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My First Grow Log - PNW Space Peppers

[SIZE=11pt]It's 2020 and the growing season is coming. I've currently got one obsession: Space Chilies. Chinese Hangjiao #1-10, growing them, eating them, maybe selling them. This will be not only my first outdoor pepper grow, but my first soil-less media pepper grow as well.[/SIZE]
 
[SIZE=11pt]Read more about Chinese Space Peppers [/SIZE][SIZE=11pt]https://chilli-seedz.com/space-chilli-peppers/[/SIZE]
 
[SIZE=11pt]Here's the plan:[/SIZE]
 
[SIZE=11pt]Supplies:[/SIZE]
[SIZE=11pt]10 x 2.5 Gallon nursery pots with saucers[/SIZE]
[SIZE=11pt]2 x 5 Kg (11 lb) block Hydro Crunch Coco Coir[/SIZE]
[SIZE=11pt]11 cu ft Vigoro Perlite[/SIZE]
[SIZE=11pt]Masterblend Tomato 4-18-38[/SIZE]
[SIZE=11pt]Calcium Nitrate 15.5-0-0[/SIZE]
[SIZE=11pt]Epsom salt[/SIZE]
dLYVSF3.jpg

[SIZE=11pt]Grow Space:[/SIZE]
[SIZE=11pt]Clackamas County, Oregon. USDA zone 8b.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=11pt]I'll be starting the seeds indoors, I'm thinking I can get them outside early, because they will be in containers and I have space to bring them in if it gets too cold. The major factor I have to deal with is I will be moving before the plants reach maturity. This is both good and bad because my current balcony is not great for growing. It faces South-ish but is partially obscured by trees and is pretty small.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=11pt]The balcony is 6 ft x 4 ft exactly. 10 x 2.5 gallon pots with saucers fit it almost perfectly, which means it won't really be manageable with 10 grown plants on it. Especially the HJ peppers as they seem to grow pretty large. I have another balcony I can move plants to, but it doesn't receive as much sun.[/SIZE]
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[SIZE=11pt]Plants:[/SIZE]
[SIZE=11pt]So far I have seeds in the mail for:[/SIZE]
[SIZE=11pt]HJ#1 - The unfortunately named Corona - spicesontheweb.co.uk[/SIZE]
[SIZE=11pt]HJ#3 Solar Flare - thehippyseedcompany.com & vertiloom.com[/SIZE]
[SIZE=11pt]HJ#4 Comet’s Tail - thehippyseedcompany.com [/SIZE]
[SIZE=11pt]HJ#5 Helix Nebula - spicesontheweb.co.uk[/SIZE]
[SIZE=11pt]HJ#6 Pulsar - thehippyseedcompany.com[/SIZE]
[SIZE=11pt]HJ#7 Super Nova - spicesontheweb.co.uk & vertiloom.com[/SIZE]
[SIZE=11pt]HJ#8 Total Eclipse - thehippyseedcompany.com [/SIZE]
[SIZE=11pt]HJ#9 Big Bang - vertiloom.com[/SIZE]
[SIZE=11pt]HJ#10 After Glow - spicesontheweb.co.uk[/SIZE]

[SIZE=11pt]I had to double order from Vertiloom because of their minimums. I also have some Numex Big Jim and Count Dracula Peppers coming in, but I’m going to try and grow those in soil outdoors after we move. I’ll germinate them late, after all the space peppers have blasted off. I cannot find number 2 Meteor to save my life, there is a post up here about it, and I have visited almost every pepper community I can find. I think I'll be able to find it before it's too late, as I still have some time. I've even been emailing the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture, trying to source them directly. [/SIZE]

[SIZE=11pt]There isn’t much information about growing the space peppers, but I have found the industrial agricultural documents regarding their growth. [/SIZE]
[SIZE=11pt]http://www.space-breeding.cn/[/SIZE][SIZE=11pt] (should be auto-translated)[/SIZE]

[SIZE=11pt]The Chinese government grew 600k hectares of these crops in order to find the desirable traits for mass production, so they must know what they are doing. [/SIZE]

