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Spots on pepper


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Old 05-22-2010, 05:24 PM
StrangGuy StrangGuy is offline
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Default Spots on pepper

Hi,
I would like to thank the members of this forum because I have gained valuable information from here. I am a first time hydro grower with a brand new home made unit. It is constructed of 4” PVC with 3” net cups and has sprayers that perform at 180 degrees on each side of every cup. I use LECA (Lightweight Expanded Clay Aggregate) as the support medium and 20 gallons of Liquid Earth as my nutrient solution. My PH is 6.5 and I do not have a PPM meter. The system is currently located outdoors around Atlanta, GA.
I germinated bell pepper plants from May 30th so they are about 3 weeks old. I used Perfect Start #2 which I thought to be great as all but one was germinated. I currently have 62 plants total and will only use the strongest 48 as they mature.
So, I have the system ready to transplant my plants into and here starts the problem. I didn’t use a separator in my seeding tray so almost all of them had roots growing together. So in pulling them apart it was like pulling open a treaded stitch at times. The roots still really looked good for the most part and the plant looked healthy at that moment so I added them all to the system on the evening of May 20th (two days ago). Yesterday they were all fell over but today they are all perky and standing up. We have received a few thunder storms as well on them.
One other thing that may be of importance is that my nutrient mixture has changed. I followed the mix instructions on the bottles to make one gallon of “Mild, for seedlings and cuttings” which was 1tsp Grow and 1tsp Vigor. I used that gallon up to the point I was ready to place into the hydro system. However, when I made my 20 gallon batch on Thursday, I followed the manufactures spec sheet for young peppers in which the 1 gallon equivalent would have been 0.4tsp Grow and 1.4tsp Vigor. So, that is a lot different.

If that is not enough background then please ask for more specifics. Please respond if you can assist with the answer to any of the following.

Question 1: In the attached pictures you can see that I have some spots on a few of my plants. 6 plants to be exact with is about 10% and the pictures are the worst 3. I don’t think that I have bugs so I am wondering could it be a consequence of tearing the roots or to I have some other problem?

Question 2: Can plants be too wet with nutrients? I have had the system on continuous since I started on Thursday night. I never kept the Perfect Starts that wet during the germination stage as they are like a sponge. I have a 15/15 timer. I think that a setting of 15 on and 45 off should be good to keep them nice and moist.

Question 3: Out of the 20 gallons of nutrients that I started with I am now down about what appears to be 3-5 gallons in just 2 days. Can I add 5 gallons of water and nutrient amount for 5 gallons?

Thanks,
StrangGuy



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Old 05-22-2010, 08:00 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Quote:
Question 1: In the attached pictures you can see that I have some spots on a few of my plants. 6 plants to be exact with is about 10% and the pictures are the worst 3. I donít think that I have bugs so I am wondering could it be a consequence of tearing the roots or to I have some other problem?
I doubt that tearing the roots has anything to do with the spots, plants can normal take that sort of thing without any problems. If you do tear too much they just normally look wilted until they can grow enough roots back to uptake enough water to support the plant.

Quote:
Question 2: Can plants be too wet with nutrients? I have had the system on continuous since I started on Thursday night. I never kept the Perfect Starts that wet during the germination stage as they are like a sponge. I have a 15/15 timer. I think that a setting of 15 on and 45 off should be good to keep them nice and moist.
If I understand correctly the system has been running for continuously for around 36 hours straight, I don't think this would cause the spots but will become a problem if you don't cut it back. You have a 15 min timer, I would start it at 30 on 30 off at first. As the plants get a little bigger, or maybe in about a week try 15 on 45 off, and if you see any signs of wilting step it back up. Of coarse a lot depends on your local weather, if it's cold and/or damp 15 on and 45 off may be fine to start with, just check for signs of wilting.

Quote:
Question 3: Out of the 20 gallons of nutrients that I started with I am now down about what appears to be 3-5 gallons in just 2 days. Can I add 5 gallons of water and nutrient amount for 5 gallons?
Here is where I think your problem starts, If I understand correctly you have 62 plants feeding on the one 20 gallon reservoir, I don't know how much solution is left in the system when it is shut off. But the plants will drink up the water, small plants not nearly as much as larger plants but you have quite a lot of plants that are using it. As the plants drink up the water they take up the nutrients also, but only what they need and leave the rest. Then as the water level in the reservoir drops, the leftover nutrients become concentrated. Then you go from 20 gallons down to 3.5 gallons, that's like putting 20 gallons of nutrients into 3.5 gallons of water, it becomes a highly concentrated nutrient solution.

