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Growing Hot Peppers Guide + FAQ


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#1 juanitos

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 11:44 AM

Growing Hot Peppers FAQ
Peppers are a fun / easy plant to grow. Below we discuss the different stages of growth, common methods of growing, and what peppers generally require to grow. Keep in mind that peppers are related to tomatoes so most advice relating to tomatoes can be *loosely* applied to peppers as well.
This is a basic / FAQ guide, start learning with this, then learn more in-depth stuff elsewhere.
 
==============Contents==================
 
 
 
Have more questions that aren't answered by this guide?
Reply here, i can answer all questions or get an expert who can

Edited by juanitos, 11 February 2015 - 03:11 PM.


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#2 juanitos

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 11:50 AM

====General  info====
List of different peppers:
Wiki with all pepper info
Accession# database
 
Grow Methods:
Traditional - soil or soiless mix into containers / the ground
Hydroponics - grow plants in water with a nutrient mix (fertilizer)

Aquaponics - growing in water using waste of other organisms(fish) to feed the plants
 
Stages of Growth:
Germination: process of sprouting a seed
Seedling: Cotyledons - one set of  true leaves
Adolescent: 2 - 8 sets of true leaves
Adult: Plant that is flowering (Maturity)
Dormant: Adult plant that has stopped growing(overwinter)
 
Light:
-More indepth about lighting
Germinating peppers don't require any light.
All the other stages require light, adult requiring the most to produce peppers.
 
Inside peppers can be run on lights 24/7 but most prefer to run on a 18 on / 6 off light schedule as it saves electricity and some think the plants enjoy the "rest" they get in dark time. 

Outside peppers enjoy the full sun all day. In Hot climates with full sun (southern us, aus, dubia) they can become stressed from being too hot! It's a good idea for them to have partial shade in times where temp is  100+F. 
 
Temperature:
Peppers love warm temperatures. Optimal range is 65-90 degree Fahrenheit.
Peppers will die in a freeze, do anything you can do to prevent them being exposed. Common ways to keep the plants warm are keeping them inside house, greenhouses / hoophouses, space heaters, and heat mats.
 
Air: 
Air circulation is important to stimulate peppers growing strong stems, it also keeps the top of soil from growing algae. Outdoors we have wind, Indoors you should use an oscillating fan.
 
Fertilizer / Nutrition:
See the grow methods section (nutrients /  fertilizer depends on your methods).
 
Diseases / Deficiencies:
picture
http://i.imgur.com/K5Dj2Jb.png
articles
http://5e.plantphys....php?ch=5&id=289
https://www.seminis....5x11_072313.pdf
 http://www.haifa-gro...ers_in_peppers/

Pests:
See The Pest Guide http://thehotpepper.com/topic/46302-the-pest-guide/. 
 
Topping / Triming:
read this topic http://thehotpepper....ng-and-pruning/
and this one can help too http://thehotpepper....xtreme-pruning/
 
Abbreviations / slang:
DWC - Deep Water Culture
AACT - Actively Aerated Compost Tea
EWC - Earth Worm Castings/Compost
FFOF - Fox Farm Ocean Forest
MYCO - fungus (beneficial)
Hydro - Hydroponics
Topping- Cutting the top part of the plant off
Nutes - Fertilizer


Edited by juanitos, 04 January 2016 - 02:23 PM.


#3 juanitos

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 11:55 AM

====General Grow Process====
 
=========
Pre Germination (OPTIONAL):
Some people germinate seeds differently than their grow method as it can be easier.
Grow Area: Ziploc bag or Tupperware with lid
Grow media: Paper towel or Coffee filter
 
Process:
1. (optional) soak seeds in a solution to soften seed casings (h2o2,chamomile tea,others)
2. wet the grow media
3. put seeds on the media (some like to fold them in)
4. put media with seeds into the area
5. store in warm(70--90f) place, check every couple of days for sprouts
 
Examples:
buckeye pepper 1  &  buckeye pepper 2
juanitos 2014
juanitos 2014
juanitos 2014
juanitos 2014
juanitos 2015
=========
 
