What most people don’t realise is that hydroponics is not a recent technique for growing plants.
Way back Before Christ, we find that the Arabs were growing melons on the dry and sandy riverbeds, being watered with solutions of composted animal excreta. A simliar process was used in India to grow watermelons, cucumbers and other green vegtables.
In China, into ancient times, rice cultures were carried in water, detailed in the diaries of Marco Polo.
One of the ancient Wonders of the World, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were supposed to be grown hydroponically. There is talk of the plants being grown in channels simliar to the modern technique of NFT (Nutrient Film technique). The nutrient was recycled and transported back to the top in a bucket and chain system.
During the 10th and 11th centuries the Aztecs developed a system of floating rafts, after being driven from their lands and ending up at lake Tenochtitlan. The rafts, topped with soil were floated onto the lake where the roots of the crops would grow into the water.
Formal research into hydroponics was not carried out until the 17th century,