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Turbo's 2nd Chilli Season in North Queensland - Hydroponic Build

Hi Folks,
I am based in Townsville North Queensland Australia (a hot tropical area) and have started my second growing season.  This year I will mainly be growing my plants in hydroponics.  I made many mistakes in my first year and have learnt alot along the way.   I have been watching alot of youtube videos on hydroponics, in particular MHPGardner, hoping my build will turn out pretty good.
This is a link to our local chilli group, "Chilli Growers of Queensland".  Please feel free to join us, we are open to anyone from any location:

This is a link to my Onedrive Gallery, shows you progress photos of all plants from this season: (also includes 1st season in 2015)

Here is a list of Strains I am growing:

Here is a list of the key things I have observed so far: (my views only, not to be taken as gospel!)
  • I have had best germination rates when growing seeds in rockwool cubes (soaked with a 1/4 strength nutrient solution , ph around 6.0), placed on a heat mat, inside a grow dome, maintained at 28-32 degrees C.  I use a timer to control the heat on/off in the target temperature zone
  • I have had poor germination rates in jiffy cubes , soil and potting mix
  • Seedlings appear to love being planted in a mix of coir/perlite + sand.  (60/20/20)
  • Established plants to be grown hydroponically appear to grow fine in 100% perlite.
  • Planting out established plants in the ground here (clay soil) killed the plants during the wet season, as the plant appear to hate getting wet feet / big downpours of rain on them
  • My potted plants in 2015 did not like the soil mix I used.   I believe it was due to being too dense / too wet.
  • The harsh summer sun here kills the plants if they are left in many hours of sunlight., no matter how much water is applied.  Shade cloth or filtered sun is necessary.
  • The insects here appear to like eat the c. annums more than the c.chinese  (aphids and whitefly)
  • Our local birds pick at my pods when they start turning from green to red/orange, and destroyed about 60-70% of my pods in 2015.  I thus have to use netting/a shade cloth house to protect the crop
  • I appear to be getting less disease in hydroponic plants compared with plants grown in soil
  • Plants do not need very much sun here, 2 hours a day seems to be getting good results.
  • I am not convinced plants can grow here in summer at all, and appear to grow best in winter.  (our winter temps are about 10 degrees C low to 28 degrees C high ) (summer 25C Low to 35degrees C high)
  • Pyrethreum has been successful at killing white fly and aphids on my plants
  • Plants , including seedlings, like to be staked.  I use wooden skewers on seedlings.
  • Controlling the quantity of plants you grow (to focus on quality) is better than high quantity with low quality
  • Local facebooks groups seem a great way to source/swap seeds
  • Overwatering plants seems to be an easy thing to do
  • I find the more chilli I eat, the more immune I get to it, so one's tolerance doesnt appear static.
  • Dogs, Cats and children can interfere with your crop.  Wives can stop you spending money on plant and equipment .  All should be avoided/minimised where able.
  • Shade cloth is actually relatively heavy.  I use tensioned wire running between posts that have been concreted in the ground.  Then I zip tie the cloth to it.  If you just hang it with rope it will blow around like a kite.
  • A dedicated coffee grinder to make powders/flakes (after pods have been dehydrated) appears to have been a good investment
This is a list of resources I have found useful:
Here is my introduction video which outlines the test pot I built (a habanero) and the seedlings I have got in rockwool cubes / in coco coir+sand+perlite:
Here is a timeline pic of Test Pot:
A quick update on the hydroponic test hab.    It has about 40-50 flowers on it now, so hopefully it's going to produce that many pods!
hi guys, a few more pics of a couple of my better plants:
AJI Lemon:

Queen Laurie:

Carolina Reaper:

Red Habanero: