various fruits and flowers without the use of soil. In 1937, Gericke created the word hydroponics from two Greek words: hydro (water) and ponos (labor). Although his way of performing hydroponics was considered too difficult for commercial farming, his work is still considered the foundation for all types of hydroponics.
In the late 1940s, American horticulturists Robert B. Withrow and Alice P. Withrow, of Purdue University, designed a practical hydroponic system. The U.S. and British militaries used hydro-ponic farms in World War II to feed their troops. They were used on islands where soil was not available and it was too expensive to fly in vegetables. Several commercial farms were established after the war, but most were not successful. Over the next two decades, hydroponic farms continued to develop in the United States and in such countries as England, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and the USSR (what is now Russia).
In the 1970s, plastics greatly improved the operations of hydro-ponic farms. Greenhouse covers, pipes, pumps, reservoir tanks, and other equipment were developed using plastics. With years of experience, better management techniques, and better technologies such as environmental control systems and specially formulated nutrient systems, hydroponic farms began to succeed in the late 1970s and continue to do so in the early twenty-first century.
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