How to make a self-watering container for growing peppers – DIY step-by-step guide

How to make a self-watering container - step by step guide

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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.

Materials needed:
– 2 x 5-gallon buckets – https://amzn.to/3fBJqDz
– Drill – https://amzn.to/344EOR0
– 3-inch hole saw – https://amzn.to/3vgLw2b
– 1 1/4 inch hold saw – https://amzn.to/3hMNOCs
– 5/16 inch drill bit – https://amzn.to/3fcilaZ
– 2 x 3-inch net cups – https://amzn.to/3fDuULw
– Zip ties – https://amzn.to/2Sl3IZL
– 3 feet of 1-inch schedule 40 PVC pipe – https://amzn.to/348boRT

GroBucket self-watering container system

GroBucket
GroBucket

As an Amazon affiliate, I earn commissions from qualifying purchases made through the following product links.

The GroBucket is a system developed by GroTech, designed to insert directly into any 5-gallon bucket. It converts the 5-gallon bucket to a self-watering container, aka sub-irrigated planter. It contains the main insert, a fill tube, a water level indicator, and a fill tube cap. I purchased a three-pack, but they also come in a 10-pack.

GroBucket (3-pack) – https://amzn.to/3xzVD3r
GroBucket (10-pack) – https://amzn.to/3ihgPF1

Back to the Roots Water Garden – Aquaponics beginner kit

Back to the roots water garden
Back to the Roots Water Garden
Betta
Betta

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The Back to the Roots Water Garden is a small, beginners, aquaponics kit. It’s advertised as three gallons but effectively holds two gallons when set up. There is enough space for one Betta or similar fish. It has a small pump that pushes tank water up to the growing media and recirculates back into the tank. The theory is that the roots will help filter/clean the water, and the fish waste helps fertilize the plants.

The kit comes with two types of seeds and everything else you need, except the fish. It is recommended to add a small heater unless it is a strictly cold-water-loving fish.

My take away from using it is it’s a good learning/teaching system, but not effective on any large scale beyond growing microgreens. And microgreens could be grown with no fertilizer anyway. It’s a fun system though, and I’m still using it.

Here are similar products that I have not tried yet:

AquaSprouts Garden – https://amzn.to/3B3cZb9

ECO-Cycle Aquaponics Garden System – https://amzn.to/2UHlIia

Vivosun Aquaponic fish tank – https://amzn.to/3kaWVhs

Easy DIY wicking systems you can easily make at home

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.

As an Amazon affiliate, I earn commissions from qualifying purchases made through the following links.

Nylon rope for wicking: 1/8″ – https://amzn.to/2T6EprV
3/8″ (for larger setups) – https://amzn.to/3cCSBkr
Coco Coir – https://amzn.to/3fTSD9y Nursery pots – https://amzn.to/2Tbr5Tj Masterblend – https://amzn.to/2Z4sAqd
Calcium Nitrate – https://amzn.to/36aGR6k
Epsom Salt – https://amzn.to/36aGVmA
How to mix Masterblend – https://www.pepperinfo.com/hydroponics/everything-you-need-for-mixing-masterblend/

How to change nutrients on large Kratky systems

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.

Greenjoy hydroponic indoor grow box review

Greenjoy Indoor Grow Box
Greenjoy Indoor Grow Box

As an Amazon affiliate, I earn commissions from qualifying purchases made through any Amazon links in this article. This is at no extra cost to you.

Greenjoy recently sent me their hydroponic indoor grow box for review. I’ve published two videos, one of the initial unboxing and setup, and the other after 30 days of use. The videos are below. You can find more information about the product here, but as of this writing, it is currently unavailable.

The closest competing product for Greenjoy would be the AeroGarden Bounty. I have used both, and prefer the AeroGarden systems.

Video 1:

Video 2 after 30 days update:

How to properly mix ‘MasterBlend’ 4-18-38 tomato fertilizer

Mixing 4-18-38 tomato fertilizer
Mixing 4-18-38 tomato fertilizer

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.

Also, for a written guide, see the article I wrote called Everything you need for mixing MasterBlend.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn commissions from qualifying purchases made through the following links. This is at no extra cost to you.

Tools and materials needed for mixing MasterBlend, or other brands of 4-18-38 tomato fertilizer:

Masterblend/Calcium Nitrate/Epsom Salthttps://amzn.to/2Q7FU6D
Gram scaleshttps://amzn.to/2YvRVpy
Calibration weighthttps://amzn.to/2HkCTgr
Plastic funnelhttps://amzn.to/2Q4srMR
pH meterhttps://amzn.to/2Q7giqz
Probe storage solutionhttps://amzn.to/35iYIHd
ppm/EC meterhttps://amzn.to/2Q4EERP

Also, check my other related videos:

How to Pre-mix Concentrated MasterBlend Hydroponic Nutrients

Apera Instruments pH Meter

Using the Sansi LED floodlight for growing a pepper cross

As an Amazon Associate, I earn commissions from qualifying purchases made through links in this post. This helps support my website and YouTube channel.

I’m growing a Malagueta x Khang Starr White Thai under the Sansi LED floodlight. Both the parent plants were grown under this light also. I’ve been using this light for almost a year now. Although it isn’t marketed as a grow light, it actually does a great job for both vegetative growth and fruiting. I’m also using it over two Kratky grown peppers, a ‘pepper in a can’ and some succulent plants. I noticed they have a newer one that is twice the size and power. I might try it out in the near future.

Note: Sansi sent me this light for free to evaluate.

I’ve been giving my office plants a mix of Masterblend 4-18-38, Epsom Salt and Calcium Nitrate. Check out the article I wrote that shows you everything you need for mixing Masterblend nutrients.

The following products were shown or mentioned in the following video.
Sansi LED Floodlight – https://amzn.to/2NlnbXm
Masterblend nutrients – https://amzn.to/2LpLJMp
Air pump – https://amzn.to/2XAAszf
Air stones – https://amzn.to/2Xcb17U

Other videos I’ve made on this Sansi LED floodlight:

Sansi LED floodlight test

Sansi LED floodlight 10-week follow-up

Sansi LED floodlight update 3

27 gallon Kratky tote – restricted root experiment

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

As an Amazon Associate, I earn commissions from qualifying purchases made through links in this post. This is at no extra cost to you and helps support my efforts to provide content.

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.