Alternative Substrate for Soilless Production of Vegetables

Project Overview

Project Type: On-Farm Research
Funds awarded in 2016: $12,834.00
Projected End Date: 03/14/2018
Grant Recipient: University of Kentucky
Region: Southern
State: Kentucky
Principal Investigator:
Dr. John Snyder
University of Kentucky


  • Vegetables: tomatoes


  • Crop Production: greenhouses
  • Production Systems: hydroponics

    Proposal abstract:

    Tomato is the most widely grown vegetable in high tunnels. However, salinity can rapidly become an issue in addition to soil borne diseases and nematodes. There are few options available for managing nematodes or high soil salinity in high tunnels. An attractive alternative is the utilization of soilless culture. Media can often be one of the major production costs in addition to having a limited useful life in a soilless culture production system. Perlite and peat are most widely used, but are not locally sources, not renewable and a costly. Locally sourced, renewable substrate components such as eastern red cedar will increase the sustainability of soilless culture of tomatoes by reducing dependence on nonrenewable substrates.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Evaluate eastern red cedar as an alternative soilless substrate for production in greenhouses.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.