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OZZZ 2022

Hey everyone.

Recently we moved to Arizona and this is my first time trying to grow outdoors here so we will see how it goes. We got here last year in June and for experimental purposes I planted a cayenne, scotch bonnet and a morouga scorpion that overwintered naturally outdoors and are still going now, although they don’t look the best. I planted them late last year so the SB and the morouga didn’t produce anything at all, but the cayenne was productive. Now the SB from last year is loaded, while the morouga produced only a single pepper so far.

In January or February I started a bunch of others, another MOA, a fatalli, yellow 7 pot, Caribbean Red, and a red 7 pot.

I have them all in white ceramic pots and I tapped into my landscaping irrigation line and ran drip emitters to each pot. I’m hoping I have the water needs dialed in. Obviously it gets hot as hell here but yet I don’t want to overwater them either. Our tap water is very high PPM too… it’s about 1.0 EC straight from the tap, but the PH is 6.5 at least.

I think each pot is around 7-10 gallons in volume, and I have 2 - 1/2 GPH emitters in each pot running for 30 minutes every morning. I don’t have a ton of flexibility in this aspect because the landscaping is in the same line…. So if I need to adjust the water needs to each pot I need to swap out the emitters to a higher or lower flow rate but I am locked into a 30 minute run time every morning. So far they are doing ok but lately we are peaking 100 degrees and they are getting beat down by the afternoon sun, so I have ordered a 50% shade cloth and am waiting for the hardware to arrive to get it installed …. that should offer some relief.

From Back to front we have 7 pot yellow, Caribbean Red, MOA SB, 7 pot Red and in front a Fatalli. These were all planted this year around Jan/Feb:


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The yellow 7 pot is producing pretty well, I probably have around 20 pods on it so far and more appearing by the day:

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The second MOA SB is starting to push pods also, she seems like she just woke up and is just getting started:

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The Caribbean red is loading up also, while the 7 pot red and the fatalli are not pushing pods yet. They seem much slower either that or they just aren’t as happy.

Here’s the plants that are still alive from last year. First up the cayenne…. The foliage doesn’t look great but she has loaded herself up again with new peppers:

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….. and the MOA SB from last year…. Her foliage also doesn’t look the best but she is loaded up pretty well. Maybe 20-30 pods

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…. And the morouga scorpion that isn’t doing much other than the one ripe pepper I got off of it already.


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How about some Calcium supplements for those
cayennes. Since they are getting soft at the tips,
perhaps it's comparable to BER. Maybe something
like liquid Cal-Mag along with side dressing some
bone meal into the soil might help.


That’s a great idea! Appreciate the thoughts.

The only thing I could see being conflicting is that our tap water is extremely hard. Nearly 500 PPM right out of the gate, so I would assume there’s plenty of minerals in it BUT…. You know what they say about *ASSuming* 😂😂😂

I’ll scratch in some high calcium amendments I’ve been thinking she looks a little hungry anyway.

I throw down some crab shell meal, seabird guano and kelp …. All of which I have sitting in the garage for good measure and see how she’s doing in a month. It takes awhile for those types of amendments to break down … at least a few weeks.

Thanks again guys! 🤘🤘
 

PaulG

Extreme Member
Those amendments sound great.
Can’t hurt in any case, right? I hope
they work for you.
 
Alright well I am now getting a ton of what appears to be BER on all my peppers.


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I am confident there’s enough calcium in the soil between our very hard (450-500PPM) water and the lime and other ammendments I put into my soil, so I think it’s either an overwatering issue as I have been increasing the amount of water they have been getting slowly due to the heat….. OR a PH lockout issue. When we first moved into our house a year ago the PH of my tap water was 8.4.

The last several months when I installed the irrigation system it was and has been at 6.5

Now this week I’m noticing it’s back up to 7.2-7.4. So it appears the municipal system isn’t consistent for whatever the reason and I’m suspecting mild lockout….. as mentioned either from over watering or maybe from salt buildup in the soil or simply a PH problem.

Either way I’m not sure my plan here of being hooked up on a daily irrigation system with no way to adjust the water is going to work.

All the plants themselves seem ok …. Foliage looks good it’s just all the peppers are rotting as they ripen. I am all ears if anyone has anything to add

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…… and here are my new starts that will be going in the autopots. I am seriously considering selling off the ceramic white pots filled with soil….. ripping out the irrigation line I just installed …. And starting all over with 100% autopots outdoors.

