Introduction to growing Jalapeno peppers hydroponically
The Jalapeno pepper is a medium-sized pepper pod type cultivar of the species Capsicum annum. A mature Jalapeno chili is 5 to 10 cm long and hangs down with a round, firm, smooth flesh of 25-38 mm wide. If you want to grow Jalapenos in hydroponics, a simple and inexpensive indoor deep-water culture setup, along with some lights, is easy to make and will provide you with peppers all year long. As a bonus, your peppers will grow in hydroponics about 25 percent faster than they would if you planted them in soil. The Jalapeno pepper plant is important in your garden. Hydroponic production is the method of growing plants under soilless (i.e., soil-less) conditions with nutrients, water, and an inert medium such as gravel, sand, perlite among others. Hydroponic peppers can taste better than regular soil peppers because you can adjust the daylight hours and increase the nutrient levels easily. In this article we also discussed the following topics;
- Hydroponic Jalapeno growing conditions
- Hydroponic Jalapeno nutrient requirements
- Benefits of the hydroponic system
- Hydroponic Jalapeno growing medium
- Hydroponic systems for growing Jalapeno
- Do hydroponic Jalapeno peppers taste better than regular soil peppers
A step by step guide to growing Jalapeno hydroponically
Hydroponic system advantages
In Hydroponics system, you have a 100% control of the nutrients that plants need. Before planting, growers can check what plants require and the specific amounts of nutrients required at particular stages and mix them with water. Nutrients are conserved in the tank, so there are no losses or changes of nutrients like they are in the soil.
- Significantly faster growth-rate, and thus the growth is much cheaper
- Possible to achieve much higher yields in a smaller space
- Total control of the growth and taste by adjusting the nutrient ratios
- No over-watering problem (the most common cause of problems with soil-based growing)
- Experimenting is very easy and most often harmless to plants
- Up to about 90% more efficient use of water
- Production increases 3 to 10 times in the same amount of space
- Many crops can be produced twice as fast in a well managed hydroponic system
- Decreasing the time between harvest and consumption increases the nutritional value of the end product
- Indoor farming in a climate-controlled environment means farms can exist in places where weather and soil conditions are not favorable for traditional food production
- No chemical weed or pest control products are required when operating a hydroponic system
Different varieties of Jalapeno peppers for the hydroponic system
Purple Jalapeno Pepper
This is a personal favorite and Purple Jalapenos grow on a beautiful plant that can produce almost black leaves (in full sun) and purple flowers. The chilies start green, and then turn purple and end up red. You can eat them at any color stage.
Yellow Jalapeno Pepper (Jaloro)
The yellow Jalapeno pepper is highly resistant to many viruses that often afflict other peppers.
Mucho Nacho Jalapeno
The Mucho Nacho Jalapeno pepper is a larger variety of Jalapeno pepper as it grows up to 4 inches long.
Billy Biker Jalapeno
Another hot one, the Billy Biker Jalapeno pepper backs up high heat with incredible Jalapeno flavor.
The Black Jalapeno pepper is another eye-catching variety that starts green, changes to black, and ultimately turns red at the end of its growth cycle.
The system requirements for growing Jalapeno peppers hydroponically
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In a Deepwater culture system, a reservoir is used to hold the nutrient solution. The roots of Jalapeno plants are suspended from the nutrient solution to get a constant supply of water, oxygen, and nutrients. In this hydroponic system, an air pump is used to oxygenate the water, preventing the roots from drowning Deep water culture (DWC) is a hydroponic method of Jalapeno plant production using suspending the plant roots in a solution of oxygenated, nutrient-rich water. Also known as pond or float systems, this method uses floating rafts to suspend plant roots into a pond of water often 8 to 12 inches deep.
DWC is the practice of growing plants in aerated water and it’s considered by many to be the purest form of hydroponics. DWC hydroponic systems are very simple. And all you need is a container, lid, pump, and a net pot. The container holds the nutrient solution (usually around 2.5 to 4 gallons) and the lid supports a single plant growing in a net pot.
You can also grow jalapenos indoors hydroponically using a simple deep-water culture set-up. Peppers grow well with the ebb and flow hydroponic system along with rock wool slabs as an increasing medium. Because Jalapeno pepper plants grow tall, they will need to maintain to keep them from falling over.
When grown in a hydroponic system the Jalapeno pepper needs space for its roots and staking to keep the plant upright. In a simple storage bin hydroponic system, peppers are planted four to a bin, spaced 6 to 8 inches apart. A wire, stake or trellis attached to an overhead support and plant ties keep the pepper plants growing upright. With sufficient light, hydroponic Jalapeno peppers get very tall; pruning can be necessary to keep the plant under control.
How far apart to space hydroponic Jalapeno peppers
If you are planting pepper plants, they need to be 18 to 24 inches away from each other. If you’re aiming for smaller pepper plants, then the spacing requirement is half.
We’ve even seen pepper plants that are quite close to each other, but to ensure that the pepper plants are getting enough light, a massive LED grows light is directed toward the leaves.
The temperature requirement for growing Jalapeno hydroponically
Hot peppers grow best in daytime air temperatures 18-26°C and night temperatures above 13°C. Also, a daytime temperature above 32ºC inhibits fruit formation, but fruiting will happen once temperatures drop back below 32ºC. If Jalapeno pepper growing into the fall, be sure to have a weather protection blanket on hand for evenings that have freeze warnings.
