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greenhouse Growing jalapeno chillis semi hydroponically in my greenhouse - home made grow boxes - Wellington NZ

I thought people might be interested in seeing how I grow chillis, I'm not sure how many people grow this way. In the end I get effective growth and minimal maintenance.
 
I found the idea of an Earthbox, but they weren't available in New Zealand, so I made my own. I use a soil / compost mix, but as my chillis are a few years old I feed them hydroponic nutrients - Power Bud and Power Grow from Easy Grow here in New Zealand. I get a lot of pests, so I use Maverik (a pyrethroid) and sometimes a stronger one, along with a few others I don't recall right now but could check.
 
I had a greenhouse built that's made with double layer plastic, so it's pretty warm - too warm even to grow broccoli, potatoes or similar in winter, so I mostly grow chillis and tomatoes. I can grow chillis and tomatoes through to the middle of winter, at much reduced growing rates, which is pretty unusual here in Wellington. In winter the nights are 0 to 6 celcius (freezing point to a bit warmer) and the days maybe 12 celcius or so.
 
I don't know how many chilli's I grow, but my best guess is maybe 15 - 20kg of ripe red jalapenos over the summer, out of eight jalapeno plants. If I picked while green I'd probably get more.
 
Feel free to ask questions. I may not have answers as I mostly just put seeds in soil in the boxes, then throw in some hydroponic nutrients are recommended rates, and see what happens, but I'll answer what I can.
 
This post shows how I make the grow boxes. Parts:
  • A 100L PVC container (black is best as it keeps the light out, which prevents bugs growing in the water)
  • Some drain pipe (10-12cm diameter)
  • Some plastic that's double layer with ribs (just because that's what I found)
  • Some zip ties
  • Duct tape
  • A bit of mesh (optional I think)
  • Thin black PVC (keeps the moisture in the containeR)
 
General steps:
  • I measure up the container and cut the plastic sheet to size
  • I cut holes in the plastic sheet, and cut the drain pipe to the right size
  • I drill holes in the plastic pipe and plastic sheet
  • I tie the drain pipe to the plastic sheet using zip ties
  • I put the plastic sheet with attached drain pipe in and fix it in with duct tape
  • I put the mesh in to reduce the soil that falls into the water, held in with staples from a stable gun
  • I cut the container lid so it holds the PVC in place.
  • I pile in a mixture of soil, compost, peat moss, and sometimes some fertilizer
  • Put the PVC on top, cut holes for the plants
  • Plant seeds / seedlings
 
 

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This post shows the finished grow boxes along with a photo of my greenhouse and a closeup of the jalapenos growing. You can see the water in the bottom, the soil in top, and the plants starting. 
 

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solid7 said:
Nice plants. If you have to make more of those, and want less work, check this out:
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http://albopepper.com/30-gallon-tote.php
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It's my favorite way to do SIP.
 
That's interesting, and definitely easier. The way I did it I came across and tried out and works well. I like that it has a 40L water reservoir, in summer I still need to fill with water every few days. 10L I'd have to fill every day - I'd rather spend more time making the container and less time filling it. They last years :)
 
timnz said:
That's interesting, and definitely easier. The way I did it I came across and tried out and works well. I like that it has a 40L water reservoir, in summer I still need to fill with water every few days. 10L I'd have to fill every day - I'd rather spend more time making the container and less time filling it. They last years :)
I started out much the same way you did. So I definitely know how much work goes into making those things.
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I love that you can use them in a greenhouse. Greenhouses don't work where I live. :(
 
solid7 said:
I started out much the same way you did. So I definitely know how much work goes into making those things.
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I love that you can use them in a greenhouse. Greenhouses don't work where I live. :(
 
Takes me a few hours to make a couple of growing boxes, but they last years. I might not need to make any more. When I refresh them I redo the tape and put in new soil.
 
It's to keep the wind off them mostly, but the extra warmth probably helps too.
 
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