=========
Sowing
If you didn't do germination step, start here. When the seeds have germinated (roots coming out)(can wait till you see the cotyledons)
Grow Area: Starter tray w/humidity dome, Seedling containers, the ground
Grow media: Starter mix, soilmix, peat pellets, rockwool cubes(hydro & aero), the ground
 
Process:
1. pick the seed from germination media (carefully) (dont hurt the root!)
2. make a small indention into  media, place seed root pointing down (tweezers help)
3. if using mix/soil cover with 1-.25 inch of mix/soil
4. water them asap
 
Examples:
http://driedhotpeppe...14_Grow_001.jpg
Juanitos 2014
spicy chicken planting trays
=========
 
=========
Sprouts/Seedlings
Caring for plants till they have first sets of true leaves. Easiest stage to screw up, plants are young / delicate.
Plants need light now. Humidity dome is bad now, remove it.
 
Process:
1. Lighting setup for 18 hours on, 6 hours off (question on lighting? see lighting section)
2. Water every day/2days making sure media is damp but not soaking. (overwatering kills the plant,underwatering kills the plant... lol)
3. When they have 4-6 leaves total, move on to Adolescent.
 
Examples:
spicy chicken 2014
juanitos 2014
juanitos 2014
peat pellets
=========
 
=========
Transplanting:
Plants need more room to grow, not just babies any more you got teenagers. (skip this if you planted directly into cups / pots)
Grow Area: solo cup, 3in pot, hydro/aero setup, the ground
Grow media: Starter mix, soilmix, hydroton, the ground
 
Process:
1. remove seedling from tray, take the whole pellet
2. place the whole root mass / soil / pellet / cube into container
2a. if you have more than one seedling in the starter area, you can separate them out, good way is to submerge plant bowl of water and separate out roots carefully.
3. bury them stem in media up to the first set of leaves(cotys) for more stability.
4. water them asap
 
Examples:
https://lh5.googleus...0129_113741.jpg
https://lh3.googleus...0129_114502.jpg
https://lh4.googleus...0129_113941.jpg
http://driedhotpeppe...14_Grow_014.JPG
http://i.imgur.com/vhJ5MKdl.jpg
=========
 
=========
Adolescents
Past the hard part, now we just need to keep providing good conditions for our plants to keep growing!
If you're going to top / prune, its best to do it in the middle of this stage when they have around 4 - 6 sets of true leaves.
 
Process:
1. Lighting setup for 18 hours on, 6 hours off (question on lighting? see lighting section)
2a. Water every 2-3 days. Let the media get somewhat dry before watering again (soil / ground)
2b. Hydro/Aero do your spraying or water pumping.
4. start watering with 50% diluted fertilizer / nute solution every 4  or 5 waterings (approx 1-2 weeks)
3. When they are 12in tall / 6+ sets of nodes(places where leaves/branches come out) go to adults
 
Examples:
https://lh6.googleus...0225_201903.jpg
http://driedhotpeppe...14_Grow_021.JPG
http://imageshack.us...6/4266/kt5h.jpg
=========
 
=========
Transplanting:
Plants need more room to grow! we want the biggest plants with most peppers! This ones pretty easy, just increasing size. Make a hole and stick it in.
Grow Area: 3-100+ gallon container, the ground
Grow media: Soilmix, hydroton, the ground
 
Process:
1. remove whole root mass / plant from adolescent container
2. place the whole root mass/plant into grow area
3. bury them stem in media up to the first set of leaves(cotys) for more stability.
4. water them asap
 
Examples:
https://lh6.googleus...0407_131222.jpg
http://i26.photobuck...zpswvdx7uut.jpg
buckeye pepper planting
=========
 
=========
Adults:
Yay we should have peppers growin!
Grow Area: 3-100+ gallon container, the ground
Grow media: Soilmix, hydroton, the ground
 
Process:
1. Hopefully you are using the sun by now because the plants need LOTS of light!
2a. Water every 2-3 days. Let the media get somewhat dry before watering again (soil / ground)
2b. Hydro/Aero do your spraying or water pumping.
4. water fertilizer / nute solution every 4 or 5 waterings (approx 1-2 weeks)
5. Spray leaves/flowers with epsom salts every 2 weeks
6. visit diseases/deficiencies/pests section if you're having problems
 
Examples:
http://driedhotpeppe...13_grow_057.jpg
http://driedhotpeppe...row_Log_139.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/s9YLOwE.jpg?1
buckeye pepper field
=========


Edited by juanitos, 10 March 2016 - 01:45 PM.


