Nothing's better than watching your hard work yield something that you can eat! Spending summers in the garden cultivating fruits and veggies that will nourish our bodies is a way of life for many people
For others, it's become a passion for heat! For those who grow hot peppers, the seed to pepper life can be a thrill! The fact is, we consume almost 8lbs of chili peppers each year, and that number is on the rise.
So if you're going to eat them and you're going to grow them, why not do it like an expert? We're going to walk you through how to use grow boxes to grow delicious spicy hot peppers like a pro.
Let's get started!
The Grow Box
First of all, before we dive right in, let's understand what a grow box is and why you should consider using one for your peppers.
A grow box is a self-contained unit that's used for growing plants and vegetables. They come in a variety of sizes made with various materials like mylar.
Grow boxes are used inside in most cases but they could also be used outdoors in order to control the environment and shield the plants from outside variables.
There are many benefits to using a grow box. Here is a list of things to consider:
● Extended growth cycle
● Protection from pests
● Inclement weather protection
● No outside environmental hazards
These factors are all reasons to use a grow box to optimize your plant growth.
Grow boxes have their own climates. You can manipulate your lighting system within the box to mimic natural sunlight.
You'll be able to extend the amount of light that your peppers get which in turn can help your peppers have a larger yield.
When you grow your peppers in this controlled environment you're more likely to have a more perfected end result.
Some people might just plop seeds into the dirt and hope for the best...not you! You're growing these peppers like a pro so first things first, we are going to tell you how to germinate your pepper seeds.
Step 1- Soak the seeds in a mix of peroxide and water. This solution will help to kill any bacteria that could be on the seed.
Step 2- Place your seeds on a damp paper towel neatly in a row and fold the towel.
Step 3- Insert the folded paper towel into a plastic zip bag. Do not squeeze the air out. The air gives oxygen to the seeds and creates an environment that encourages the seeds to sprout.
Step 4- Monitor the amount of water in the bag. If for any reason the paper towel begins to look dry open the bag and lightly mist water over the towel.
Step 5- Be patient! Pepper seeds can take a few weeks to germinate in some cases.
Step 6- When you notice a small white root begin to come out of the seed that means it is germinated and it is time to put it into the.
Step 7- Place the seed about a quarter-inch deep into the soil in a small starter tray with the roots pointing down. Cover with dirt and add a small amount of water.
These steps will help to ensure that your seed sprouts properly so that you can start strong with your pepper grow. When you've transplanted your seedlings to their starter soil it is important to remember that they are still very fragile.
Keep any grow lights 7-12 inches away from them. This will ensure that their young leaves do not get burned. Never cover the seedlings with plastic. Covering with plastic creates too much moisture for the pepper plant and can cause mold.
Last but not least remember to make sure that your seedlings are receiving between 14 and 16 hours of light a day.
When growing hot peppers every element counts. Using the wrong soil could cause issues with aeration and could lead to mold on the roots of your pepper plant.
Generally, it's a good idea to stay away from clay soils and they do not aerate well. Using a higher-priced premium soil can help take the guesswork out of which soil to choose.
You should be looking for a light and fluffy soil that lends to aeration of the roots. These soils also help to prevent the plants from being overwatered.
Pre fertilized soil is a good option for inhibiting the growth of bacteria. Your soil should maintain a pH of 5.9-6.9 as peppers prefer slightly acidic conditions.
If you choose to make your own soil a good mix is 1/3 sand (peppers thrive with sand as it aids in drainage), 1/3 soil, 1/3 manure which is full of natural fertilizers. This blend will help with nutrition and drainage.
Transplanting Your Peppers
Once your pepper seedlings reach a height between 8 and 12 inches it's time to transplant them into the pot they will finish growing in.
When transplanting into a container you will want to use something that can at least hold 5 gallons. This will ensure that the roots have plenty of room to spread out and grow.
If you're using a container large enough to house multiple pepper plants make sure that the seedlings are spaced out at least 2-3' apart. This will ensure that as they grow they have ample room.
Peppers can go through the nutrient calcium fairly quickly especially during the beginning of their growth. Consider adding some fertilizer with calcium to supplement this loss.
Bone meal or lime are both natural options to help replenish the loss of calcium.
With many nightshades like tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers, you should use a support system after transplanting.
These cages help to guide the plants as they grow. When the peppers begin to flower and then produce the pepper fruit they can become quite heavy. The support from the cage will ensure that your pepper plants stay growing tall and strong without toppling over.
Growing Your Peppers
You've germinated the seeds and successfully transplanted them to their forever home. Now the fun part starts! Watching them mature and flower and then produce the spicy pepper you've been waiting for.
There are some factors that can inhibit the growth of your peppers though. One main factor is nutrient deficiency.
As stated before calcium is used up fairly quickly by pepper plants but that's not the only nutrient that goes quickly.
Phosphorus is also a vital nutrient that needs to be supplemented during the growth cycle to ensure healthy peppers.
Your plant will only yield peppers if it's healthy enough to do so. Along with nutrient deficiencies, you can also have too much of a nutrient.
Nitrogen is a great food for peppers in the sense that it helps them to grow strong healthy leave. That being said, too much nitrogen and your plants will not be able to produce actual peppers.
Many pre-mixed soils are fertilized with nitrogen already. That nitrogen-rich soil mix plus added fertilizer can be overkill for your pepper plants. Always read the ingredients of any fertilizer or soil you use very thoroughly.
Using an organic composting material is a good option for nutrition for your plants. Keep in mind that while pepper plants do thrive in warmer conditions, temperatures over 100 degrees may cause issues to the pepper plant.
Freezing or near-freezing temperatures will slow the growth of your pepper plant and could kill it. Using a grow box is an excellent way to control the temperature and climate for the pepper plant.
When watering your plants be mindful of how much you are giving them. Too much water can lead to rotting roots and even mold.
In most cases, you should see your plants producing peppers between 90-150 days.
Grow Hot Peppers With Ease
Understanding the basic needs of the plant will help you to have a successful growth. Using a grow box when you grow hot peppers is beneficial to you. When you do not have to focus on things like nutrients, pests, adequate sunlight, and environmental hazards you have more time to dedicate to your pepper plants.
If you do not have a green thumb it's okay! The guidelines that we've provided are the perfect tool for learning how to grow hot peppers. The hardest choice you are going to have to make is what to do with all those peppers!
If you would like to learn more about utilizing grow boxes for your next grow project get in contact with us!