With the autopots all overwatering considerations are avoided completely and because they are fed from the reservoir PH and nutrient EC levels will always be adjusted properly. Furthermore it gives me an opportunity to experiment with feeding regimens.

For example during our hot summers I don’t expect to get much fruit set so I could see switching to a higher nitrogen fertilizer which would cause huge growth rates (and also flower drop)…. Then as we move into fall and temps start dropping into acceptable ranges for pods to set I can switch to a more balanced NPK solution or an all out bloom solution.

Might be a way to grow some monster plants which would be fun!

Not much to look at yet just tiny little guys and they are struggling a little bit but they will take off soon as they get their feet dug out into that coco coir and get more established

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I am having the same problem... I mentioned this in an earlier response. I have a dozen or so Big Yellow Mamas that have been sitting 3 weeks and won't ripen. The picture I posted on May 28th in my GLOG of my MA purples... they still look just like that picture. I have YET to get a jalapeno to turn red. I'm loading up with pods and nothing is ripening. I know my plants are getting calcium and so on... I always add cal/mag when I feed. My humble opinion, and I will probably get folks saying I'm wrong, is that the plants think the season is still winding up and not winding down. They don't sense that they need to concentrate on ripening, just growing and producing flowers/pods. Last year, once it got into about mid July, peppers started ripening just right. No sooner than my japs started checking, they would start turning red. Hang in there, my friend... keep on keeping on if the plants look healthy.
 
I am having the same problem... I mentioned this in an earlier response. I have a dozen or so Big Yellow Mamas that have been sitting 3 weeks and won't ripen. The picture I posted on May 28th in my GLOG of my MA purples... they still look just like that picture. I have YET to get a jalapeno to turn red. I'm loading up with pods and nothing is ripening. I know my plants are getting calcium and so on... I always add cal/mag when I feed. My humble opinion, and I will probably get folks saying I'm wrong, is that the plants think the season is still winding up and not winding down. They don't sense that they need to concentrate on ripening, just growing and producing flowers/pods. Last year, once it got into about mid July, peppers started ripening just right. No sooner than my japs started checking, they would start turning red. Hang in there, my friend... keep on keeping on if the plants look healthy.


Thanks man! My plants are actually ripening the peppers…. They are just rotting at the same time hahaha

I’m pretty certain I’m going to switch over full time the autopots. My cannabis grows went from good to perfection once I did… and I’m sure the same will happen with the peppers. The control over PH and nutrients cannot be matched with soil grows and due to the porous nature of the medium overwatering shouldn’t be an issue at all ONCE they get established.

I want 7’ tall ghosts and fataliis over here 😂😂😂


🤘🤘🤘
 
Alright so I setup a 6.6 gallon autopot outdoors with a lowes purchased Bonnie’s “Carolina reaper” (we will see) simply for experimental purposes.

I have white pots coming and a white reservoir which will help keep temps down but I want to see how this works out.

Idea being …. #1 this is just an experiment and I don’t care if the plant dies #2 if it does GREAT then I know it’ll only be better with the white pots and white res

Should know one way or another in 1-2 weeks. Coco and hydro nutes work FAST

For those that like specifics, there is a 2” layer of pure perilite in the bottom of the pot, the medium itself is coco coir and perilite mixed around 70/30 ratio. I’m using straight tap water at 1.0 EC alone, with 1 tsp per gallon maxi grow, 2 ml per gallon silica, and 2 tsp per gallon PH down.

All mixed up the Nutrient solution is 2.0 EC at 5.6 PH and it is a high nitrogen formula at 10-5-14 which i know isn’t ideal for peppers but there’s also two reasons I want to do it this way. #1 I want to grow this plant big to around 5-6’ before having it start setting pods, a high nitrogen fertilizer prevents or minimizes fruit set. #2 it’s hot as balls here in AZ right now so it’s not going to set fruit anyway until it cools off in the spring.

So I’m going to keep it on high nitrogen fertilizer to grow it huge and prevent fruit set through July and August, then at the end of August I’ll switch to a more balanced solution at the same time as our temps start dropping in September…. to allow for large fruit sets.

I have a good feeling about this but we will see 😂😂😂🤘🤘🤘

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Paint the outside of your black pots and reservoirs with this silver paint. I get mine at Walmart. I have 150 containers painted with this, the oldest has about 5 years on it.
Silver, Rust-Oleum American Accents 2X Ultra Cover Metallic Spray Paint, 11 oz
https://www.walmart.com/ip/223482480

Thanks for the suggestion!!

I have white pots and white reservoirs being shipped as we speak, so no need for painting anything …. at least for now.

