When I was working on 'How trees gain weight' and 'Balance I' I found out that, already in the 17th century, Flemish alchemist, fysiologist and doctor Jan Baptista worked on an experiment to demonstrate the fact that transposition of soil is not the only cause for plants to grow.
Jan Baptista had a pot with soil and a small tree, weighing 2 kilograms. He dried the soil and weighed the tree and the soil seperately. Then he planted the tree in the soil again. Five years later, he dried the soil and weighed the tree and the soil again. By then, the tree weighed 77 kilograms . The soil, however, still weighed about the same.
He concluded that the tree had grown by transpositioning water. All the time he had added nothing but water. His conclusion turned out to be a big step towards the discovery of photosynthesis.