#4 juanitos

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 12:01 PM

====Growing Methods====
 
==Traditional==
Plants go in the dirt and you water them periodically, this is how plants have grown for millions of years.. proven method lol.
 
Grow Area: Containers
Trays:
1020 trays (you put the starter tray / seedling pots in them)
Germination:
72 cell seed starter
Seedling:
solo cup,3 - 4 in nursery pot
Adolescent:
5 in nursery pot, 1 gallon pot
Mature:
3-100 gallon pots, Buckets, Plastic bagsFabric bags, totes, etc
commonly used size: 5 gallon
- Examples from THP users:
Spciy Chicken 98 cell starter & 3.5 in pots in 1020 trays
OKGrowin solo cups
Devv pellets, solo cups, random pots
HabaneroHead 3in pots on top of 1 gal pots
OkGrowin 5 gal bags
HIllBilly Jeff 1 gal pots
PaulG 7 gal fabric pots
PIC 1  1 gal pots... in his kitchen?
 
Grow Area: Raised beds
Raised beds are pretty much the same as containers but usually much larger and intended for multiple plants. They are usually  stationary.
-Spicy Chicken's raised beds
-dash2 raised beds

Grow Area: The ground
easy, just dig a hole!
 
Grow Media(containers/raisedbeds): Potting / Soilless mix
DIY
-5-1-1
Commercial Potting mixes
-Fox farm
-promix
-miracle grow
 
Grow Media(the ground): Amending Soil
compost (organic matter)
mulch (loosens soil)
gypsum (calcium / loosens clay)
garden lime (calcium / balances ph)
 
Nutrition Synthetic Fertilizers
These are usually diluted and fed at waterings
Dynagrow foliage pro 
General Hydroponics Flora
Miracle grow plant food
 
Nutrition Organic Fertilizers
These can be diluted and fed at waterings or mixed into the soil directly
Fish emulsion
liquid kelp
Bone meal
Blood meal
Earthworm castings
Bat guano
Manure
Compost
AA Compost tea
Ocean Solution
 
==Hydroponics==
Plants are grown with water and nutrients. They can be grown directly in the water / air(dwc,aero) or can use inert media (coco coir, clay pebbles, perlite)

 

video example
 

Deep Water Culture DWC:

Plants roots hang into water air stone bubble to give them air. Air pump runs constantly to give air bubbles.

 

Recirculating Deep Water Culture RDWC:

Many dwc buckets are connected together and water is recirculated between buckets and back to a reservior. This system is easier to manage many plants.

 

Aeroponics:

Plant roots hang in the air and are sprayed with water. Some use sprinklers to get larger particles of water. Others use foggers to get tiny particles(microns) of water.

 

Dutch Bucket:

Plant roots sit in inert media. water is pumped from reservoir into top of the bucket and drained from the bucket bottom and recirculated.  

 

Kratky:

plant roots sit in water. nothing else is done. known for being off grid.

Grow Area: Sealed container (5 gal buckets with lids, totes)
 
Grow Media: Water / air / inert media

 
Nutrition: Dyna Gro Foliage Pro, General Hydroponic flora series, Masterblend, Chem-gro

 


Edited by juanitos, 21 November 2015 - 02:02 PM.


#5 juanitos

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 03:15 PM

==Grow Lighting==
Pepper plants can be grown to full maturity under lighting or more commonly just started from seedlings in the winter under lights before they are moved outside.

 

read both the articles in general section before doing anything about lighting! they very informative no matter what light source you are looking at.

