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How to make a self-watering container for growing peppers – DIY step-by-step guide.
In the video below, I show step by step, how to build a self-watering container. These are also known as sub-irrigated planters. The bucket-in-bucket setup is a very common self-watering container design. They work similarly to the Earth Box and the GroBucket systems. They are a bit time-consuming to make. For an easier, simpler option, check out the GroBucket.
In this video, I show an easy way to test and make wicking systems from household materials. I show two easy DIY methods for installing wicks, and a way to test wicking material to make sure that it works properly. For the demonstration, I use a Basil plant and a propagated pepper clone.
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This video shows how to change nutrients on large Kratky systems. The same principles apply though, to small Kratky systems. My Bih Jolokia in the 45-gallon trash gan was starting to show some nutrient deficiencies. The solution had dropped down by 2/3 the original volume and pH and dropped to 4.1. I replaced with fresh nutrients keeping the same level as before.
In the title, I put ‘MasterBlend’ in quotes, because in my video I’m using a different brand of 4-18-38 tomato fertilizer, partly because that is what I have on hand at the moment, but to also demonstrate that you don’t have to have the name brand of the product. Also, it mixes exactly the same way and yields the same results, so if you have the name brand version of the product, these steps will work fine.
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Follow in instructions in the video below to see how to make a Sriracha style powder from frozen peppers. I call this StanRacha, the ‘Days Gone By’ blend because I used preserved frozen peppers that were over four years old.
This is a recipe and process for using vacuum sealed frozen pepper pods to make a sriracha type spice blend but could be adapted for any kind of pepper spice blend. This process could also be used from fresh pepper pods. You can adjust the recipe to taste of course, but this will give you a starting point. I also show tips on working with frozen peppers, how to dehydrate them and store for short term use and long term preservation.
For reference, here are the ratios I used, adjust according to taste:
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I want to see if restricting the root size to a reasonable area will encourage early fruiting, or if the plant will stay in extended veg mode. Last year I grew two plants in a 27-gallon tote, and they took forever to fruit, and the yield, although good, was not great. There were a lot of green pods on them at the very end of the season when it was turning cold. So eventually they would have produced more.
This year I’m using the same 27-gallon tote, but with one plant, and that is in a 5-gallon bucket insert. The bucket has small holes at the bottom and larger ones at the top (for air flow). The idea is, the roots will mostly be confined to the smaller container, while still having access to all the nutrients in the large tote. Andrew Higgenbottom did a similar experiment but used a much smaller inner container. I’m hoping the 5-gallon size will mitigate the issues he ran into. This isn’t a perfect experiment, as I’m not growing the same kind of plant side by side as a control, but I’m just comparing against what I saw last season. Last year I grew a StarrRacha Bonnet and a KhangSta Red in the same tote , both were in the extended veg mode most of the season. This year, in the root restricted setup, I’m growing what is supposed to be a KhangSta Red but is producing yellow pods. It’s from the same seed stock that Khang sent me, but I think it’s either crossed or just a yellow mutation of KhangSta Red since it’s still a little unstable.
I’m using Dyna-Gro 7-9-5 at just over 1 tsp/gallon, with ppm around 500. The tote has a float valve already installed, and I can hook up a reservoir later when needed to maintain a static nutrient level.
I set up two large Kratky hydroponic systems. One is in a 60-gallon pickle barrel, and the other in a 45-gallon trashcan. Here’s a video preview. I’ll post a more in-depth video showing the setup and the all the details of what I used, in about 30 days.
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This year I’ve transplanted most of my sprouts from the AeroGarden Bounty and my DIY system, into Styrofoam wicking cups. These are super easy and quick to make. They are nice intermediate vessels for the plants until being moved to their final location. These setups also provide more flexibility than standard double cups do. For instance, you could remove them from the bottom cup and set in something larger for the plant/s to drink from.