Alec
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Why Hydroponic Habaneros Growing Slower than in Soil?

Hey everyone! This is my first crop grown hydroponically and I was hoping to get some advice from those with some experience.

I'm growing habeñeros and I think they look pretty healthy, however it has taken them about 5 months to get to that size and they're just starting to flower. So it seems to me that their grow rate is a fair bit worse than if they were out in a garden.

I'm using a drip system with clay aggregate and a 5 gallon reservoir which runs for 15 minutes every hour. They have a 16 hour photoperiod (which was recently reduced to 12 to induce flowering) under a CFL advertised as having a daylight spectrum along with indirect sun light from a nearby window. My pH is kept just below 6. Air and water temperatures are appropriate. I'm using the correct botanicare nutrient solution depending on the phase they are in and changing the water every 4 weeks.

So, does anyone see anything that I'm doing wrong or could change so that my plants grow at a better rate?

There are a few things I'm concerned about, but not really sure if they matter. The roots extend down into the reservoir and form clumps. I'm using city water and not very sure of the chemical content. My plants are very close together. The grow bed is rather small. And the botanicare solution has a tendency to form sediment which then clogs my pump. Thanks in advance for all your help!
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rj5300
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Re: Please Help Me Improve My System

How often are you replacing the entire nutrient water?

How hard is your water? Do you know the EC of it to get PPM?

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Please Help Me Improve My System

I know NOTHING about hydro. But looking at your picture, your plants look a bit lanky with a lot of internodal space. That suggests to me not enough light intensity. Your lamp looks kind of high above them. It might help if you could just get the light right down close to the plants and/or add more lighting.
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Alec
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Re: Please Help Me Improve My System

I change the water every 4 weeks. I don't have an ec meter to find the ppm. I agree that they probably aren't getting enough light. If I lower the light the top leaves suffer heat stress. What's the best lighting system I can use without needing a ballast? Because as I understand it ballasts are 1-2 hundred dollars.
Thanks!

rj5300
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Re: Please Help Me Improve My System

How many watt is the CFL? Is it just a home-depot 20w CFL that said daylight on it?

Alec
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Re: Please Help Me Improve My System

Haha basically. It might even be 15. It's what was recommended to me by a fellow hydro gardener, but I don't know that he really knew what he was talking about.

rj5300
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Re: Please Help Me Improve My System

Yeah that isnt going to work. Especially how far away it is.

You can see the plant reaching for the window light.

Alec
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Re: Please Help Me Improve My System

Is there an effective lighting system I can use without needing a ballast? Or should I buy a few more CFLs? Or are ballasts not as expensive as I think they are? I'm new to all this

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Please Help Me Improve My System

" If I lower the light the top leaves suffer heat stress. "

I don't really understand this. I don't do hydro, but I do start tons of plants from seed every year, indoors under the lights. They are ordinary fluorescent tubes in shop light fixtures. I keep them just a couple inches above the plants, on for 16 hrs a day. (I am not trying to get anything to fruit, just grow seedlings out.) I raise the lights as the plants grow. But sometimes they get ahead of me and I have had plants grow right in to the light fixture without suffering any damage that I could tell. Fluorescent lights give off very little heat.
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Alec
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Re: Please Help Me Improve My System

That's what I always thought about CFLs. I was surprised when I noticed how hot this one became after it had ran for a few hours.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Please Help Me Improve My System

It should not be giving off so much heat. I think your problem is the kind of light you are using and the position it is in. Those light bulbs are designed to be used in a base down or a sideways/horizontal position. Heat rises. In the position it is in the heat accumulates around the base, which is where the electronics are.


https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index ... 114AAZpOSZ

I would switch to fluorescent tubes, which are cheap. Alternatively you could get one more like you have and mount them horizontally, shining light on your plants from two sides. There are clip on fixtures for mounting bulbs.
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Alec
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Re: Why Hydroponic Habaneros Growing Slower than in Soil?

I see. That makes a lot of sense. I'll change the position, which should also increase the a,out of leaves receiving light, and see how they do.
Thank you so much for your help!

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Why Hydroponic Habaneros Growing Slower than in Soil?

YVW... But really you will need two, unless you can move your plants right next to the window (what direction does the window face) and then put the horizontal light on the opposite side from the window.
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Deus
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Re: Why Hydroponic Habaneros Growing Slower than in Soil?

Florescent lights are good for greens but when you want fruit you should switch to something in the red spectrum. Florescents are in the blue.

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PunkRotten
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Re: Why Hydroponic Habaneros Growing Slower than in Soil?

I think you want something like a T5 fixture with good wattage and closer to the plant. Also PH below 6 seems kind of low to me. Anyway, I do think your lighting is what is the problem.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Why Hydroponic Habaneros Growing Slower than in Soil?

This was a conversation going on last sept, so Alec presumably either solved his problem or the plants died a long time ago. Would be nice if he came back to let us know what the result was, but that rarely happens around here.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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