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How to Grow Peppers Using Simple Hydroponics

March 18th, 2014

Antohi Romanian

 

For those who aren’t familiar with hydroponics, the method has been around for centuries and the word actually comes from the Greeks and Romans.  Roughly translated it means “working water” but a more practical/modern way to describe hydroponics is gardening without soil. The soil is replaced with an inert medium such as coconut fibers and the plant’s roots are fed directly with a nutrient rich solution.

There are dozens of benefits to hydroponics, but the simple reasons I use hydroponics can be summarized in one sentence.  Hydroponics plants grow faster, in less space, with greater yields all year long.  That’s a pretty great reason, right?

Hydroponics is a very flexible gardening method which can be used inside or outside. As an introduction, I wanted to share a brief guide to growing hot peppers with an indoor hydroponics system.

What you’ll need to get started:

  • Storage tote
  • 2 inch hole saw
  • 2” net pots
  • Clay pellets
  • Rapid Rooter plugs
  • pH Control Kit
  • Hydroponic nutrients
  • Hot pepper seeds – Humble Seed’s Hot Mama’s Peppers and Chiles will give you a nice variety to work with
  • Air stone
  • Air pump
  • Air Tubing
  • Air tube clips

Feel free to improvise your supplies as you can steal a lot of these things from an old fish tank setup!

Step 1: Prepare the grow tray

Arrange the net pots upside down on the lid of the tote.  Leave about 4” between the pots to allow enough growing space for the pepper plants to grow. Draw a line around each pot. Using a 2” hole saw and drill, cut out each circle.  If you don’t have a drill you can use a box cutter and some elbow grease.

Step 2: Prep the reservoir

Fill the storage tote with water.  Leave about 3 inches of headroom at the top.  This will allow the peppers’ roots to touch the water without being flooded.  Add the hydroponic liquid nutrition and pH adjuster. Note: Nutrition and pH kit directions vary by brand but all are very straight forward. 

Step 3: Setting up aeration system

  • Drill a small hole above the water line and thread the air tubing through.
  • Attach the air stone and use the clips to hold the system at the bottom of the reservoir.
  • Attach the check valve and air pump to the other end.

Step 4: Sewing the pepper seeds

  • Soak Rapid Rooter plugs for 30 seconds
  • Place one Rapid Rooter in each pot and place the pots in the pre-drilled holes
  • Put 3 seeds into each plug so you are assured that at least 1 germinates
  • Fill any extra space in the pots with clay pellets but make sure you do not block the hole on the rooter plugs

 

Once you have completed these steps, it’s time to wait and complete some simple weekly maintenance.  You should see the seeds start to sprout in about 7 to 10 days.  Each week you should check water pH, inspect the leaves for healthy growth, and add nutrition supplements as directed. As the pepper plants start producing peppers you will likely need to provide simple trellis support.

I hope this hydroponic introduction and pepper growing tutorial has peaked your interest so you will be incorporating this technique into your gardening this year. 

Readers, have you had success with growing hydroponic peppers? What varieties are your favorites?

 

About the Author:

Humble Seed welcomes guest bloggers. This great content was written by Chris Wimmer. Chris maximizes his 400 square foot downtown Chicago backyard with hydroponics. You can find more hydroponic tips at his hobby blog: healthsmartliving.com/hydroponics/

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Themed Gardens for Kids: Pizza Anyone?

June 7th, 2011

 

Getting kids interested and involved in gardening is not only a great way to spend quality time together, it’s also a fun, adventurous activity for them, and it’s a great educational experience—you never know, you may have some future plant botanists or horticulturalists in your family!

Make gardening with the kids fun by allowing them to help plan the garden from the start. Incorporate a theme that will really get them excited, such as “Pizza Garden,” “Stir-Fry Garden,” or “Peter Rabbit Garden.”

Decide together what you want to plant and how the plants will be arranged in the garden then get in there and grow your own foods. You can also mark a wall calendar with fun, colorful gardening stickers on the days that you and your kids will be tending to the garden; this will give them something to look forward to, and it’s a great way to incorporate routine and responsibility into their lives.

Help your kids make and decorate some whimsical signs for their garden or let them pick out a few garden accessories to place in their garden.

Pizza Garden

A Pizza Garden is as much fun for the adults as it is for kids. Why? Because who doesn’t like pizza? And this themed garden is shaped like a pizza!

Place a stake in the ground, attach a 3 ½ foot piece of string to the stake then mark off a circle, keeping the string tight. Divide circle into six wedges.

In each wedge, plant classic pizza ingredients: 2 to 3 basil plants, 1 to 2 bell pepper plants, onion, 2 to 3 oregano plants, 2 to 3 parsley plants, and 1 tomato plant. If you plant more, you can always transplant them into another area of your yard.

It just doesn’t get any better than homemade pizza made with fresh herbs and vegetables from your own garden.

Stir-Fry Garden

Stir-fry is one healthy meal, and fresh-from-the-garden vegetables make it simply amazing. This is a great dish for experimenting with your favorite food flavors.

Some classic stir-fry ingredients include: bell peppers, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, chives, garlic, green beans, hot peppers, squash, etc.

With stir-frying, foods cook fast so they retain their flavor and texture, and cooking fresh ingredients contain less calories than packaged stir-fry entrées.

Peter Rabbit Garden

Beatrix Potter’s characters are great inspiration for kids to garden, and this theme is a wonderful way to educate kids on nature and animals.

Plant a variety of herbs and vegetables along a border or in raised beds then tuck garden bunny statues in between the plants. Name the statues after The Tale of Peter Rabbit characters: Peter, Flopsy, Mopsy, and/or Cottontail. Even though Mother Rabbit forbade her children to enter Mr. McGregor’s garden, your children’s garden can be a cozy home for their sweet garden statues.

Parsley, sage, thyme, bush beans, cabbage, and carrots are perfect for a Peter Rabbit Garden.

Making fun, meaningful, and long-lasting memories with family is so important, and this is an activity your kids will cherish for their whole life.

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