First off you are going to need a MUCH larger reservoir. Another member had asked about what size reservoir they should use for 40 pepper plants about a week ago in this thread: http://www.hydroponicsonline.com/for...-question.html, I recommended at least a 400-500 gallon reservoir, as well as a fresh water replenishment system. You plan 8 more plants than that. Each plant will use between 1-2 gallons of water daily, 2 gallons when they become full grown maybe even more if it is real hot. Doing the math that is 2x48= at least 96 gallons of water that needs to be replaced daily. Fluctuation in the nutrient concentration wont do your plants well, and likely have many plant problems.

Even with a water replenishment system in place to keep the water level consent you can have fluctuations in nutrient concentration of the individual elements in it. As I mentioned before the plants will take what nutrients they need and leave the rest, the nutrients they take up will become depleted, and the ones they leave behind will become concentrated over time and become imbalanced. So the larger the reservoir the more buffer water you have to guard agents fluctuation and imbalances, and help provide a consistent nutrient solution.
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Old 05-23-2010, 12:33 AM
StrangGuy StrangGuy is offline
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Thanks GpsFrontier!
Iím sure that you are accurate with needing a larger reservoir and I plan to take this advice and increase the size. What I do find strange is that up to this point I was able to feed them for 3 weeks on less than a gallon of nutrient/water solution but once in hydro system they are requiring that much more so immediately. I also wander if evaporation is playing a big part here.
My follow up question is, what can I do at this point to make them happy/spot free prior to adding larger reservoir? Obviously I need to add water, but how do I know how much nutrients to add with that water? It states that my PPM should be 472 at this young vegetative stage. Should I next day a PPM meter and add nutrients until I reach this level?
Thanks again for your help!

StrangGuy
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Old 05-23-2010, 03:07 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Quote:
Iím sure that you are accurate with needing a larger reservoir and I plan to take this advice and increase the size. What I do find strange is that up to this point I was able to feed them for 3 weeks on less than a gallon of nutrient/water solution but once in hydro system they are requiring that much more so immediately. I also wander if evaporation is playing a big part here.
Evaporation (non plant transpiration evaporation) could defensively play a part. I don't know how ether system is really built, so I don't know where gaps in the system may be. Also I don't know how much they have grown sense you transplanted them. Also I don't really know from where you are measuring it. For instance, the growing medium will suck up (absorb) some, lets say each plants growing medium sucked up 1/4 cup, 1/4x62= 15.5 cups or about 1 gallon. A little here, a little there all adds up.

Also no mater how much you try to drain it all, some will be left in the system. With that many plants I can only gather it's not a small system, half a gallon left in 10 tubes, well that is five gallons. I assume you have checked for leaks. Once it's up and running and the system is topped off, I would check it every day at the same time. Then measure how much you need to add back daily, that should give you a good idea how much is being used, provided there is no leaks. I mark the inside of my reservoirs with a permanent marker so I know the exact level.

Quote:
what can I do at this point to make them happy/spot free prior to adding larger reservoir? Obviously I need to add water, but how do I know how much nutrients to add with that water? It states that my PPM should be 472 at this young vegetative stage. Should I next day a PPM meter and add nutrients until I reach this level?
I cant guarantee that they will be spot free by replenishing the water and/or any nutrients. But I would fix the water fluctuation problem first in order to eliminate it from the list of suspects. I don't even have a PPM/TDS or EC meter myself, but for that size setup I would probably recommend one. Though I don't see any need to overnight anything at all. These meters just tell you how concentrated the solution is, they cant tell you what nutrients are actually in it, and in what concentrations each of them are in, it's just the total amount, including what was in the water in the first place. Kind of like saying I have $14.87 in my pocket, that doesn't tell you how many 10's, 5's, 1's, quarters, dimes, nickels and penny's I have. They could be all penny's.

But they can tell you how fast the nutrients are being absorbed, assuming you are testing it at the same water level every time. You don't need a meter to let you know that the nutrient solution is concentrated when you have less than 25% of the water left in a couple of days. I would not add any nutrients back if it has only been a couple of days, just fresh water. And check pH every day after replenishing the used water. I wouldn't even bother with PPM/TDS or EC at this point, with such a small reservoir it's likely to change hourly with that many plants.

Even by adding more nutrients back to bring it back up to a particular level, the elements that were not used by the plants will become concentrated, and possibly cause nutrient lockout, especially in such a small reservoir. It's much simpler and easier to change the small reservoir much more frequently. Possibly twice a week. That's 40 gallons of nutrient solution a week, and replenish the water daily, as well as checking pH daily. I use pH drops, but I would suggest a pH meter for you first (needing to check it so often), then a PPM/TDS or EC meter.

P.S. I would love to see pictures of your setup. Also the plants don't use up the nutrients in proportion to the amount of water, they simply take what they need and leave the rest. I wouldn't add any more nutrients at this point, as mentioned I would just change the reservoir more frequently. Just so you know I'm not an expert, I'm just a guy that tries to help others from my experiences when I can.
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Old 05-23-2010, 03:33 AM
StrangGuy StrangGuy is offline
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Thanks! Some pictures per your request.





