Forget about the conventionally grown pepper because Hydroponic Peppers are the future. For those unfamiliar with the concept of hydroponics, the act of growing crops without the use of soil, try the use of nutrient solutions instead.
Peppers are always sought for in the market and this contributed to the popularity of hydroponic cultivation for peppers. One main advantage of using hydroponics to grow peppers is the lesser space needed. Hydroponics systems are generally flexible and can be modified to the available space around it. This does not mean that hydroponic systems are not able to provide yields on a similar scale as conventional farming. In fact, one can extend their hydroponic system vertically instead to cultivate more crops.
Did we get you Interested in hydroponic farming yet? If you are still unconvinced, here is a guide to growing hydroponic peppers where you can examine the process in detail.
Step by step process to Hydroponic Peppers
Grow pepper seeds into healthy pepper plants to be used in your hydroponic system. However, the plant should have a root system, which is more easily achieved using starter plugs instead. You can obtain these starter plugs for sale in your local gardening store. These starter plugs are commonly utilized in hydroponics, so it will be wise to stockpile them in advance.
In the early stages, ensure that the growth tray is about 26 to 27 degrees celsius. Consider using a heating mater to do so. You may also rely on additional grow lights to supply the additional heat required for the pepper plants to sprout seedlings. This stage is critical as it may determine the overall health and growth speed of your plants.
We suggest cloning plants for those with access to a local nursery in their vicinity. Check out if they have cuttings from robust cultivars with high yields, which would be extremely helpful in your growing journey. We clone plants to get the desirable traits from their parent plants to be passed on to our current plant. Using oxygenated water can help increase the success rate of cloning as it helps the plants to grow sturdy root structures. Making your own oxygenated water is as easy as increasing the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water and regulating the temperature. You would want to keep the temperature low for higher oxygen content and vice versa.
We do not recommend using mature pepper plants grown from soil to be used in hydroponics. Although there are many cases of seasoned farmers doing this, it is a rather risky step, and it is likely that those not sufficiently skilled in this can cause contamination in their hydroponic system. All it takes is one infected plant to destroy the entire crop. The ease of using plants grown soil is not worth it. Cloning plants or using those grown from seeds are the way to go.
Back to the hydroponic setup, it is imperative that it has the proper support for the pepper plant as they mature as there is a chance they may tip over once they are heavy with foliage and pods. Another possible scenario is that branches or stems of the plant break because they are unable to withstand its own weight. We suggest using stakes or other forms of vertical support to prevent this from happening.
The optimal temperature for the pepper plants is between 65 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit for either its grow cabinet and greenhouse. Similar to most other seedlings, pepper seedlings only need higher temperatures during the early stages. This temperature requirement falls as they mature. It is critical that growers monitor and maintain the recommended ambient temperature as temperatures higher than the recommended range will harm the plant.
Most hydroponic systems including the NFT and deep culture are compatible to grow pepper plants. Regardless of the hydroponic system chosen, it is important to monitor the water’s pH and EC levels. The optimal pH level for pepper plants is six.
Another key concept to understand is that our efforts should contribute mainly to the plants’ vegetative growth. This will be the reference point when it comes to selecting liquid fertilizers, grow lights and other supplies that your hydroponic system may need. A good tip to remember when it comes to choosing the right nutrient solution for your pepper plant is to check its read to see if they meet the growing needs and requirements of your cultivars. This will help you save some trouble and money down the road.
To pollinate your pepper plants once flowers have bloomed, we recommend using q-tips to gently brush the flowers to transfer the pollen. Another method is hand pollination. Simply use your fingers to brush across the open flowers.
The spacing of the individual plants is also something we have to consider when growing peppers. This is actually dependent on the type of pepper plant you are growing. To illustrate, bell pepper plants need to be about 18 to 24 inches away from each other. Smaller chili pepper plants only need half the space of bell pepper plants. Although it is possible to grow the peppers in closer proximity, the other factor you have to toggle would the be amount of light they receive.
On the topic of lighting, hydroponic peppers need a whole lot of light to be able to thrive, typically about 14 to 18 hours daily. Dedicate the rest of the time as nighttime for the plants to respire.
You can expect the early stages of the pepper plant to take up to 7 to 14 days where the plants germinate. It will take a longer time of 50 to 80 days for the pepper plants to fully mature. This particular stage of growth is characterized by constant flowering, vegetative growth, as well as the growth and reddening of the pods.
Closely monitor your plants daily and perform the necessary maintenance regularly. Once the pods look ripe, they are ready for harvest. If you are satisfied with the batch of harvest, consider cloning this batch of plants and you will be able to replicate and grow peppers of similar caliber.
Do not be too upset if your peppers do not meet your expectations, continue to experiment with a new batch and you are bound to do better each time and reap a better harvest. Hydroponic peppers may be slightly challenging for those new to hydroponics and farming. We hope that by reading this article, you are more prepared for what cultivating hydroponic pepper entails.