[SIZE=11pt]The space chilies are Capsicum annuum so they shouldn’t go outside until much later. They can live happily in my greenhouse tent before going outside, as it is currently housing a Purple UFO x Datil Pepper crossbreeding experiment. [/SIZE]

[SIZE=11pt]Germinating:[/SIZE]
[SIZE=11pt]I’m going to use General Hydroponics Rapid Rooter plugs and a 36 square tray with a humidity dome to germinate. My tiny indoor greenhouse stays between 76-80 and has ~ 200 watts of LED lights. It is currently housing all of my early season vegetables, and it is monitored so as soon as they sprout I’ll pull the dome off. I have a CFL in the socket directly above them so they get a bit more warmth, the floor of the tent can get down to 70.[/SIZE]
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[SIZE=11pt]Transplanting:[/SIZE]
[SIZE=11pt]I’m hoping to go straight from the nursery tray to their final destination pots. But the weather here in Oregon is tricky and I’m probably starting this way too early.[/SIZE]

[SIZE=11pt]I re-hydrated a single brick of coco coir a few days ago, and it has been mixed 60/40 with perlite. It’s currently drying out. I’m not going to sieve it, mostly because I didn’t have anything to sift that much media, and now it’s already mixed with perlite. One brick of 5 KG / 11 lbs was enough to fill a 40 gallon tub, it is incredible how much coco expands. I'm going to use this first batch for my early season vegetables, but I'm planning to mix up the batch for the space peppers the same way.[/SIZE]
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[SIZE=11pt]I scored some very nice pots and saucers for cheap. They are essentially just injection molded or heavier plastic nursery pots. They have large openings in the bottom and a large saucer for underneath. [/SIZE]
[SIZE=11pt]https://www.lowes.com/pd/10-25-in-W-x-8-8-in-H-Black-Plastic-Classic-Planter/999979052[/SIZE]
[SIZE=11pt]https://www.lowes.com/pd/Garden-Treasures-12-24-in-Black-Plastic-Plant-Saucer/1000607783[/SIZE]

[SIZE=11pt]I don’t think the saucer will be enough to catch a large amount of runoff. I’m not super crazy about raining nutrient water down on my neighbor’s patio and into the groundwater, so I’m going to have to figure out a sustainable hand watering system. For my indoor plants I just set them in or above a 5 gallon bucket and water them through, maybe I can do something similar for this grow. There’s no power on the patio, but when we move I will definitely consider converting to a drip system, or even turning the pots into bato / dutch buckets. [/SIZE]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVnS6VUKo8o
 
[SIZE=11pt]Feeding / Care:[/SIZE]
[SIZE=11pt]I really hope I don’t have to water more than 1x per day, it’s not very hot here in Oregon. I have no idea if using Masterblend 3 part with coco is even a good idea, I am just going to try it. Alternatively I have the Fox Farms trio if things go badly, and I can always just purchase some soilless medium compatible nutrients. I don’t really want to purchase dry amendments, as I’d like to be able to use my nutrients for water based hydroponics as well, but I will if it is necessary. [/SIZE]
 
[SIZE=11pt]I'm planning on doing a 2-2-1 mix of Fert-Cal-Epsom the entire time, otherwise known as the MHPGardener method[/SIZE]
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYv9iu2NI3M
 
[SIZE=11pt]Everyone everywhere says coco is naturally salty, and retains salts. Otherwise I would switch to 2-2-2 once the plants leave the seedling stage. I'll hand water in the nutrients every day. I love gardening and already have a fairly rigorous care schedule for all of my household plants and projects, so I don't mind the extra work. [/SIZE]
 
[SIZE=11pt]If anyone made it this far thanks for reading, should be a little gap now as we wait for warmer weather. I will update as the seeds arrive which shouldn’t be too long. When they sprout we can start monitoring their progress again. If anyone knows where to get HJ#2 Meteor Seeds please let me know. Also, please let me know where I can improve and where I've gone wrong. Thanks![/SIZE]
 

PaulG

Extreme Member
Hey, SG. Sounds like you have thought this through
pretty thoroughly. I have seen growers have good
success with the Rapid Rooters, but I haven't used
them myself. Same for the coir, so I will be interested
to see how it works for you.
 