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Old 05-23-2010, 03:44 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Thanks for the pictures, it is a cool looking setup, but I do have a concern. I am unclear if this is a temporary system, or the final destination for the pepper plants. I am concerned because each plant (unless dwarf variety's) should get about 3-4 feet wide. The spacing looks to be only a few inches apart, that would be a huge problem unless it was just a starter setup for that many plants, and you intended to transplant them into another setup.
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Old 05-23-2010, 04:08 AM
StrangGuy StrangGuy is offline
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The system is designed for ultimately 96 lettuces under grow lamps in basement with 6Ē spacing during winter. With my peppers growing in the outdoors this summer at half that, 1 ft. spacing. Ultimately pepper spacing will be staggered once I have final strength 48 plants.
1 ft. spacing is fine for pepper plants as I have been growing in 1 ft. gardens for many years so I am experienced with size of such.
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Old 05-23-2010, 04:19 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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For Lettuce that spacing should be fine. I may not be familiar with the type of peppers you are growing if they don't get more than 1 foot wide, perhaps they wont get as tall either than I expected, So maybe they wont drink 96 gallons per day. I am used to bell peppers and hatch peppers myself, I have not grown hot peppers. How big do the peppers you grow get when full size?
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Old 05-23-2010, 07:54 AM
joe.jr317 joe.jr317 is offline
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Did you move them outside into direct sunlight and then get spots? I'm almost positive those spots are sunburn. Why spots? Moisture droplets. They work like little magnifying glasses. It's one of the most common results from not hardening plants off prior to transplant outdoors. It's also why it is highly recommended you do not water plants during sunny days in a soil garden. The drops will cause the plants to burn, especially if they have yet to form a good cuticle (tough, waxy, protective layer). Of course, that is always the case in young pepper plants. You may not have watered the leaves or gotten them wet. It could have easily been due to moisture from transpiration.

So, don't worry. Not a deficiency or a disease. It also won't go away. As soon as you have a few leaves without the spots to compensate, clip those damaged ones off.

I also practice intensive gardening in soil. Be aware that hydro plants will require twice as much room in half the time under good conditions. I made the mistake of thinking my hydro peppers would be the same size as my soil peppers. . . .once. I also gave them way too much nitrogen, though. I made the mistake of following the instructions on the bottle. Peppers don't need a high nutrient content.
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Old 05-23-2010, 10:09 AM
StrangGuy StrangGuy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GpsFrontier View Post
How big do the peppers you grow get when full size?
Hi GpsFrontier,
In good soil mix I can always expect them to be 18" tall and 10" dia.

Thanks,
StrangGuy
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Old 05-23-2010, 10:50 AM
StrangGuy StrangGuy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe.jr317 View Post
Did you move them outside into direct sunlight and then get spots? I'm almost positive those spots are sunburn.

I also practice intensive gardening in soil. Be aware that hydro plants will require twice as much room in half the time under good conditions.
Hi Joe,
Yes, I did. Also, I did have to dial back my pump some as the spray was shooting through the net cups. I'm sure that some of them got wet. Also, we have had two good rain storms which I'm sure got all of them wet. I hope that you are correct. I will give it a few days and see the results.
Thanks for the advice on size, I may have to cut the number of plants in half to give them room, as they mature I can make that call.

Thanks again,
StrangGuy
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Old 05-27-2010, 09:09 PM
StrangGuy StrangGuy is offline
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Thanks Joe, it looks like the spots were sunburn. I didn’t get anymore and after a week in the system, they look great. Good root growth, see image.

Thanks Gps, my auto top off float system just arrived today. I will be able to take my reservoir up to 52 Gal max and keep it there with fresh water. If this gets to a point where I can’t control the nutrient and pH swings then I will have to start shredding plants. But reality is if they are drinking 2 gal each per day then I will have no choice which is a shame.

Thanks,
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Old 05-29-2010, 12:27 AM
joe.jr317 joe.jr317 is offline
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That's good news! Please keep us posted on your system. I'm looking forward to seeing how well it works. I've been toying with a couple new system designs. . .
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Old 06-07-2010, 08:28 PM
StrangGuy StrangGuy is offline
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Hi All,
After about 2-1/2 weeks in the system, it looks like I have blooms starting to come out. I would think that, though they have had amazing growth, they are still a little small for blooms. See images below.

I have been using the Bell Pepper/Young mixture of nutrients per the manufacture. The next stage is Bell Pepper/Mature with Bloom. My question is, with only two stages, how do I know when to switch to the mature/bloom mixture in general?

