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hydroponic How to start your own hydroponic pepper grow

Hi all,
 
I have browsed these forums for quite a long time and used the information that I have gathered to start my first hydroponic grow.
 
I contemplated putting this in the GLog section, but I don't plan on making the focus of this thread about how my plants are progressing.  I want to give something back and help share what I have experienced as a first time hydroponic grower with any other that may be interested.
 
I want to assist and answer questions of those interested in trying it, and share information and success with other new growers...  And hopefully learn a few things from the more experienced hydroponic growers that may pop in as well.
 
This is a full term indoor grow that will consume 5'x3' and 300w of electricity per month.
 
What it cost me:
I spent 160 dollars on two 150 HPS light fixtures.  I bought them from amazon.com.  here's the link: here
 
I contemplated for a long time with sticking with CFLs,  I've grown some good looking plants under CFLs, never anything to full term as I was a novice and was unable to handle a spider mite infestation.  Take a look at this CFL grown juvenile, they can turn out great: http://i61.tinypic.com/2vnf3i1.jpg 
 
In the end, I decided for the HPS lights as I would have to spend just as much money per month to power enough CFLs, and just as much money up front to buy enough CFLs, to equal the light output.  The point of this rant is to say that CFLs, IMHO, are adequate if thats what you have.
 
The MH vs HPS debate is also everywhere else on any grow forum and not an intended topic of discussion for this post.
~180 dollars
 
 
I bought two 18 gallon tubs for ~4 bucks a pop at wally world, these are the main reservoir.  Net pots are readily available on the internet or at a hydroponic store.  Drill your holes and pop in your pots and you are set.  I bought two 60-gallon aquarium pumps and 4 stones from walmart to aerate the water.
~36 dollars
 
 
The clay balls are called hydroton.  It is an inert material and is what supports the plant itself as the roots grow into the water.  Also easily available from many sources and other options are available as well.
~10 dollars
 
I built a large wooden stand around my plants. 5'x3' and 7' tall and set it up in my spare bedroom.  I lined it with mylar space blankets from walmart for a few bucks.  Pics below.
~30 dollars
 
 
For nutrients I use General Hydroponics 3 part system found here: http://www.amazon.com/General-Hydroponics-Flora-Series-FloraBloom/dp/B0024NDVRA
I used 1/3rd of 1 cup of each of the three bottles in that system in each of my two bins.  Results so far are below.
You CAN grow organically in a hydroponic system.
~36 dollars
 
And you need a systems to control your pH.  You could use anything you like.  I've seen some people use lemon juice, but General Hydroponics offers an easy solution for that as well. http://www.amazon.com/General-Hydroponics-pH-Up-Down/dp/B005LWS5Q8
~15 dollars
 
Here's what I have so far:
From this point on I will let the pictures speak for themselves.
 
My stand:
126dwl3.jpg

 
 
24fi6pk.jpg

 
 
Heres what I saw in the first two weeks:
 
Day zero: 3/29/2014:
 
 
ifq2x0.jpg

 
 
Day 12: 4/10/2014:
 
28sya0m.jpg

 
The results are amazing!
 
I will discuss what I am growing specifically, and answer all questions as they come in!
 
Happy Growing!

*The bin on the left had the two basils in the first pic that are now in the middle.  The bin on the right had four cayennes, two of which were replaced by thais... the two original cayennes are the two larger plants in the middle
 
The Plants shown:
Left bin:
Top left: Trinidad Scorpion Butch T
Top middle: Sweet basil (to be replaced with Carolina Reaper at set of first true leave)
Top right: Yellow Bhut
Bottom left: Chocolate Hab
Bottom middle: Sweet basil
Bottom right: Bhut
 
Right Bin:
Top and Bottom left: Thai
Top and Bottom Middle: Cayenne
Top right: Pequin
Bottom right: Tabasco
 
You should add to the costs a ph meter (or just the test "kit"). A ppm meter would also come in handy later on...
 
What are you doing about the temps? I'm thinking that enclosure with the 300W lights plus the ballasts can get pretty hot.
 
Also, as one last observation, I think the space is small if you plan on leaving all the plants in. It should be good for 2, maybe 4 plants max.
 
Thanks for the advice!

The pH control kit I linked actually comes with the test solution as well. I will make a note to ensure that it does.

The way I am controlling temps right now is a reverse lighting schedule. Lights are off during the heat of the day and on during the night.

I agree that I am pushing it with space. I am hoping that the smaller bushier cultivars will pair well with the taller ones to allow me to make it work.

Some of the plants may end up outside in containers... But one of my main goals was to truly see how much I could push into the smallest space.
 
casweet8 said:
Some of the plants may end up outside in containers... But one of my main goals was to truly see how much I could push into the smallest space.
 
Don't be surprised if you only see limited success with putting them in pots. After they are pretty large and have a crap ton of water roots, they will struggle in soil. I didn't have any plants die, but 50% of the ones that went in soil really struggled and really didn't produce. The others transitioned fine.
 
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