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Double Cup Question

This is my first time starting peppers using the double cup method and the results have been better than I would have ever expected.  The peppers I planted five weeks ago already have significant root structure in the bottom cup and are being exclusively feed from the bottom (first two rows in the picture below except for the small reaper in the front row). The plants look very healthy and are consuming a large splash of water in the bottom cup both morning and night to complete dryness in the bottom cup ~12 hours later.
Two questions:
  1. Should I be giving them this much diluted hydro mix or should it be more or less?
  2. I am going away for five days for Thanksgiving.  Should I be worried about the roots in the bottom cup dying during my absence? If so, how can I prevent this from happening?
Thanks in advance for any knowledge you can send my way.
(The plants in the back two rows are 3.5 weeks old)


  • Peppers.jpg
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Pretty sure you want to use water because of salt buildup with the hydro nutes. I completely burned and stunted plants I started in double cup a few years back.

Not sure what to tell you on the 5 days away you dont want to drown them with too much water.
I've used hydro nutes with mine, and haven't had problems. They will need some kind of food at some point. You could put a little slow release in the cups, but hydro is easier to control. Just build it up gradually if they're not used to it. Occasionally flush them out with water to remove salt deposits. If you use styrofoam cups, the rim will give you an automatic 1 inch offset. You can put a piece of Pvc or something in there if needed if you want more distance. A slight improvement over the standard double cup is to use a wick. You cut a few slices around the bottom of the plant cup for drainage and cut a hole or two for the wick. For it, any type of material that'll wick will work. I just buy the big packs of cheap microfiber cloths and cut strips off those. I use coco fiber, as it's a good inert medium, and drains easily, and the wick will pull up what it needs. Just maintain the nutrient/water level a little below the bottom of the cup. This way the plant can use what it needs.
Once the plants get bigger, they will drink more. With the wicks, you could place the plant cups in something bigger, several together if needed, and drink from a larger reservoir. An example setup would be drilling a bunch of 3" holes in the lid of a tote, and fill the tote with nutes. Stick your cups in the holes. This would help if you're going to be gone for a while.
Your plants look great by the way.