 
=Contents=

=General=
=Grow Lights=

=Lighting systems=
=Examples from Users on THP=
 
=General=
Photosynthetically active radiation (PAR)
As stated in the article plants don't use much of the yellow light spectrum. Which is the majority of visible light. In LEDs since we can provide specific wavelengths we can cut out all the yellow light and run more efficiently event though we are at less lumens. For this reason we don't use normal soft white / yellowish looking light that is commonly used to light your home.

 

Day Light Integral (DLI)

Day Light Integral is best way to measure how much light a plant needs. This graph shows how much sun places across the USA get. This is important information if you are trying to grow in a greenhouse in the winter as there is much less sun and you might need to supplement light.

 

=Grow Lights=

Color
Colors are usually measured in temperature or wavelength.

 

temperature

Since you read the above article about PAR you understand that soft / warm white aka around 3000k is not that great.

Daylight 5000k and cool white 6500k are the best because they have more blue than yellow.

 

wavelength

When leds first came out many people were experimenting with only providing certain wavelengths like blue and red since those are the most absorbed by photosynthesis. This works but after many grows over the years many growers are moving back to full spectrum growing. Plants evolved to grow under the sun (which is full spectrum) all bits of light are used somewhat and completely getting rid of some of the light was shown to be not as effective. So now people are moving to only full spectrum light, like white COB leds. Or they are building their lights with many different single wavelength leds. This is kinda annoying to manfacturer for diyers and companies so it's easier to just go back to full spectrum white.

Either way when selecting a light you need to match your lights to the PAR graph. you want to cover it and follow the curves.

 
Intensity
Lux is lumens per square meter used to measure light intensity.
Your lights state how many lumens they produce, then the distance, spread, reflective surfaces around them, and other factors affect how much actually lux you get.
 
Full Daylight is 10,000 -  25000 lux
Cloudy Daylight is 1000 lux

 

If you are using non white leds (aka blue, red, etc) then lux is really bad measurement. you need to measure micromoles per meter squared per second

 

In the grow tech forum users have been experimenting how much lux is actually needed to grow chiles. As some people grow them in shady balconies. Or in a window that gets minimal sun. As enthusiasts it's easy to say you want the best lighting so will provide as much as you can... but its questionable what is really necessary. Juanitos has been growing plant starts under ~2k lumens ok.
 
=Light Systems=

there are lots of lighting technologies that can be used for growing. Here are some of the most common we see on the forum.
 
T12 Florescent
t12 fixture 20$
t12 2 bulbs = 4$ 
t12 total 25$
t12 output 2300 lumen (per bulb)
t12 energy usage: 40w (per bulb)
t12 efficiency: 57 lm/watt
for 4x2x2 area: needed 2 fixtures

these are quite old technology and not very efficient, you should avoid them
 
T8 Florescent 
t8 fixture 20$ 
t8 2 bulbs = 4$
t8 total 25
t8 output: 2800 lumen (per bulb)
t8 energy usage: 32w
t8 efficiency: 87 lm/watt
for 4x2x2 area: needed 2 fixtures
 
T5 Florescent
t5 fixture 40$
t5 2 bulbs 20$
t5 total 60
t5 output: 5000 lumen (per bulb)
t5 energy usage 54w
t5 efficiency 92 lm/watt
for 4x2x2 area: needed 2 fixtures
 
Compact fluorescent
CFLs are the tube like lightbulbs you see them pushing as more efficient than incandescent. You can make a fixture out of these. As there are hundreds of different types of CFLs it's hard to post a good comparison. I will use 40w (150w incandescent equivalent) cfl bulbs for this comparison.
 
CFL "fixture" 12$
CFL 4 bulb 32$
CFL total 44
CFL output 2750 lumen
CFL energy usage 40w
CFL efficiency 68 lm/watt
for 4x2x2 area: need 1 "fixture"
 
HID
HID lights are used by many commercial operators for their great intensity, stability, and reliability. They are proven to grow all the way from seedlings to mature plants. There are a couple of common wattages 400w, 600w, and 1000w. They are pretty affordable with kits on ebay going for ~100$. One drawback of HID is because they are so powerful they cannot be located so close to plants. This means they are never used on shelves for compact starting of plants. They are better suited for open style grow rooms or greenhouses. HID offer the best light penetration on the market which is why they are best for using if you want fully mature plants producing peppers using solely their light.