The 2.5 gallon pots should serve your purpose well.
Small enough to move around as needed. Last season,
I grew 10 plants in 3-gallon pots, and had great success
with them. I'm expanding to 20 3-gallon containers this season,
along with my normal 10 to 20 gallon containers.
 
Good luck getting underway when your seeds arrive here.
The Space Chili thing sounds very interesting. Thanks for
posting those links. I have had good luck with THSC seeds
in the past, so I'm sure you will do well with them. Not
familiar with spicesontheweb or vertiloom.
 
Update 1 of many:
 
Today I received my order from spicesontheweb.co.uk, and I couldn't be happier. It was here in 8 days from the time I clicked order, all the way from the U.K! Amazing! They included a package of Naga Bhut Jolokia Pods as well, which made the package pretty hefty. I received the seeds and placed them in their Rapid Rooter plugs and into their starting tray. Excited to give them company soon.
 
An update to the elusive #2 meteor: I believe I have found it, and can stop searching, I was starting to lose hope, but a fellow user here says they have them! Great news!
4Zn3tmd.jpg
 

PaulG

Extreme Member
Good to see it getting underway, SG! 
 
Looking forward to lots of interesting fun
as we follow your grow this season!
 
Small update:
Received my Vertiloom order yesterday. I placed my order on January 27th, so it was only 12 days until I had the seeds in hand, all the way from Belgium. That puts the status at:
 
  • HJ1 Corona  :eek: Germinating - (no hooks yet)
  • HJ2 Meteor: 99% sure it is on the way
  • HJ3 Solar Flare: Received
  • HJ4 Comet's Tail: Ordered: the hippy seed company - In the mail
  • HJ5 Helix: Germinating - (no hooks yet)
  • HJ6 Pulsar: Ordered: the hippy seed company - in the mail
  • HJ7 Super Nova: Germinating - (no hooks yet)
  • HJ8 Total Eclipse: Ordered: the hippy seed company - in the mail
  • HJ9 Big Bang: Received.
  • HJ10 After Glow: Germinating - (no hooks yet)
I am out of Rapid Rooter plugs (I may have an addiction), so they're on the Amazon train for tomorrow. I will put them in their own plastic nursery tray and they can join their brothers in the domed seed germination tray.
In order to get to the minimum on Vertiloom I ordered some Numex Big Jim and ordered backups of #5 and #7. I'm going to germinate all of them just to increase my success rate. I'm also bored so I'm going to put a couple of each cultivar in the old paper towel and ziplock. I know this method is  horrible but I'm worried that they might have very poor germination rates and I don't want the rapid rooter plugs to be the culprit. 
 
vhqiaWx.jpg
 
Update 3: 
First hook! #7 won the race.
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I ordered and put in a heating mat and had 3 different seeds sprout the next day, the other two were Brazilian Starfish which had been sitting for so long I had forgotten about them. I think the heating mat really works.
 
Order received from The Hippy Seed Company as well, I ordered on Jan 24, which puts them at 20 days from the time I ordered to seeds in hand, all the way from Australia!
Only the elusive #2 Meteor remains, I still have hope. 
ZxJUobn.jpg

 
All 9 are now germinating away.
 

PaulG

Extreme Member
Alright, good to see some seedlings making
an appearance. Which ones are those?
 
PaulG said:
Alright, good to see some seedlings making
an appearance. Which ones are those?
gzEqlKs.jpg

I have 1,3,5,7,9,10 all going strong! There are backups on the left of a few, I intend to grow a backup of each for the first few months.
 
I've been testing General Hydroponic's 1-part Maxigro, I'm pretty sure I'm going to use it instead of MHP Gardener Masterblend.
 
The only worry and sad news I have is the purple UFO instantly wilted after a nutrient change. I gave the same batch of nutrients to all of my plants and they are all fine, it was only 400 ppm (I always feed them lightly, this batch was VERY light) and 5.8 pH.
 