The white reservoirs are pretty nifty too “Flexitank Pro”

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….. and the white 6.6 gallon pots


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….. for now though this test plant gets to deal with a black pot and a black res. It’s all under the shade cloth at least. She looks pretty happy so far. I’m betting she explodes once she gets her roots down to the bottom of that pot. Time will tell 🤙


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Everyone is doing “OK”, still
More trial and error needed. I’ve picking peppers here and there. Had a hornworm/caterpillar issue but sprayed with BT and seems to have stalled or stopped it. Bastards just about took out a tomato plant of mine.

Also many of the peppers have that BER issue but I think I’ve pinpointed it down to overwatering and I believe I’ve corrected it, I’ve swapped out the emitters for lower flow ones and it seems to have slowed the BER…. Or even eliminated it I just can’t be sure of which just yet

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Here’s a MOA scotch bonnet doing ok, about 40% of the peppers have BER but there are new peppers that seem solid after reducing water.

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Here’s the 7 pot “yellow” which clearly isn’t, this one is the worst in terms of BER but as I said I think I’m getting things narrowed down now.

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Caribbean red

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….. and the store bought reaper / autopot test. I’m still zeroing in on PH. My tap water is extremely resistant to being PH “downed” lol. Every morning for the last 4-5 days in a row I’ve had to readjust PH down to 5.5 and the next morning it’s back up to 6.0-6.3 range. This morning is the FIRST day it stayed stable so seems I’ve hit the equilibrium. Will need to tinker around with my solution and come up with a better/higher starting dosage of PH down. Testing still in progress. Growth tips are a little pale indicating slight lockout from the PH fluctuations but that should correct itself rapidly now that PH is stable.

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….. a few of the plants are starting to shoot out new vegetative growth. Likely the fish bone meal and kelp top dressing I did a few weeks back is starting to break down and become available. New lush green foliage everywhere on this cayenne and another scotch Bonnet. Looking good, also no BER on this scotch bonnet, it seems to have its water needs balanced.

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Hmmmm….. I’m not sure this autopot thing is going to work outdoors in the summer during our desert heat. I moved the reservoir up against the house to keep it out of the sun as much as possible and water temperatures are still hitting 104 degrees. I can’t imagine that’s going to work. Not only that but I’m having serious pH swings that I don’t seem to have indoors. However indoors I obviously have stable temps and I’m using RO water as my base water, whereas here I’m using tap water and have wild temperature fluctuations. As you can see I’ve got a little bit of lockout starting due to this also:

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Now the white reservoirs and the white pots might keep things cooler…. But I’m starting to suspect all I’m doing here is trying to paddle up stream.

I’m seriously considering going back to the basics. Ripping EVERYTHING out and starting fresh with raised beds.

I have a ton of organic ammendments in the garage so I’m thinking I’ll build 2 - 20’x4’ raised beds and get rid of the containers altogether. I would probably rake back the landscape rock, dig a trench down into the native soil around 12” deep breaking up the hard clay and removing rock as best as possible, then mix in a 5 gallon bucket of alfalfa pellets into each trench, add some mushroom compost, coffee grounds, eggshells etc etc…..wet it down thoroughly, cover it with wetted cardboard then build the raised beds *ON TOP* of the ammended trench. Something along those lines. I’ve also had good luck breaking out the fishing pole and going down to a local lake and catch a few junk fish …. Bury them whole in the bottom of the trench…. Then build the raised beds on top of that. By the time the plants get their roots dug that far out of the raised bed everything has had time to decompose and compost properly.

The ancillary idea being to attract as many worms as possible and get them to setup shop here and start working over the ground.

Can’t help but to think this would work out a lot better with the existing landscape irrigation system …. than the terra-cotta pots I’m using now due to watering issues….. OR the autopots due to reservoir temp issues. Really it solves both problems

Sometimes the simple answer is the right one. Put the plants in the dirt 😂😂😂🤦‍♂️

🤷‍♂️
 
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PaulG

Extreme Member
Sounds like quite a project. Good luck with that.
 
Sounds like quite a project. Good luck with that.

Thanks Paul…. I knew there would be some trial and error over here trying to figure out my preferred technique once I got started

Desert climate, rocking ground, hard water, hot temps….. but the upside is no freeze so peppers become annuals
 
Alright busy day! The sun started setting on me so I’ll need to finish this raised bed tomorrow but here’s how it went down.

Firstly I ended up buying 36 - 16” landscape blocks.

