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Cabrillo College Horticulture
Controlled Environment Agriculture

 


Our hydroponics and aquaponics production systems and class was in response to our students.

Our goal is to provide valuable hands-on training and theory in producing high quality food crops indoors.

Hydroponics is also a great way to teach science.

Students taking the class harvest produce each week, test water parameters, train the tomatoes, plant basil and lettuce as well as mix fertilizers.

A recent report (2012) indicated that over 1 million acres of food production are under cover around the world.

The progression of our system is classic of a small business expanding and finding better ways to do things. It also has expanded so a class with a 3 hr lab could handle all the student activities. Another goal is happy customers.


 

Our second system moved into a hoop house. We set up a deep raft and NFT system. They worked great, but we quickly learned that this hoop house had very little "control".

So we moved across the road to the large greenhouse and now occupy 3600 sqft

Our latest system includes cluster tomatoes in bato buckets producing fruit from Oct to June. You can see them in the top image.

We also have Basil and sometimes lettuce in our NFT system using commercial computers and channels.

The interest in Aquaponics came about because students were asking about organic ways of doing hydroponcs. So we jumped right in.

Aquaponics combines fish, bacteria and plants into a system that converts fish food into edible (or ornamental) food, and plants.

Different types of systems are better for different types of crops. We are currently focusing on water based systems.

Our system is a scaled down version of the system developed by the University of the Virgin Islands. This is the industry standard and has been shown to be productive for over 30 years. It is a high fish density system. The UVI model uses Tilapia which are not legal here so we are using koi.

We are working on a deep raft organic system using organic fertilizers rather than fish to produce food crops. This system no longer has the fish tanks, but has expanded the rafts and uses a mineralization bed to provide a place for the microbial transformation of the organic fertilizers to inorganic nutrients.

Fall of 2013 we installed 2-75' high tunnels to raise blue berries and raspberries. Plants were installed Spring 2014.

 

 

 

 

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