Sorry about the belated replies, must have missed the notifications! Pics to come.
Cool setup and seems like a good plan. I'd be interested to hear how it works for you. In my experience, getting adequate heat to the plants seems to be the big mover in keeping ripening at a decent pace. The water bottles or a heat mat might help with that specifically, as well as with overall plant happiness.
Every year I lose too many unripened peppers due to Seattle's shorter/cooler summers and have done various things to extend the season for a few plants,. This year I plan to use a couple larger (3m x 1.5m) hoop houses with water jugs to see if I can buy a few more weeks of ripening for a bunch of them. Hope the hoop houses work for us both!
It's working so far, currently in the middle of winter and while the plants aren't exactly thriving, they're definitely surviving. Pods are still quite slow to develop and ripen unfortunately, although I have picked a few. I wonder if ripening requires some constancy in temperature above a certain minimum, and perhaps this isn't been adequately achieved as my night temps fall quite low.
I'll be looking into it, but I suspect the relationship with temperature and ripening might be something like this:
1. Ideal: plant is always above the minimum temp (let's say 15*C / 59F) + average temp optimally high
2. Less ideal: always above minimum temp + average is lower
3. Slow: falls below minimum temp overnight + average temp is high during the day
4. Glacial: falls below minimum temp overnight + lower average temps
So I think I've moved up from 4 to 3. But this is all hypothetical... I'll read some papers and see what's actually going on.
I suspect moisture might also be another variable, though I'm trying to keep the soil relatively dry.
What are those hoops made of?
It's made from a stiff garden hose + bamboo cane. Really pleased with how it turned out. I wanted a taller hoop house without having to increase the diameter of the arch.
Basically the cane was inserted to make the sides straight and to provide some additional structural support.
very cool, how hot does it get in there on the 60 degree sunny days?
I imagine pretty hot...
I have an automatic vent opener on my small greenhouse - it slowly opens up the roof vent as it heats up inside.
Also, i picked up a cheap small solar panel off fleabay and have it wired directly to a few computer fans which blow air in at the corners from ground level. It only runs when it's sunny, but that's the only time it needs to run..
These 2 solutions combined lowered the temps at plant level by about 20 deg on hot sunny days.( space is 15'Lx4'Wx6'H give or take, with one long open side)
Yep it's gets pretty hot! Depends mostly on how cloudy it is too, but on a sunny 15*C (~60F) day, the soil surface temp gets above 28*C (82F).
That's a nifty idea. One of my concerns it having warm stagnant wet air, so I might implement that to see if I can get some circulation.