27 gallon Kratky tote – restricted root experiment

27 gallon tote restricted root setup
27 gallon tote restricted root setup

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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.

5-gal bucket with holes
5-gal bucket with holes
KhangSta Yellow plant
KhangSta Yellow plant
Bucket inserted into tote
Bucket inserted into tote

Large 60-gallon Kratky system preview

60-gallon Kratky system
60-gallon Kratky system

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.

Easy, cheap, DIY wicking cups

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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.

Watch my video below to see how I make them.

Items that are shown or mentioned in the video:

– 20-ounce styrofoam cups ( You can also pick these up in the grocery store or places like WalMart) – https://amzn.to/2Cz2O1m
– Microfiber clothes – https://amzn.to/2WkSLUO
– HLG-100 grow light – https://amzn.to/2HVsCbv
– 48″ x 48″ x 80″ grow tent – https://amzn.to/2U5MxuJ
– Coco coir – https://amzn.to/2TuOi05
– Perlite – https://amzn.to/2uocFm7
– Dyna-Grp 7-9-5 – https://amzn.to/2uqDeH4

Update on HLG plant

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I’ve called it the HLG plant because it’s the only one I’ve had under my Horticulture Lighting Group HLG-100 3000K light. The pepper plant is an unknown cross with Lightning Mustard Hab and has grown prolifically. I need to make room in the tent and make use of the light for this year’s pepper starts. So I pruned it way back, and trimmed the roots, and moved it from the 27-gallon tote to a 5-gallon bucket. I also changed the nutrients from Flora Nova Grow to Dyna-Gro 7-9-5. I’ll soon move it out of the tent entirely and put it under one of my red/blue LED lights. I’ll need to sanitize the grow tent and set up space for my new pepper plants.

Most of my pepper plants have been transferred out of the seed starting system and AeroGardens, into small wicking cups. I’ll probably put most of them in tote lids so they can all feed through the wicks out of the totes.

Here are some pics of the plant I just pruned back.

Plant before pruning
Before pruning
Plant after pruning
After pruning
Plant roots
Roots
Plant after transplant
After transplant

Hydroponic DWC seed starting system – DIY AeroGarden

DIY AeroGarden with plants
DIY AeroGarden

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I built this hydroponic deep water culture system for starting pepper plants. It was very inexpensive and easy to build and works well. It uses a small air pump, air stones, one-inch net cups, AeroGarden sponges (although just about any kind of growing sponge would work, ie BioDome, Rapid Rooter, Root Riot, etc… It has a built-in light stand with a Sansi 30 watt grow light.

Parts showed (or equivalent) in the video:

Commander XL 5 gallon tote – Get at Lowes
Air pump – https://amzn.to/2XNpXpB
Air stones – https://amzn.to/2TtfFfG
Sansi 30 watt grow light – https://amzn.to/2XPc8H7
Dyna-Gro 7-9-5 – https://amzn.to/2XOKz0T
Air tubing – https://amzn.to/2NV3LFI
1-inch net cups – https://amzn.to/2NV06r7
AeroGarden sponges – https://amzn.to/2TqEn0m
or
Rapid Rooter (cut these in quarters the long way) – https://amzn.to/2XOKzxV
1-inch bit – https://amzn.to/2NT804t
1-inch PVC pipe – get at Lowes
1-inch PVC tee – get at Lowes

Here are pics of some of the plants I transplanted out of this system.

Aji Lemon Drop
Aji Lemon Drop
Fish pepper
Fish pepper

Pepper grow update #3 – 02/17/19

plants 2/17/19
Grow update 2/17/19

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My third pepper grow update for 2019. The plants are starting to outgrow the AeroGarden Sprout seed starting deck. I have them moved to something bigger soon, hopefully by the next update or the one after.

These are items I use that are shown or mentioned in the video.

AeroGarden Bounty – https://amzn.to/2X86Czi
AeroGarden Sprout – https://amzn.to/2DQ0wKT
AeroGarden Sprout seed starting deck – https://amzn.to/2DQ0xyr
Sansi 30 watt LED grow light – https://amzn.to/2BGAOIv
Dyna-Gro 7-9-5 – https://amzn.to/2Ee6pmL

How to quickly unclog the AeroGarden Sprout aerator

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From time to time, the aerator nozzle on the AeroGarden Sprout gets clogged. The most effective way to fix this is to take it out and clean it, but if you don’t have time for that, this is a quick and easy fix to get the air flowing again. All you need is a bendable dental gum brush.

AeroGarden Sprout – https://amzn.to/2V0bN2k
AeroGarden Sprout seed starting deck – https://amzn.to/2SO61U6
Dental gum Proxabrush – https://amzn.to/2TQ7W7M

Basil sprouting time-lapse

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I’m currently testing a Sansi 40-watt grow light with two wicking hydroponic systems, a kit made by Ball and one I made. This is a review of the Basil seeds sprouting in both systems. I’ll post the full video soon show how these are made, and a review of the grow light. This same method would work great for pepper seeds.

How to take apart the AeroGarden grow deck for recirculating models

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It’s important to pop apart the grow deck for recirculating models between gardens. This is because roots can get in the channels and block nutrient flow. It’s very easy to do, but not very intuitive if you’ve never done it before.

Here’s a video showing how to take apart the grow deck on an AeroGarden Bounty model.