Grow Diary: Hot Peppers - Numex Sandia
- Days to Germination: 10-21. Optimum Soil Temp. for Germination: 70F+.
- Days To Harvest: 120. Planting Depth: 1/4in. Spacing, Plant: 18-24 inches.
- Light: Greenhouse / Conservatory / Windowsill.
- Keep moist and feed when flowering with tomato type fertiliser.
- Harvest when fruits have reached full-size and full colour.
Numex Sandia Hot Pepper seeds were started in Root Riot Organic Starter Cubes using a heated germinator (the Fab4 Electric Propagator from Garland). Once the seedlings were approximately 2 weeks old, they were transferred to a 10L bucket Kratky hydroponics system containing Aqua Vega media at a concentration of 1:250 and pH-adjusted to 6.5.
The plants grew very well with the first flowers blooming on day 68 from seed start. The flowers were pollinated by hand using the vibrating 'paddle' of an electric toothbrush (i.e. the motorised body without the toothbrush head). A few days after pollination, the petals of each fertilised flower would fall off and eventually a fruit would be seen to develop.
Unfortunately, by day 76, the nutrient media in the 10L bucket was all but used up. Since the plants were so close to producing edible hot peppers, we decided to laboriously keep the plants going by adding 400ml of freshly made nutrient solution to the bucket each evening. This appeared to work as the plants remained healthy and continued on to produce an ample yield of hot peppers. Normally, adding more nutrient media to an established Kratky hydroponics system risks 'drowning' the part of the roots that facilitate oxygen absorption. However, given the small volumes of the added extra media, it did not appear to affect the performance of the plant, however, having to do this each day took away from the efficiency of the grow and a larger initial volume Kratky system should be used with any future hot pepper grows.