Hydroponic Vegetable Production in Conjunction with a Trout Farming Operation
North Carolina is second only to Idaho in the production of commercially raised trout. Trout farms must comply with effluent discharge regulations administered by the Division of Environmental Management within the Department of Environment, Health and Natural Resources. While most trout farms are able to comply with current regulations, the potential for more stringent regulation exists. This producer is situated on a tributary of the South Toe River which has a Clean River designation.
Effluent from trout farms is rich in nutrients. These nutrients can be a source of pollution if allowed to enter a waterway, or they can be a source of nutrients for effluent irrigated plants.
1.) Use the drainage effluent from trout ponds to fertigate vegetables and greens.
2.) Adapt tobacco-grower static float-bed and tray system for greenhouse vegetable growing.
3.) Adapt flow-through greenhouse hydroponic system to use drainage effluent from trout ponds.
The producer is preparing a greenhouse site, constructing two small greenhouses (one for a static system and one for a flow-through system) and installing hydroponic and float-bed systems. Once the greenhouses and the float-bed systems are operational, the nutrients, air and water temperatures from the pond and the raceway systems will be tested and monitored. Thereafter, vegetables and greens will be grown in these systems throughout the three years of the project.
The information produced from this project will be communicated through workshops and conferences with trout producers in the area. The producer has given a workshop and produced a poster on this project for two Carolina Farm Stewardship Conferences. When the project is completed, articles will be produced for Extension newsletters and the bimonthly newsletter of Rural Voice for Peace.