 

600W HPS HID kit

ballast 80$

reflector 5$

bulb 10$

85k lumens

600w

150 lm/watt

coverage 3x3x4'

 
 
LED
leds are new to the market, many people DIY them because many retail setups cost too much.

LEDs can produce a single wavelength per diode. This means a light can be less lumens but offer more PAR.

LEDs usually produce in one single direction, this leads to less light pollution and means that lights are more efficient at throwing the energy down the the plants usually in 180 - 90 degree angle unlike CFL, Flouros, and HIDs which produce light all around 360 and so usually require reflectors to be used efficiently.

 

there are too many different specs / ratings on chips to consolidate into a decent list for LED. Generally they will be close to or more efficient than an HID light at 120lm/watt. 

 

=Lighting Examples=
 
t8 / t12 / t5
OkGrowin - t5 in shed
Noah yates - t8s on shelfs
Spicy Chicken t8s in shelf
 
CFL
Buckeye Pepper grow room

power strip cfl
 
LED
moshun's simple led setup
Blisters LED setup
mikkelbob's led setup
Sm1nts2escape LED Tent

juanitos led strips

n8thaniels DIY COB LED lights

 

HID

ignites CMH

pic1 MH

lock203 HPS


Edited by juanitos, 16 January 2016 - 01:48 PM.


#6 juanitos

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 10:59 AM

==Vendors==

Want to pick a good vendor? see reviews from thp users in the vendor vault

can't find them? do a search

 

=Don't order from=

bad seeds, bad customer service

ebay

amazon

bakerspeppers


Edited by juanitos, 26 August 2014 - 04:21 PM.


#7 juanitos

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 03:42 PM

You should specify the type of vendor imo...seeds, pods, plants

hmm i can't really decide how i should group them.

I think grouping by region is good because many vendors do an extra shipping charge international (or don't do international).

 

Also i don't really want to hit pepper products like powder, pods, etc just the products for growing peppers as this is the growing FAQ.



#8 JoynersHotPeppers

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 03:46 PM

hmm i can't really decide how i should group them.

I think grouping by region is good because many vendors do an extra shipping charge international (or don't do international).

 

Also i don't really want to hit pepper products like powder, pods, etc just the products for growing peppers as this is the growing FAQ.

I understand, my point was it needs to be something other than the word vendor. For me it makes others like myself not liked or preferred...just my 2 cents. I agree it should be about the grow so seeds and plants.


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#9 juanitos

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 04:20 PM

I understand, my point was it needs to be something other than the word vendor. For me it makes others like myself not liked or preferred...just my 2 cents. I agree it should be about the grow so seeds and plants.

you're right, and it will be way to hard to keep updated. i'm just going to provide the link to vendor vault and include the list of BAD vendors so they hopefully don't order from them.



#10 ohero

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 12:17 PM

Can you advice someone with cheap international shipping ? (Seeds)



#11 juanitos

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 12:24 PM

Can you advice someone with cheap international shipping ? (Seeds)

here's a couple in europe, 

 

2 euro shipping, free after 15 euro http://www.semillas....p_en/index.html

 

2.50 euro shipping : http://www.tasty-pep...gories/Shipping


Edited by juanitos, 07 November 2014 - 12:24 PM.


#12 Student of Spice

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Posted 17 March 2015 - 08:48 PM

Thank you very much for the information. I have a couple questions from it open to all.....

 

1) With the Epsom salt, what is the purpose of this?

2) For the possibility of trying to keep a few plants growing and producing during next winter, what type of indoor lighting/set up would be the most effective for productivity? What set up would you choose and why?


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#13 juanitos

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Posted 17 March 2015 - 09:26 PM

1) epsom salt( Magnesium sulfate ) provides magnesium and sulfur; magnesium is an essential element in the chlorophyll molecule, and sulfur is another important micronutrient. It should be mixed with water then either sprayed on the leaves or fed to the roots directly.

