In modern history, hydroponics has only been around since about the 1930s. It is a relatively new technology, and has grown rapidly since its inception 70 years ago. It began first as an academic exercise and soon grew to be embraced by industry and government.
Hydroponics has found many new applications. It is a very versatile technology, and has a very beneficial use in developing countries as well as high technology space stations. Hydroponic technology can efficiently grow vegetable crops in what was previously unthinkable – from barren desert sand to desalinated ocean water. It thrives in mountainous regions too steep to farm, on rooftops, in small yards and in arctic communities. In areas with high populations where land is expensive, hydroponics can providehigh-value specialty crops such as fresh salad greens, herbs and cut flowers.
Agriculture tends to migrate toward higher-technology solutions and more capital-intensive solutions to problems. Hydroponics is highly productive and suitable for automation. However, the future growth of hydroponics depends greatly on the development of systems of production that are cost-effective with those of common agriculture. Many improvements in these technologies such as lighting and plastics, and new cultivars with better pest resistance and disease resistance will yield increased crops yields and reduce costs. Hydroponic greenhouses which can use the ‘waste’ heat from industry could expand in the next few years. Geothermal heat could support large areas of greenhouses in the right locations.
It has been proposed that glasshouses located in deserts of the world could one day serve a dual purpose, where antenna could be embedded into the glass to receive energy radiation from an array of energy collectors in space, while at the same time facilitate hydroponic tomato production.
Controlled environmental agriculture and hydroponics may improve if governmental bodies see the desirable effects of hydroponics that merit subsidy for the public good. The benefits may include the conservation of water in regions of scarcity or higher food production in harsh environments. Governmental has supported hydroponics die these reasons in the Middle East.
Another benefit could be the income-producing employment for low income and disadvantaged segments of the population. such employment produces tax revenues as well as personal incomes.
Hydroponics is today a reality. Hydroponic vegetable gardening systems are producing crops where field-grown fresh vegetables are unavailable for much of the year. The development of hydroponics has enhanced the economic well being of many areas in the world.