strange you may think - no soil - but when you consider that the
> hydroponics growing of food and flowers has been going on for years and
> is all around us everyday in our supermarkets, you might want to know
> more. Hydroponics growing techniques are responsible for the commercial
> supply of nearly all tomatoes, peppers, herbs and cucumbers, most
> strawberries and most of the flowers that you see available on the high
> street today.
> It is believed that hydroponics first started in the ancient city of
> Babylon, but now many of the fruit and vegetables we buy from the
> supermarket are grown this way. It offers year round gardening as
> plants can be grown anytime and anywhere. It is a clean and time
> efficient way to grow as no soil to used, it eliminates digging and
> weeding and it uses water more efficiently. It is now well established
> that hydroponics can encourage quicker growth and increased yield,
> enhance flavour of crops and encourage healthy eating.
> Now, hydroponics is becoming increasingly popular with the hobby
> gardener wanting to grow fruit and vegetables at home: tomatoes, herbs,
> chillies and even bananas on a banana tree! Whether you want to grow
> more tomatoes than you can in soil in your green house or cultivate
> chillies in your conservatory, hydroponics is there to be explored.
> Aquaculture, one of the leading hydroponics equipment suppliers in the
> UK, has a passion for hydroponics and a mission to bring hydroponics
> gardening to homes in a big way. It's a new gardening revolution about
> to blossom - it's a horticultural brit pop explosion of new ideas and
> ways of doing things. The produce is natural, tasty, clean and easy to
> grow. It can be urban. It can be rural. It's definitely fun and anyone
> can do it. 'Hydroponics - join the gardening revolution' evangelises
> new ideas for growing in the home and garden.
> Hydroponics has been briefly featured in the media by BBC Gardener's
> World and various gardening magazines, but it's about time that the UK
> catches up to the US, where they have progressed over the last 10 to15
> years to see hydroponics (or hobby gardening) become a national pastime
> and a mass market has been created through a new home-growing
> revolution. Hydroponics kits can now even be found as educational toys
> on the shelves of Toys R Us.
> In the UK, National Curriculum modules in many schools, small farms and
> nurseries up and down the country now regularly use hydroponics to
> explain and discuss plant biology, horticulture and food production.
> Together with a well respected traditional large specimen vegetable
> growing champion.  In an event to showcase the benefits of hydroponics,
> Aquaculture hydroponics has teamed up with Mr Gerald Treweek - a
> champion grower with honours from the highly esteemed Royal
> Horticultural National vegetable society - to beat the current world
> record of 15lb 15 1/2oz.
> Although Gerald has won several honours for his large and specimen
> category vegetables, he is still relatively new to hydroponics growing.
> Last year, Gerald used some of the growth promoters we use in
> hydroponics.  These included mostly beneficial micro-organisms which
> can still be used in traditional soil growing, like most of our
> products.  These micro-organisms promote healthy root growth and
> protect the plant from disease causing pathogens.  The onion Gerald
> grew last year weighed a respectable 10lb 11oz.
> This year, Gerald is fully embracing hydroponics where he has devoted
> one of his green houses for some of our systems.  To grow an onion we
> need to use a media bed and the most suitable system to cultivate these
> vegetables is a Flood and Drain system.  At regular intervals, nutrient
> solution (nutrient & water) is automatically pumped from the tank to
> flood the table and is then allowed to drain away. Therefore your
> plants receive all the water and nutrients they require as well as
> atmospheric oxygen directly to the root system as air is drawn in on
> the drain. The result is a large output of high quality plants.
> The World Health Organisation has also citied Hydroponics as being one
> of the most important focus and development areas in food production in
> the 21st Century. Its non-reliance on often poor soil conditions in
> under-developing countries means more food could be grown, or an
> agricultural economy developed, if it were more widely used.
> We've even seen hydroponics in Hollywood, featured in Space 1999.
> Hydroponics is new to most people - gardeners and non-gardeners alike.
> It is there to be explored and demonstrated to the mass market so that
> they can appreciate and enjoy the tremendous benefits it offers.
> Also - don't forget to sign up to our e-newsletter, 'Grow your own' to
> receive an exclusive subscriber offer every month.  By signing up,
> you'll also receive information on the latest special offers, new
> hydroponics products and hydroponics gardening advice - straight to
> your email box!
> Check out http://tinyurl.com/h2rk8
> -- 
> Simplestsimon

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