Which one is easier, hydroponic or soil bell peppers for the urban grower?
Seeing my mom growing bell peppers in soil containers the last summer and battling quickly drying soil during the hot days made me wonder if it would be a good idea to try grow them hydroponically.
Growing bell peppers in soil
Let’s see first what you should know about growing bell peppers in soil from Ben at GrowWeg
While there are hundreds of bell pepper types, if you plan on growing them outside you should start them early spring. If you do hydroponics and have artificial light and heating you could start them anytime!
Seeds should be started at around 25 Celsius, so you should start them indoors and maybe use a heated mat. Once the seeds have a set of true leaves, you should transplant them individually.
Peppers need plenty of light, so if you have an indoor hydroponic system you should have a strong artificial light. So that makes planting outside more economical.
Next, Ben is transplanting the plants several times into bigger pots until it gets to a final pot around 30 cm wide. Hydroponics win at this. In the hydroponic system, once you have put the seed in the growing medium you don’t need to make anything else!
Bell peppers are quickly affected by the lack of water, especially in hot days. Obviously, not a problem in hydroponics.
Of course you need to help the grow of the plants with potassium rich fertilizer; In hydroponics you also need to watch for the quality of the nutrient solution, and replace the hydroponic solution once every 2 weeks or so. However, hydroponics already provide nutrient rich solution to the plants so it’s just a matter of topping up the solution.
If you are growing outside, then you should also take care of pests and diseases. This might also happen to your hydroponic system if you grow outside, so let’s say it’s a draw.
Growing bell peppers hydroponically
JimmyB Harvests shows us how to grow Hydroponic Peppers from Seed to Harvest with the Kratky Method. He places the seeds directly in Grodan rockwool cubes so they don’t need any transplanting later. He uses Advanced Nutrients micro/grow/bloom and Mars Hydro TSW2000 lights. After 8 weeks the plants are already flowering. With some pruning he ensures that the bell peppers receive the maximum light available.
It takes around 100 days to harvest the bell peppers.
Tikki O. experiments with starting the seeds using the paper towel method then compares 2 hydroponic systems Kratky vs. Deep Water culture. It took 130 days to finally have ripe bell peppers indoors using two hydroponic methods.
If you have a greenhouse this is great, you can do a very basic drip system hydroponic and take advantage of the Sun:
On the industrial scale, growing bell peppers is very similar to what we can do at home. They really do it hydroponically: