How To Grow Hot Peppers In Hydroponics
This is How To Grow HOT PEPPERS In Hydroponics.
There are many different types of hydroponics setups, a few of them are: DWC (Deep Water Culture), Ebb and Flow (flood and drain), NFT (Nutrient Film Technique), Aquaponics (sustainable relationship using fish and plants), and more! We are going to be going through DWC systems today for our hot peppers. It is called deep water culture because the roots are suspended in a light nutrient solution that has an aquarium air stone in it to oxygenate the water so the hot pepper plant can actively uptake nutrients to grow. For a basic pepper growing DWC system you will need the following:
- 5 Gallon Bucket
- 6-8 inch Net Pot
- Distilled or RO Water (you can find RO water at grocery stores)
- Plant Nutrients
- Rapid Rooters or Rockwool
- One small bag of Hydroton / clay pebbles
- Air Pump
- Aquarium Air Stone.
- Grow Light
In most regions of the U.S., ghost peppers will need to be started indoors 10-14 weeks prior to the last frost for your area. They need around 5 months (140+ days) of very hot and humid weather in order to succeed and will not tolerate any temperatures below 73° F. Your soil temperatures must be around 80° F – 90° F for successful germination. A geographical location with about 70-80% humidity is also ideal for growing ghost peppers.
To have a chance at growing a successful ghost pepper plant, you need to recreate the harsh environment of northern Bhutan, India. This means that outdoor growing in the U.S. may only be possible for regions 5a-11b. Raised beds or very large pots are ideal for ghost peppers because the soil will be much more warm and will stay that way. Choose an area of your secret garden that receives as much sunlight as possible for as long as possible. Bhut Jolokia (ghost) Peppers can be grown indoors if all ideal conditions are achieved. This will mean grow lights in a room separated from the rest of the house so temperatures and humidity can be kept high.
BEST SOIL FOR GROWING GHOST PEPPERS
Ghost peppers need a loamy soil. A peat containing soil tends to work considerably well. When growing ghost peppers you will want to avoid heavy clay and potting mix like miracle grow. The soils pH should around be 6.0 – 6.8 in order for nutrients to not get locked out causing a plethora of problems. It is always a great idea to amend your soil with compost, bonemeal, and fish fertilizer prior to transplanting. This will normally guarantee the plants will have the nutrients they need properly.
PLANT NUTRITION Ghost peppers benefit from a regular diet of organic nutrients or compost tea. You will want to avoid high nitrogen fertilizers. The plants will look nice but your peppers wont be.
PLANTING Starting seeds is the first tough thing to accomplish when trying to grow Bhut Jolokias. For best results, you should consider germinating your seeds indoors. You will need to soak the seeds in water overnight before sowing. plant one seed in each compartment of your seed starting tray. Provide constant bottom heat, such as from a heating pad or the top of your refrigerator. The soil temperature must remain steady around 80° F – 90° F for successful germination. Keep the planting medium moist, but never sopping wet. You will need to keep out of direct sunlight until the first sprouts appear from the soil. You may cover the top of your seed starting container with plastic to help maintain moisture in the soil. Germination should occur around 7-21 days but can take up to 40 days, so be patient and don't cry. You should transplant seedlings into 3 to 4-inch plastic pots as soon as the second set of true leaves appear on your plant. Please do not transplant outdoors until temperatures reach a constant 70 degrees F or higher, even at night. When you are ready to transplant outdoors you will have to harden off your seedlings. This means bringing them into the outdoor environment very slowly so they get used to fluctuating temperatures and higher amounts of light.You will need to place the seedling pots outdoors during the day for a couple hours the first day adding an hour or so every day after. Do this for about ten to twelve days. On the 10th day you should leave them outside overnight. The next day you should transplant into some moist soil before it gets too hot outside. Transplant seedlings 2-3 feet apart.
WATERING & CARE Water on a schedule. Give them a good long soaking about twice per week during dry periods. Keep the soil moist but not drenched or saturated. The best times to water are early in the morning or after the sun starts to set. NEVER water during high noon or you are asking for your plants to get cooked You will also want to keep your ghost peppers free of weeds and other nasty things.
POLLINATION Proper pollination is key to growing successful ghost peppers. Try to introduce bees and other beneficial insects by growing lots of flowers in your garden. Make sure the peppers are grown in a spot with good air circulation and spaced properly. If you are not noticing lots of beneficial insects in and around your pepper plants and if they are producing flowers but not fruit, you may need to hand pollinate. Use a small, clean paintbrush and gently brush the center bud of each flower. The idea is to spread pollen from flower to flower.
HARVESTING Your ghost peppers will change from green to orange and then to a brilliant striking red when they are ready to be picked. You will always want to wear gloves while handling your new ghost peppers and remember avoid contact with the face or eyes AND KEEP AWAY FROM CHILDREN. You can pull them directly off the plant or you can cut their vines.
Other Thoughts Ghost peppers can be very tasty if you use them in proper ways. I personally enjoy smoking ghost peppers over a nice bed of Apple Wood! Please treat ghost peppers and hotter peppers with respect, they can seriously hurt you if you do not know what you are doing. Super hot peppers are NOT to be used as pranks and are to be used responsibly. From pest deterrent to supreme culinary works of art, ghost peppers are a great tool. A suggested use is to make your very own hot sauce! A lot of people only know one way of growing plants and that is in soil.
Growing Peppers In Hydroponics
Did you know you could grow in a water and nutrient solution? Beginning your own hydroponic system will help you learn why plants need particular nutrients and growing environment as well as giving you the best from your plants. Why do you want to grow in hydroponics? Lets take a look at some pro's and con's. PROS:
- More control over growing environment
- Better nutrient uptake directly correlates to better yields, hotter peppers, and better tasting fruits.
- Faster growth.
- Semi-pest resistant
- Can get expensive
First you need to get yourself a 5 gallon bucket at your local hardware store. Black or dark blue is preferable so you dont have to deal with algae problems that you would have if you used white 5 gallon buckets. Take your net pot lid and drill a 1/4 inch hole in the top about 1.5 inches away from the center like so. After completing this step, run your air tubing from the air outlet of your pump to the air stone while passing through the hole you drilled in the net pot lid earlier
ill with water to the bottom of the net pot like so and add nutrients to water. Follow the directions on your chosen nutrients (THEY MUST BE HYDROPONIC NUTRIENTS, NOT MIRACLE GROW)
Put a seed in the rapid rooter in its proper orientation making sure the seed hole faces up.
Place rapid rooter into the net pot and surround it with hydroton Turn on the pump and grow light and for the first 8 weeks of the plants life set the light to 18 hours on and 6 off. This should be enough information to get you started with your very own hydroponics DWC setup! So get out there, research more on it and come on back and we will explore more about hydroponics.