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"To get anywhere, or even live a long time, a man has to guess, and guess right, over and over again, without enough data for a logical answer."
- Robert Heinlein

Hydroponics in Space  
  Growing plants for food without soil on a spacecraft.  

Fairly early description of a simple method for growing food in space.

"I wanted to show you," Mitch said. "I brought seeds, and these little plastic tubes with holes in them, that you can string around inside a bubb. The weight is next to nothing. Put the seeds in the tubes, and water with plant food in solution. The plants come up through the holes. Hydroponics. Gotta almost do it, if I'm going way out to Mars without much supplies. Maybe, before I get there, I'll have even ripe tomatoes! 'Cause, with sun all the time, the stuff grows like fury, they say. I'll have string beans and onions and flowers, anyhow! Helps keep the air oxygen-fresh, too. Wish I had a few bumble bees! 'Cause now I'll have to pollenate by hand..."
From The Planet Strappers, by Raymond Z. Gallun.
Published by Pyramid Books in 1961
Additional resources -

The word "hydroponics" was coined in the 1930's, but the idea dates from the 1600's, when experiments were done to see what elements were necessary for plant growth.

Compare to the chlorella plantation from The Space Merchants (1952), by Frederik Pohl (w/CM Kornbluth) and the lifezone from Tides of Light (1989), by Gregory Benford.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Planet Strappers
  More Ideas and Technology by Raymond Z. Gallun
  Tech news articles related to The Planet Strappers
  Tech news articles related to works by Raymond Z. Gallun

Hydroponics in Space-related news articles:
  - Tomatoes From Sun And Seawater

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