 

2) a hid light(hps, mh, cmh) and room that's at least 70 degrees F

hid lights are proven and effective. you can get a setup for a couple hundred dollars (ebay: apollo hps), they have a good light spread and canopy penetration for when your plants get big.

Led lights are newcomers and proven systems are more expensive. There are a lot of copy cats and bad leds.


Edited by juanitos, 21 November 2015 - 02:07 PM.


#14 nubster

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Posted 10 April 2015 - 02:24 PM

How long do you soak the seeds? If using H202...is that straight or diluted and if so, what's the ratio?



#15 juanitos

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Posted 10 April 2015 - 04:32 PM

How long do you soak the seeds? If using H202...is that straight or diluted and if so, what's the ratio?

1 hour - 24 hours up to you.

 

i don't use h202, but most is already diluted to 3%, i'd dilute it again to half strength so 1.5%



#16 suchen

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Posted 11 April 2015 - 04:20 PM

Thanks for this guide. Can you dive into different fertilizer schedules for seedlings, adolescents, and adults? Or perhaps talk about granular vs. liquid, and strong (e.g. 10-52-10) vs. weak (e.g. 3-5-2) fertilizers? Thanks!



#17 juanitos

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Posted 13 April 2015 - 02:32 PM

Thanks for this guide. Can you dive into different fertilizer schedules for seedlings, adolescents, and adults? Or perhaps talk about granular vs. liquid, and strong (e.g. 10-52-10) vs. weak (e.g. 3-5-2) fertilizers? Thanks!

hmm people haven't really detailed / experimented very well and reported on it.

Most people don't start fertilizing till after the first set of true leaves.

Then they do low strength ferts (25-50%) until plants are adolescents/mature where they ramp up to full strength(100-125%).

Since there are many types of fertilizers and forms we generally say to follow the instructions on the bottle.

 

People who do soilweb, soil building stuff don't even fertlize so theres that lol.

 

general fertilizer information(form,strength,composition,etc) is already out on the web but i guess i could link to a good guide.

 

 

 

:P

 

Nice! I know the work that goes in to a guide like this, GOO JOB!

Nice use of anchors (links) This is the sort of content that increases page rank and is well deserving of a STICKY!

 

 

If you want to make a "title bar" all I do is get a picture and adjust it to 800p wide and ink drop the THP background for a ghetto gradient.

 

 

 

Things I would add:

 

Under lighting... talk a little bit about color i.e.   6500k is the best, and 2700k is not needed "this is not weed" lol

 

Guru's 2012 glog is a must read for anyone who grows peppers. maybe add a link for that under a organic section.

 

thanks


Edited by juanitos, 14 January 2016 - 04:03 PM.


#18 suchen

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Posted 13 April 2015 - 05:23 PM

hmm people haven't really detailed / experimented very well and reported on it.

Most people don't start fertilizing till after the first set of true leaves.

Then they do low strength ferts (25-50%) until plants are adolescents/mature where they ramp up to full strength(100-125%).

Since there are many types of fertilizers and forms we generally say to follow the instructions on the bottle.

 

People who do soilweb, soil building stuff don't even fertlize so theres that lol.

 

general fertilizer information(form,strength,composition,etc) is already out on the web but i guess i could link to a good guide.

 

I appreciate you looking into it. I have been curious about strong vs. weak and granular vs. liquid for a few years. Hopefully next year I can systematically test these parameters.



#19 Anelson870

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Posted 21 November 2015 - 12:17 PM

Thank you so much for this guide! I am just starting out to grown indoor year round as I live in a condo and can't exactly plant outside. So much good info. I will be using this guide like crazy. lol



#20 Umbra

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Posted 07 January 2016 - 08:18 PM

I've been germinating seeds on a heat mat. Some of them have begun to sprout and I'm going to plant them in seedling cells. I know light is crucial for the next step, as is watering. I'm going to use the humidity dome over them early on (leaving it off for a few hours a day for air).

I'm unsure about the temperature, though. The germinating seeds are at a constant 80-85. Do I need to heat them after planting them in the soil, or would the 60-70 room temperature be enough?

Thanks for this overview, it's very helpful.




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