Stupid pepper plants

hydrojunkieJune 20, 2009

I got a 10 gal bubbleponic setup with 5 bhut jolokias growing in it, currently I have 3 10" air stones all running off of a separate pump or a dual diaphragm pump (no t's). Problem is when the roots hit the water they just start to rot. I have been adding some sm90 and hydrogen peroxide into the reservoir and it didn't seem to slow it down. I figure typically something like this may happen if you don't have enough aeration but I can't believe I would need more air stones cause basically there are bubbles in the entire reservoir as opposed to say one side or something along them lines. I guess I should probably get a thermometer for the reservoir and make sure temps are ok, does anybody know what temps would be acceptable? Open to suggestions.

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I guess it would be rather important to know about all of your conditions, as nutrient concentration, PH , as well as the average temperature of your solution. 10 gallons is not much but sufficient if you change the solution at least weekly. The aeration should be sufficient as well, although I'd opt for a drip and recycle system for any chilli pepper plants. Pepper plants are well known for not being "water plants". They are actually not stupid but rather picky when it comes to environment and growing conditions. Especially C. frutescens or chinense! I guess that a bubbleponic is actually the worst choice for bhut jolokias one can make. Sorry to be so blunt, but do not blame the peppers for not behaving like you expected. You have to adapt to the plants needs. As you are in charge and the one who is supposed to be the smart-one in this venture, it's your responsibility. Do not expect the plants to adapt to you or the conditions you provide, - because that will actually never happen ;-)

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 12:54AM
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You got love somebody who is willing to tell you how it is. Currently the bhuts are still pretty small so I figured when they got larger I would have to transplant them to a different system,bubbleponics wasn't first choice,just worked with what I had. There is another member on this forum whom did the same thing and had no problems so I figured I would give it a shot. Ph is 6,nute concentration 1.4 ec, res temp unknown. I have heard that they don't like their feet wet but I never thought that the roots would rot immedietly upon hitting the water. I guess I will take them out and transplant into another system. Do you think a drip would be best or would a nft work cause I have one on standby (even though the roots technically would still be sitting in water)?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 10:15AM
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Actually, the roots of pepper plants shouldn't rot in 'deep water'. But then again it depends on how small/mature they are and if parts of the root system is not under water (in expanded clay for example). Assuming that the bhuts are more like c. frutescens, I can only tell that they are really sensitive concerning specific conditions. Well, because they are (compared to many other cultivated varieties) not that domesticated yet and more sensitive. I grow a lot here in Thailand and I can tell that they can be a real p.i.t.a. - I do not blame them, I am just telling ;-)

Check that water temperature by all means. If the reservoir is exposed to direct sunlight, protect it or at least keep the spot shady.

NFT isn't bad for peppers, but I have had mixed results with rock wool - here again you always have the whole root system wet. I guess they prefer at least some 'loosely' and airy media. So I guess the media may even matter more than the system. Sorry, I am not a native writer in English and sometimes not sure about parts of my terminology! ;-)

PS: the hugest and healthiest pepper plants I've seen, were grown in Holland (or Finland too) in relatively flat ebb-flood beds with expanded clay - alternatively dripped and recycled. In Finland they used large but quite flat desks, while in Holland the whole floor of the green house was a kind of ebb-flood bed filled with expanded clay. Only about eight inches high (actually deep) but laterally the roots could expand nearly infinitely. Those plants were c. chinesnse (some kind of Habaneros) an grew up to 4 meter high. They were harvested with ladders! ;-)

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 11:15AM
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This is all good info for me too. I've been growing red bell peppers in 3.5 gallon buckets (one in each). Things are going good but I have noticed the same thing, when the roots hit the water they start to turn tan. But that could be the nutes. The nuts temps are around 75, ph is 6.0-6.5. The plants are still growing everyday and have quite a few buds on each. I have the water about three inches below the net pots filled with hydroton, and two airstones in each. If you wanna see pics they are under "bell pepper update".

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 2:34PM
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Thanks for the replies, I think the ideal media for the bhuts would probably be hydroton being that it is so porous and would allow air to the roots. Also I have heard that if you let the roots dry out a bit at fruiting it will actually make the peppers hotter. Maybe I will just build a ebb and flow table or something similar and just fill it with hydroton but it would be nice to move individual plants around if necessary,gears are turning now. My aunt used to live in thailand and my parents are going there in december looks like a beautiful place. As far as your english I couldn't tell it isn't your native language,I got mad respect for anybody whom can speak more than one language,of course I had to take spanish in high school a couple of times before passing it.Kylle, your roots may be ok, I suppose it would depend on the nutes you are using if they are coloring them. I would just keep an eye on them and watch for new growth. Mine would hit the water and virtually turn straight to mush. I checked your post and it appears that you have some nice plants,hopefully mine will look that good soon.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 3:06PM
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Tan roots can be a good indication of calcium and magnesium lockout. At least, that is what I've read. The molecules are too big and start coating the roots as opposed to being utilized. Obviously, this will also cause the roots to fail to uptake everything else efficiently. My understanding is that this is most common from using water that is full of calcium and magnesium rather than using pure water and adding these in a form that is readily available.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 8:09AM
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As I understand hydrojunkie, the rotting process is extremely quick, hence it is more likely caused by "warm" nutrient solution or a way to high concentration of nutrient solution (or a lack of oxygen, which was his early guess). And I would rather say that some tap water is high in calcium and magnesium, then "full of it"... ;-)

And if soluble and as Mg and Cl (at least about calcium I am pretty sure) as it comes through ordinary tap water, it should be absorbed as good as any other you supply. Though, in soil, high calcium depot can prevent Fe uptake.

