For the 2019 hydroponic project, I decided to switch things up a bit. This is only my third year playing around with this non-traditional way of growing peppers, and so far the first two efforts netted mixed results.

In 2017, the Lemon Drop I grew produced a good number of peppers. In 2018, my plants were quite healthy and created an abundance of blossoms (and massive blossom drop), but only two actual peppers before I decided to end the project early. I’m pretty sure last year’s debacle was my fault — perhaps being overly aggressive with my solution mixture. Any ways, lessons were learned.

This time around, I’m making the switch from the Kratky method of growing to employing Deep Water Culture (DWC) for my two plants. The only real difference between the two methods is, in my case, the use of an air pump to oxygenate my growing liquid. With the switch in growing methodology, I’ve also updated my equipment. Gone are the old GNC protein containers which did well for single plants. Now I’ve got a 10 gallon tote that will easily hold my two plants, as well as the air pump.

The Process

The steps for setting up this year’s project are essentially the same as previous years — just with more water. Before adding the suggested ratio of nutrients as outlined by General Hydroponics Flora series, I had to get the six gallons of water to the correct PH (typically a range of 5.5 – 5.8 should work for peppers). I got lucky and nailed 5.5 on the head.

Once everything was mixed thoroughly and ready for the plants, I lugged the (heavier than expected) tote down stairs to my office where it will sit until the project is done. The next step, prior to setting the plants in their spots, was to get the air pump running. I opted for the below model as I didn’t really need anything too big or complex. Simpler is better for my first DWC effort.

Once everything was tested and the airstones in their correct spots, it was time to close up the tote and get the Bulgarian Carrot and Thai Dragon in place. I opted for these two varieties for their relatively compact structure. As you’ll see by the photos below, I don’t have the room for the plants to get overly large.

Prior to the plants heading into the tote, they were in cups serving as simple Kratky setups. I waited until both plants had produced enough of a root structure that they would be ready for the larger reservoir. They’ve been in the system for over 24 hours now and both plants look great and have already started to root out more.

Hopefully, this time around I can keep the hydroponic solution in a ratio that doesn’t adversely affect these plants. Stay tuned!