The light requirement for Jalapeno peppers growing hydroponically
About 10 – 12 hours daily (outdoors) light required for Jalapeno peppers. If growing Jalapeno indoors, the grow lights should be for flowering plants and placed 6 to 8 inches over the pepper plants. Any closer could cause scorching, any further away and the pepper plants will not get the full benefit of the light. As the plants mature, adjust the height of the lights to maintain the 6 to 8-inch distance.
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Essential tips for planting hydroponic Jalapeno peppers
Here are essential tips for planting hydroponic Jalapeno peppers;
Healthy Jalapeno pepper plants can be germinated directly from viable seeds. You can use cuttings and transplant them to hydroponics setup, but you will have to grow a viable root system first, which means you will still be using start plugs to accomplish this.
Starter plugs are essential for hydroponics projects so it is a good idea to have a steady supply of reliable starter plugs at home so you will always be ready to germinate seeds.
Cloning plants is a good idea if there is a nursery nearby and offer cuttings from really robust cultivars that bear fruit constantly. Cloning is done because you want to obtain the same traits as the mother plant. To increase the success rate of cloning, you could want to use oxygenated water primarily to boost the growth of sturdy root structures.
You can oxygenate water by increasing the amount of dissolved oxygen in it and regulating its temperature. The warmer the water, the lower its dissolved oxygen content. Some hydroponics growers transplant mature plants from soil and it can be done but not without some severe risks. The problem with this approach, though it is easier, is you may be introducing pathogens to an otherwise pristine hydroponics system, and later on; these pathogens may in turn cause problems.
Your hydroponics setup should provide support to the pepper plants once they mature, so they do not tip over once they are heavy with foliage and pods. Sometimes the branches of Jalapeno pepper plants break when there’s just too much weight, and you wouldn’t want to waste mature stems especially when the plants are bearing ideally-sized pods already. The hydroponic system has to be able to hold the weight.
Jalapeno Pepper plants will need support and the Tower Garden‘s support cage will work perfectly for holding up these plants. Plant them on the lower three tiers of hydroponic vertical Tower Garden as they will grow to about 3 feet in height.
Jalapeno peppers don’t continue to ripen well off the plant, so harvest when they are ready and process immediately if possible. Jalapeno peppers can be kept in the refrigerator, but avoid moisture. Avoid washing the Jalapeno peppers before refrigerating them, and dry them if they have dew or water from the irrigation system. Store these in a paper towel towards the top of the refrigerator.
How long do hydroponic Jalapeno peppers take to grow?
The germination stage of Jalapeno pepper plants will likely take seven to fourteen days, fourteen being the upper limit. It takes an average of 50 to 80 days for pepper plants to be fully mature and ready for harvesting. Before this period you will see a lot of flowering and vegetative growth, with pods growing bigger and redder with each passing day.
Simply maintain the formula you have been using for plants and wait for the right time to pick the pods from the stems. If your first batch of pepper plants does well, you can just keep the system or begin cloning from your best-performing plants.
The process of growing Jalapeno peppers hydroponically
Place several 4.5-inch net pots, available from hydroponics system suppliers, upside-down on the lid of an 8-gallon plastic storage-type bin. Leave 2.5 inches between the pots, and don’t put them any closer than 2 inches to the edge. Stagger the pots to get the most use out of the space and make a line around each pot with a permanent marker and remove the pots.
Cutaway the center of each circle, using about a 4-inch hole saw attachment on an electric drill. Don’t try to remove the lip that’s left between the hole and the line, as this ledge is needed to hold the net pots in place.
Drill about 1/4-inch hole in the bin, as close to the top as you can. Then, pass a length of air tubing through the hole and connect an 8-inch air stone to the tubing on the inside of the bin. Connect the other end of the tubing to an air pump and you can buy the tubing, air stone, and pump at any pet supply store that carries aquarium products.
Fill the bin with hydroponic nutrient solution, obtainable from any hydroponics supply store. Put the lid on the bin and screw two hooks into the ceiling above your new hydroponic system. Suspend a piece of light chain from each one. The chain should hang down almost to the top of the bin.
Connect the chains to the top of about 4-foot fluorescent light fixture with full-spectrum grow lights. Adjust the height so the lights will be no more than 6 inches above the top of your Jalapeno pepper plants. Fill the net pots with silica stones and then plant one Jalapeno transplant in each pot. Set a pot into each hole in the top of the bin, and make sure the plant roots reach into the liquid. Plugin the air pump to complete your hydroponic system.
Days to harvest hydroponic Jalapeno peppers
Begin harvesting when Jalapeno peppers reach a marketable size. Leave Jalapeno peppers on the plants until they ripen fully by changing color and improve their levels of vitamin C. Harvest your Jalapenos all at once and freeze or dry the extras, or stagger planting times so that you constantly have a supply of ready-to-pick peppers. Harvest continually through the season to favor blossoming, fruit setting, and plant growth. Transplants will begin to bear ripe fruit in 70 to 85 days and depending on cultivar. 70 days Green; 93 days Red Ripe.
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