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Old 06-08-2010, 01:59 AM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Quote:
My question is, with only two stages, how do I know when to switch to the mature/bloom mixture in general?
Well the thing is peppers are a continuously flowering plant (like tomatoes). Meaning that they flower throughout their life, so they don't have a stage where they go from foliage to blooming. There not to small for blooms, they should be blooming now, and from here on out. It's better to use a nutrient that is formulated for continuously flowering plants. continuously flowering plants need a sort of middle ground between the two formulas (vegetative and bloom) in order to do both well at the same time.
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Old 06-08-2010, 09:22 AM
joe.jr317 joe.jr317 is offline
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I use a weak bloom formula for peppers. Depending on the nutrient you use, you can use it for the life of the plant. Botanicare's Pure Blend Pro Bloom is perfect for peppers and can be used from seed to harvest. I wouldn't use aggressive fruiting blends, though. They usually lack too much nitrogen. I'm finding FloraMato to be really good for peppers, too. Something else to consider is that they like a low EC. I generally use 1/2 to 3/4 strength nutrient solution depending on the brand and stage of growth.

Sometimes you will get blooms early on and lose them. Especially if your nitrogen levels are too high. Don't worry if that happens. Just make sure to go with your bloom solution. That is the reason I stopped using "grow" solutions altogether on peppers.
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Old 06-08-2010, 08:23 PM
StrangGuy StrangGuy is offline
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Thanks for the replies. I will make the switch over to the Vigor/Bloom combination now, leaving out the Grow per the manufacture.
I am really curious on if I should pinch off these first few blooms. I have read a few good posts that talk about doing so, which seem to make sense. I have personally experienced (in soil) just letting the first few blooms grow and then tons of others fill up at the very tops of the plant where it is weak, just to end up falling off. While that first pepper or two is growing all other blooms just shed. Just curious if any of you have any feedback to the following posts or have tried anything like that to increase yield.

Veg & Fruit Cycle: Peppers - Hydroponics Forum - GardenWeb
In the crotch, or fork between your 2 stems, pinch off that flower. Likewise, going up each stem you pinch off the flower (if any) at the 1st node above the fork.
What you want is to stagger the first 2 peppers on each stem & allow the plant to definitively transition into a continuous (not flushes) fruiting cycle. The plant is made to "work" to replace the lost flowers & this helps condition that response. It is not a question of giving it more time for vegetative/root development to make a better plant; it is a tactical sacrifice that means more total productivity.
So, after pruning the 1st flower that develops above the fork, let the next higher flower grow & set fruit on the 2nd node of each of both main stems. Then, get rid of (prune) the flower at the 3rd node of each stem.

Hydroponic Gardening-Sweet Peppers
It is tempting to allow your sweet peppers to produce as much fruit as they will, but this can result in poor quality fruit and unhealthy plants. The first flower on each plant needs to be removed. This creates stronger fruit in successive blooms.
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Old 06-08-2010, 09:08 PM
GpsFrontier GpsFrontier is offline
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Although I can understand the reasoning about pinching off the first few flowers, I don't have any real knowledge as to if it is really beneficial in the long run. But I have found a few publications that may contain those (any many more) answers for you. Sorry about all the reading.

Bell pepper production in California
Production of Sweet Bell Peppers
Bell Peppers, University of Kentucky
Greenhouse-Grown Bell Pepper Production
Bell Pepper Production
Commercial Pepper Production Handbook

P.S. Commercial greenhouse producers usually use a variety that continues to grow like tomato plants, rather than a bush type that get to a certain size and stops growing. So I am not sure if the two types are comparable when it comes to plucking the first few flowers.
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Old 06-08-2010, 10:55 PM
StrangGuy StrangGuy is offline
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Thanks GPS,
I am still reading all the content in the post. Thanks for bringing all the links together. What I have found is that the following has a nice post with picture (not included here) that helps to put pruning into perspective, at least for me.

http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/opp4523

As the day/ night temperature difference is established one week after transplanting (while maintaining the 24-hour average temperature target of 20 - 21įC), the plants will be directed to set flowers, with the first flower developing at the "fork'. The flower developing at the fork should be removed, with the first flower set and resulting fruit set targeted for the second node above the fork. After this flower sets, the flower at the third node is removed and the fourth node is left to develop. The flowers that follow at the fifth node and upwards are allowed to set freely. If the flower at the second node aborts, allow the third node to set a flower, if this flower sets, remove the flower at the fourth node and then allowing all subsequent flowers to set.

Still reading and will coment more later. Thanks again, StrangGuy
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Old 06-09-2010, 01:04 AM
joe.jr317 joe.jr317 is offline
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Good resources to have. I think I'm becoming a pepper fanatic. I'm growing 3 different kinds right now, but am thinking about ordering some seeds of peppers I've never had. Unfortunately, when I planted some seeds earlier this year I completely forgot what variety I had just planted so I have called those my mystery peppers.

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