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Then I set the plants aside and raked back all the landscaping rock to expose the ground.

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….. then I lined up the border block and made 2 full passes turning over the hard, compact and rocky soil with a shovel. Also I pulled up the irrigation line. It doesn’t look it but I was able to get down about 12-15” so I was fairly Happy with that.

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….. next I covered the area with alfalfa pellets, azomite, greensand, crab shell meal and kelp. I made yet another full pass over the area turning it all into the native soil.

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After that, I covered the area with 5 bags of mushroom compost, then made ANOTHER full pass churning the compost into the native soil. The tilth and texture were starting to improve considerably.

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…. Finally….. I shimmied up the border blocks and added around 100 gallons of recycled potting soil from my previous cannabis grows. Some of it was re-ammended some of it wasn’t. Then I aaplied some dolomite lime, oyster shell flour and gypsum as well as a little more crab shell meal, kelp meal and added a few pounds of fish bone meal.

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Tomorrow I will go back to lowes and pickup another 18 border blocks to make the bed higher / deeper. Also I’ll add about another 200 gallons of raised bed soil, around 6 cu ft of some regular miracle grow potting soil, about 3.8 cu ft of Promix hp and another 2 bags of mushroom compost. Will turn it all in water it heavily with fish emulsion and let her rip!
 

Downriver

Extreme Member
What's that green stuff in the first pic? carpet? :D

I hate it when you guys post pictures that make me sweat when I look at 'em. THAT was a lot of work. Looks great. Good luck with your new grow!
 
What's that green stuff in the first pic? carpet? :D

I hate it when you guys post pictures that make me sweat when I look at 'em. THAT was a lot of work. Looks great. Good luck with your new grow!


It’s artificial turf, here in AZ it’s far preferred to normal grass.

Yeah I’m pretty sore now that’s for sure. I’ll be finishing it up today. I need to level out the border blocks some and then fill the bed up, I haven’t decided if I’m going to build it higher by adding another layer of block around the perimeter. I’m thinking I should though, that would make the bed 18” high from ground level then a foot or so down into the native soil so around a 30” deep bed.

More work to do today on it but I do believe it will fix the issues I was having with the containers being watered with the irrigation.

Any excess water should simply leach down into that native soil and be leached away.

Im still not sure what I should do about the droppers though. The timer is set at 30 minutes once in the morning…. So I’m trying to decide whether I should go for 1/2 gph droppers or 1 gph. I’ll have an emitter about every 18” - 24” or so
 
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PaulG

Extreme Member
Beautiful raised bed, Ozzz! You are
going to have a big, green hedge
along that wall in no time!

I use 2 GPH drippers in my 15-20 gallon
containers, and 1 GPH in the 10-gallon. I
have also used micro sprinklers in the big
tubs. I run my timers at 5-6 minutes in normal
weather up to 80˚, above that 5-6 min. twice
a day. In your raised bed the 30-minute timer
is probably a good idea.

Have fun transplanting your peppers!
 
Beautiful raised bed, Ozzz! You are
going to have a big, green hedge
along that wall in no time!

I use 2 GPH drippers in my 15-20 gallon
containers, and 1 GPH in the 10-gallon. I
have also used micro sprinklers in the big
tubs. I run my timers at 5-6 minutes in normal
weather up to 80˚, above that 5-6 min. twice
a day. In your raised bed the 30-minute timer
is probably a good idea.

Have fun transplanting your peppers!


@PaulG …. This is great information and really helps. Do you think 1 gph drippers placed every 18” along that bed…. Running for 30 minutes once a day will be sufficient? The above ground potting soil level is about 12” and the Ammended native soil extends about 12” below ground… of course below that is just the native compacted Arizona dirt.

I suppose I could add another 10 minute interval around 3pm in the afternoon. I’m sure all the plants will appreciate that.

Keep in mind I simply tapped off of our main landscaping irrigation line. So whatever I set the timer too all the plants on our entire property will have the same schedule. The citrus trees, palm trees, hibiscus bushes etc etc.

That’s the reason for the long run times. The trees obviously have much higher flow rate drippers and more of them for a deep watering.

My point being I can’t really Taylor a custom time schedule for the garden without it also affecting all the trees and plants along the property.

Right now it runs at 5:30 am for 30 minutes, once a day so I need to adjust the emitters for raised bed accordingly.

I was thinking 1 gph drippers ran for that length of time once a day should be sufficient as it can drain into the native soil but I’m not sure either. Maybe it could be too much and 1/2 gph drippers would be better?
 
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