Send As SMS

UK Hydroponics - Advice through Trial and Error

A journal with hydroponic and organic tips, advice, reviews/pictures of systems in action, side-by-side comparisons and general indoor growing information.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Hydroponic Chillis

I got a chilli seedling in February. It was a Bolivian Rainbow Chilli, a bush that produces small fruit (like bird's eye chillis) that change colour from pale green/white through purple, yellow, orange and red as they ripen. The effect of all the different colours is very attractive and I thought it would go well in an old IKON 24 site NFT ScrOG system we were going to use on display.

The seedling was about 3" tall and potted in a loamy soil. I put it under a Canatronics 400w Illuminator, watered it daily and it took a month to grow to 6"....this plant and soil are very slow! In that time, I changed my mind about the system I was going to use and decided to go for a Nutriculture Flo Gro FG500. Given that it had taken that long to grow, it would take ages to fill a big system with cuttings. Now that there was a reasonable root system, I was ready to transplant.

I used Hydroton expanded clay pebbles and set the nutrient at pH 5.8 adding Ionic Grow at EC 1.2. I also added a little Rhizotonic to boost root development in an attempt to speed things up....hydro is all about the roots! I also went for a 200w Envirolite (blue spectrum).

It thrived, eventually showing flowers towards the end of May and so I switched to a 200w Envrolite (red spectrum) . By July it was fruiting in earnest and the ripe fruit has been harvested weekly since the end of July. Here are some pictures of it in late August:

and a picture of a typical weekly harvest although yield is starting to drop a little now:

I was sent a box of Growth Technology Chilli Focus as a sample and started using it just after those pictures were taken. It had no instructions for hydroponic use and so I'm not entirely sure it was meant to be used as a hydroponics nutrient but I've been running it at pH 6.0 and EC 1.6 and the plant's still happy. There are slight differences in the fruit - More purpling and fuller, almost oval fruits:

There is a taste difference too. They taste sweeter...up to a point anyway. I like spicy food but after two bites of one of these, my mouth loses all sensation; there are probably better judges than me. Next time I'm going to try something a little less fiery than these, something like jalapeno or peperoncino. I'd like to grow habaneros but just because I like how they look...they can be pretty evil too! Here are some pics of how the plant is looking now:

It's getting a bit straggly so I might try a bit of inventive topiary! Fruit set is starting to drop so I may just end up planting one of these seedlings:

The first small fruit from the plant had 6 seeds. I put them all in one of our Nutriculture PT200 Aeroponic Propagators. I rave about these machines to anyone prepared to listen - they are unbeatable. Four sprayer heads on a 1000lph pump make a fine mist which is rich in DO (Dissolved Oxygen) exactly the sort of environment young roots thrive in. You don't even need to add any nutrient to start off with though I do add Phosphoric acid to pH5.6-5.8, more because P encourages rooting than for the pH adjustment. I also use a Hydor Theo 200w Tank Heater set to 72F. You can see the results, all 6 sprouted and are far larger and healthier than they would have been after 3 weeks in soil. Check out the roots:

Next time - Strawberries.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home