As some of you may know, a few months back I started on my hydroponic journey. It did not go so well, as nothing has this year. I had two seedlings and they were growing quite nicely. I fell ill with the flu, I had a bad fever and was very sick for a week. In that time the seedlings died due to lack of care. I blame myself for this, I could have dragged myself to the grow room and watered them, but the truth be known I forgot all about them. That was my first try and my first failure with hydroponics.
I decided to give it another go and took a red hot chili pepper plant and put it in my DWC (Deep Water Culture) system. It has been there for a few months now and it is doing amazingly well. For all the trouble I have had in the garden this year, the hydroponic experiment has been a welcome relief. I held off on posting about it because I wanted to be sure the plant took. I took better than I could have hoped.
I have to say that using the hydroponic system has been so much easier than I thought it would be. I don’t have to worry about watering, pests, and the lights are on an automatic timer, this system does it all, and the rate of growth on this plant is amazing. In a few short weeks it grew like there was no tomorrow. All I have to do is change the water and nutrients every week and a half or so and I am set. I did run into one problem however. I used lava rock as the growing medium, and as you probably already know, lava rocks are very light. This is great when you need to lift the plant out of the system to change out the water. As the plant grew however, the lava rocks did not have enough heft to support the plant. I would come home to find the plant on its side. I would lift it up and re-position the rocks so it would remain upright. Eventually not even rearranging the lava rocks worked. I decided to go to my local nursery and get some good old cracked marble rocks. They had some weight, actually a lot of weight to them. I removed about a quarter of the lava rocks from the basket and replaced them with the marble rocks. This worked like a charm. Yes the basket is heaver but not so much so that it makes changing out the water any more or less difficult.
I am very happy to say this way of growing peppers, or any plant for that matter, is a breeze. If you have not tried hydroponics and you like to have a small indoor garden I would suggest you give it a try. It is not as difficult as it might seem. This is going so well that I may just make another system capable of growing 6 to 8 plants, but lets not get ahead of ourselves.