Hydroponic Peppers

leafericson(6)February 2, 2013

For anyone just reading this thread feel welcome to join in. We would love to hear your experiences with hydroponics. Including Al'a 5-1-1 mix (yes I believe that's hydroponic to:-)


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Yes please Eric, i'd love to hear more! So far i'm still leaning towards an ebb and flow, it somehow looks easier to set up and maintain for bigger plants like chillies. Also, very valuable info about mycorrhizae, do you use nutrients like that too? From big agro labels i mean. I don't have access to hydro shops, the two that exist here are very new and extremely expensive. But we do have some very good quality water soluble ferts used for normal agriculture, which have proven great to me so far, and are available in almost any formulation you can think of.
Please if you open another topic just copy my post there to answer :)
Caelian, apologies for stealing your topic (again :)) ), glad you like fatalii's site ;) he has some sick hydro chillies growing!

teyo I've used ebb and flow mainly with aquaponics it works well but if something goes wrong the plants will die very quickly from lack of water.
Dutch bucket are much more forgiving because they have a reservoir of their own at the bottom of the pot and they can also be moved anywhere you like at any given notice.
Ebb and Flow uses a big tray confining plants to that space.
As it goes with nutrients; I stay away from well known brands. Most of them are just a lot of hype.
Your good quality water soluble ferts should work as long as you have a "TDS" meter and a "PH" test kit you should be fine with them.
If you are using material that is not very absorbent like clay pebbles or just plain NFT then you should always use less nutrients than recommended. Like the old saying: "Less is more"


Here is a link that might be useful: Very inexpensive Hydroponic Nutrients

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 12:37PM
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chilliwin(EU DK 7)

Eric, is it very expensive to use Hydroponic system? Is hydroponic only for indoors? I have seen some pictures of Ghost hydroponic plants, the plants are so beautiful.

New container gardener,

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 1:39PM
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Hydroponics is for indoors and outdoors.
I've had no real problems outdoors although some people say it will swing the PH levels to far for the plants to handle. If a plant is that delicate then I don't want to grow it.
I've grown a lot of different vegies hydroponically; even some root vegies like radish and short carrots.
Every plant seems to like a different method with hydroponics but they all seem to grow much faster and larger than conventional growing.

It's expensive only if you make it that way. You can do something as simple as pot full of perlite or clay pebbles will a cotton wick suspended above another pot of nutrient solution. The plant does all the work and draws up the solution through the wick.


    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 1:53PM
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chilliwin(EU DK 7)

The hydroponic system I have seen looks so complicated. We have some hydroponic enthusiasts but I do not know whether they have grown pepper. I have a lot of seedlings I can try one of them.

New container gardener,

Here is a link that might be useful: It looks complicated and real expensive.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 2:34PM
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Caelian well even though that link is not in English I can still see from the pictures it does look expensive. My advice to you is to make your own and make it simple. Some systems I have made for free using stuff I had laying around; like bucket, totes, etc.


    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 2:53PM
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"Including Al'a 5-1-1 mix (yes I believe that's hydroponic to:-)"

Yes, your 100% correct. It is hydroponics.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 9:31AM
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chilliwin(EU DK 7)

Thank you Eric for the advice.

New container gardener,

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 1:22PM
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Hi Eric, thanks for the reply!!

i have so many ideas and questions running around in my head, i'll try not to bore you to death with them :))

i'm actually leaning towards ebb and flow exactly because it's just one big table and i can add and remove plants to my liking. the thing is i'd put in peppers and some other test plants to see how they do in the table, and i like the idea of changing plants without flushing and changing the whole system. i have plenty of space and no need to move that stuff around.
as i said i was going to add a couple of bubbleponics diy buckets, i might as well do a couple dutch buckets too and see which does better, simpler and cheaper :))

about dutch buckets, they do seem quite promising but i am very unsure about that reservoir in the bottom, doesn't it attract algae, scum, rot and all other nasties of stagnant water? because it doesn't seem to me there is much circulation in there...
in the ebb and flow table, how necessary are mesh pots exactly? if the whole table is filled with leca or hydroton, wouldn't it be the same to put in the plants in the pots or without them?

i have already ordered a ph meter, looking now for a ec meter.
about nutrients, yeah i've noticed they are mostly geared towards marijuana growers, and that they avoid listing ingredients in the traditional fashion. the first i don't mind (actually i'd say mj growers are a happily experimenting bunch, i've learned tons from them, especially about diy systems), other than they overprice the product in relation to that, the second is bad, and makes it impossible to fine tune the nutrients :/
another problem for me is that it would be insanely expensive to order jugs of nutrients online (i'm located in croatia), pay customs for them, and even then there is a fair chance they would get seized or cops would come knocking on my door thinking i was growing mj lol and as i said, locally no good grow shops, i am left with water soluble agro nutes.

Caelian, hydro can be very simple and cheap... basically in the simplest i've seen all you need is a bucket with lid, a 6 inch mesh pot, a cheap air pump with two air stones and appropriate tubing, some hydroton and your plant :D oh and water and some soluble fertilizer. there are a ton of diy tutorials on the web, so much cheaper than finished solutions. i think it's worth a shot with one or two plants,just for fun :)

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 1:58PM
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I agree that you can do hydro pretty cheap using the bubble bucket method. Your biggest investment should be your time researching hydroponics and building the bucket(s) ;-))

Find yourself:
- a food grade container or bucket (plastic numbers 2, 4, or 5) You can try to score a few used food grade buckets at a local burger place or restaurant;
- a cheap aquarium pump, some hose and an air stone;
- a bag of Perlite, clean cotton strips or strips from a from a new mop to use as wicks and a few mesh baskets.

You can see instructions for building one here:

The most expensive components would probably be nutrients and a cheap pH meter if you feel you need one.

Here's a few shots of a setup I built a couple of years ago to give you a better idea of what I'm talking about.

A used dill pickle bucket and Rubermaid bin

Mesh baskets and mop strands as wicks

I ended up with 3 of the blue bins on this rack under a 400 watt MH light. The green bucket ended up on the side

Here are a few Bhut Jolokia plants doing just fine

Here is a link that might be useful: Here's a link to more info on food grade plastic

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 3:26PM
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teyo I can never be bored with hydro.
Ebb and flow is great if you have all the same plants on the table but if you have different plants they need different requirements so it is not practical for my uses but it is still a very good system.
DWC(Bubbleponics) gets difficult to use for many plants because it gets costly supplying all the air to the water.
Dutch buckets were the industry standard for peppers and tomatoes but now they are being replaced by rockwool slabs in bags.
Dutch buckets have an excellent drainage system that does not leave algae, scum, rot or stagnant water at the bottom of the bucket. There is an elbow at the bottom of the reservoir that drains the water from the very bottom of the reservoir kind of like a suction you would have with siphoning liquid.
With Dutch buckets you just simply run irrigation line along the buckets punch a hole push a connector in and your drip line to the bucket. The irrigation line goes to a reservoir with a pump and timer. Simple. But the buckets do take up storage space so this year I am contemplating using grow bags filled with pine bark, perlite and coir fed with drip line.
If you filled your tray with hydroton then you would need mesh pots because the area would be considered a garden bed and you would want to utilize all that air space for the roots. That way is similar to what most people use in aquaponics.
If you're going with ebb and flow (aka flood and drain) then I would recommend just using regular pots filled with hydroton not the whole table.
Yes I have learned a lot from marijuana growers but they have also given hydroponics a bad name you can see that first hand with ordering your nutrients online and the possibility of having them seized by customs.

ottawapepper thanks for all the great pictures the Bhuts look amazing! Are you still using deep water culture (DWC) or another method? Do you have any more picture you can share?
Thanks for chiming in; hopefully we can get Caelian to give hydro a shot..


    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 4:27PM
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chilliwin(EU DK 7)

Teyo, Ottawapepper and Eric, thank you for the information and very nice demonstrative pictures. The Bhut Jolokia plants are looked very healthy and nice.

Hydroponic gardening I heard many times but I never saw and touch in real so just I would like to try and have fun.

Actually I like to buy the parts and assemble, just like I do with all my desktop computers. All of you are providing me good information that's very kind of you, I really appreciate. As a new beginner I would like to buy one hydroponics systems first, very cheap one. I found one in EU online shop:

Thank you for your time.

New container gardener,


Here is a link that might be useful: Hydroponics Sytems

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 9:25AM
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Some great info in this thread, I have also been doing some research and I am quite liking the idea of a DWC bucket in my setup. ottawapepper, are you still using that setup or has it been upgraded since?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 10:43AM
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the 5-1-1 or other soilless mixes are considered drain to waste hydroponics hand watered. That is as close as I will get to hydroponics ever. Those grow mediums offer the porosity to the roots that hydroponics does with out all the ph monitring ppm testing ect. It is not like growing in rockwool which has ph swings very easy. Those soilless mixes for pots have a higher ph buffer than say coco alone or rockwool.

Hydroponics saves water and fertilizer-

Hydroponics produces more per square foot, so it saves space

This post was edited by TheMasterGardener1 on Tue, Feb 5, 13 at 13:33

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 12:46PM
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Sorry folks, I haven't gotten back to hydro since my first try. Whenever I thought about doing it again it seems like something else always comes up ;-)

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 7:32PM
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i took a step back, and instead of reading a bunch of scattered articles i downloaded a collection of hydroponics ebooks. always better to start from a decent publication.
if anyone wants the info on where to find these send me a pm, i don't know the policy of this forum regarding such things so...

Eric, i am re-evaluating NFT, because i remembered i have a bunch of pvc piping laying around in the basement (i would like to keep buying new stuff to a minimum). i could easily set up two tubes of it (from and to the nutrient container) about 3 meters long each. i'll read up on it now. my concerns are about the sensitivity of plants to flow through and angle of those pipes, that was the first thing that put me off nft...
about the dutch buckets, yeah i know they have an elbow at the bottom, i was skeptical about it's ability to draw all the water out :)
good idea with only pots in ebb and flow! it would be practical but i have to consider sun exposure and find some solution for that..

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 7:44AM
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