It was the second time I'd given the PUFO Maxigro. After I took it out for it's weekly H202 root bath, I came back to it pretty much dead. If anyone has anything I can do to help please let me know. I immediately put it in straight water, and have since added a super tiny amount of nutrients.
 
it still has white roots, and a little green on it, but I'm pretty sure it's done.
 
kyiSZpg.jpg
 

PaulG

Extreme Member
smallergrowing said:
it still has white roots, and a little green on it, but I'm pretty sure it's done.
Not to worry, the new growth coming out
at the leaf nodes looks pretty good. Just cut
off the wilted leaves, and keep an eye on the 
plant. Pick off any dried out leaf growth as
you go along. Should be a bushy specimen!
 

PaulG

Extreme Member
Great news, SG! It will be fun watching
your Space  Chili grow develop this
season. Be sure to save seeds for swapping
or seed train in the Fall!
 
What about numbers four, six and eight?
 
PaulG said:
What about numbers four, six and eight?
They haven't popped yet. I started them on 2/13 so I'll give them a little bit longer before starting a new batch.
 
A few of them are developing the beginning of true leaves, I'm going to start feeding them with the weakest "tea" I can make probably next week.
 
S0NMQrq.png

 
I use Fox Farms Big Bloom Organic at 1/4 strength (3/4 tsp per 2L, works out to about 35 drops)
then cut it in half for the first feeding and work up to "full" 1/4 strength. I think 1/4 strength works out to about 200 ppm and 6.0 pH.
 
I'll water it in by hand from the top for the first few feedings, then start using the auto water tray setup.
 
I don't really like this stuff for much else, the organic matter stains the roots and the containers. The first time I used it I almost had a heart attack thinking all of my roots were dying. It isn't that hard to clean off of the roots or containers, but it still creates quite a bit more work. It would most definitely stain in an outdoor kratky or set-it-and-forget-it type setup. It also has quite a bit of sediment in it, which clogs up tubes and sprayers.
 
It works well for the purpose I use it for, I'm always so scared to burn seedlings that I start them with this before moving to the more hefty hydroponic nutrients.
 
Thanks for reading, I'll update when they are all popped up and we have a house full of pretty ladies. :cool: 
 
Well there's always one straggler.
#6 did not germinate in any of the 3 rapid rooter cubes. I have 3 more started as of yesterday.
 
The other ones are looking awesome. #4 is the youngest.
GbvrQ0c.jpg

 
I have been feeding them every other day with the tea mix. I'm still at 1/8th strength, I will bump it up to 1/4 when the 2 latest ones develop their true leaves.
 
So I was looking for some bigger pots for them and realized that everything I buy has to be times 10, which adds up fast. So their new homes are pretty budget but effective. I've always called them "accelerator pots," but I don't know if there's a better name. Two cups, one with holes, and a rock or bottle cap spacing them apart.
3YAWGN2.jpg

 
Ends up looking like this. Stable enough to withstand a nosy cat, but not exactly the prettiest.
I made ten of them and will move the peppers into them next week.
 
g87LLjq.jpg

 
I am going to use the General Hydroponics Maxigro and Maxibloom, 1 part is just so easy, and so far the pH balance is working. Even though a couple plants have died while on it, the rest of the results are amazing. I don't really suspect the nutrients for the ones that have died. For instance my golden wax beans' reservoir ran dry, and they have never really recovered.
 
I charged up some coco coir for them using the Maxigro. 60/40 perlite blend mixed with 1 mL Botanicare Cal-Mag per gallon, and about 100 PPM nutrient solution. I've never pre-charged coir before so I'm taking it easy. Most of the knowledge I can find is from the cannabis forums, and those boys feed their plants so much. I guess they can take it, and I'm assuming these genetic monsters from space can too. Especially after reading some of the translated Chinese care instructions; they don't exactly do organic over there. I currently have my other seedlings in it, and they have all been very happy.
 
So not too much excitement, I'll post a small update when I get a full house (c'mon number 6 :pray:). I will put them in their glamorous solo cup homes next week, and then they will start hardening off for a couple weeks (this might be more like 8 weeks if we get a cold snap :whistle:). 
 
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