My understanding of chemistry is limited here - but as far as I know, "spontaneous root rot" as described, - is not exactly caused by such parameters.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 2:22AM
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The words "full of" are a way of saying a very high content here in the US. I know it's not your native language and you might not recognize that nuance, so I thought I'd clarify that. By "full of" I mean your EC will likely measure .8 or more without the addition of nutrients. It's like that here. Worse in parts of California, I hear.

From what I am told the molecules in tap are quite large as they are not filtered out. They are the result of erosion and that erosion doesn't just happen to pick up the smallest of molecules. You can plainly see the mineral deposits floating around in our water straight from the tap. That is not small enough.

Anyway, the point of my comment was actually in regard to the post by Kylle that said that his roots turn tan when they hit the water. There is no such thing as spontaneous root rot. It takes a little time for healthy roots to go bad even in really poor conditions. There is such thing as instant attraction of molecules that can result in very quick coating which causes discoloration. And root rot isn't tan, it's a penetrating brown. I know that may seem like I am mincing words, but knowing the difference can be the difference in destroying a plant by taking the wrong action and saving it because you can tell the two colors apart. Tan roots that are still healthy are not likely to be suffering root rot. There are several reasons for it, but if the obvious one (colored water from poorly rinsed coco for example) isn't the case one should consider this cause. Also, if your water doesn't smell bad and the roots don't, you might try first rinsing the roots. I had tan roots from an aero set up last year and tried spraying the roots off with a spray bottle. They rinsed pretty easily for the most part.

I'm no chemist either. But, keep in mind you don't know for sure that the problem actually IS root rot. Root rot is caused by an infection that attacks the living roots. Rotting roots are just dead roots decomposing and may have died from any one of various problems (such as algae or lock out). The actions taken so far should have greatly reduced the chances of infection. Maybe the actions taken against root rot aren't working because it's not root rot.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 8:57AM
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I also read that throughout the plants life, some roots will die as new ones are formed. I do notice that quite a bit in my system, so I started running a small dose of cannazyme to eat the old roots that have died. (Thier claim at Canna is that Cannazyme turns dead roots into food in your system).
Also, I could have been running the nutes a bit hot too, I do not have an ec meter. I don't remember who it was on GW, but I did read that one grower never runs his nutes above 700ppm for the life of the pepper plant. If the roots to certain pepper plants are that sensitive then that could be why my tips were turining dark brown then dying. I do get some tanning by the way that I'm not worried about. I am using pro blend bloom that have some organic matter in them, which could be the reason for the tanning roots.
I do think I will try to run some distilled water in one bucket to see if that will help anything since I have been using tap water.
The two plants in the black buckets are the ones refered to on this post. The others are just different soil mixture experiments.

It's hard to see, but the roots at the very bottom have never grown down into the solution. When they reach the nutes they turn dark brown and die, but are rapidly replaced with new ones. I noticed in the pics above that your roots are long, mine are staying bushy. All is still healthy with new growth everyday?

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 7:07PM
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Hi kylle,
For those who can't obtain the pricey Cannazyme; "12 special enzymes... enriched vitamins, dessert plant extract ... immunity from diseases & mold ... root exchange ... assist breakdown of root ... hemicellulose ... nutrition source of minerals & sugars ... bio-stimulant ...."
There are carbohydrate degrading enzymes that perform enzymatic hydrolysis and yet they leave the protein fraction (ie: live root cells) largely insoluble (ie: intact to resume growth).
Breaking down old root carbohydrate, before it rots away, transforms it into different types of sugar molecules; a nutrient source of sugar for plant use.
12 common enzymes (available from AB Enzymes in Rajamaki-Finland, Biocatalytics in Cardiff-UK & Genencor in NY-USA) for the job are (in no particular order):
lactase, sucrase, fructase, lipase, esterase, alpha amylase, beta amylase, mannanase, beta glucanase, xylanase, beta fructofuranosidase & feruloyl esterase.
Xylanase will render a hydro-colloid that binds with a long chain carbohydrate to create a xylo-oligosaccharide that is particularly capable of enhancing beneficial bacterial growth.
Feryloyl-esterase will render another oligosaccharide & also ferulic acid. Ferulic acid in anti-microbial with anti-oxidant properties; so controls mold.
A dessert plant called Yucca has saponin steroids in it's root (this would be a precursor of cortisone if ingested by an animal); it will provide adaptative resilience & act as a bio-stimulant to plant tissue. Saponin has the characteristic of blocking absorption of pathogenic agents.
Yucca also contains P, K, Ca, Fe, Mn & Cu; so a source of minerals.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 9:50PM
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Kylle, I strongly suggest not spending money on the extras like cannazyme until you have spent money on an EC meter. I use none of the extras unless you count Cal/Mag supplements since I use rain water. I find the plant reacts best to consistent EC. If you are using botanicare by the instructions, your EC may very well be higher than necessary. If I were to use botanicare by the instructions with our tap water I would have an EC of around 2.8 and have lots of precipitation of minerals which also means more cleaning. I use less than what the instructions call for. You might be able to put the saved money from nutes and extras toward the EC meter.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 9:05AM
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Good advice joe. I'm new to this and I tend to learn from mistakes, but thats what makes it fun! I do plan on bying an ec meter.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 4:38PM
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I agree. Learning through experimentation/mistakes is a lot of fun. Sometimes it is satisfying to make discoveries even if they are already made by others.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 6:24PM
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