The days are getting longer, the temperatures are warming up, springtime is almost here. It is time to start getting some warm-season plants up and running, so I will be able to set them outside by around the end of March. I will start 2 types of peppers (Golden Marconi and Jimmy Nardello), as well as Diva cucumbers. My tomato seeds have been ordered, and those plants will also be started shortly.
Feb 13, 2016 = Day 0. Plant started from seed (Baker Creek). Seeds sowed in 1.5-inch rockwool cube in 2-inch net-pot. Moistened with dilute fertilizer solution: 1.2 mL Dyna-Gro Liquid GROW 7-9-5 and 0.8 mL pH Down per gallon of tap water. N-P-K (in ppm): 22-12-13. pH = 6.0.
Feb 22 = Day 9. Plants germinated, placed directly under a fluorescent light (2 ft. T8 bulb, 17W, 6500k) for 16 hours per day.
Mar 1 = Day 17. Began placing plant in an open window for several hours per day, to get seedling ready for the transition to the outdoors.
Mar 6 = Day 22. Transferred plant to a small plastic container. Hydroponic solution composed of 3 cups (0.71 L) tap water, 1.125 mL Dyna-Gro Liquid GROW 7-9-5. N-P-K (in ppm): 111-62-66. pH = 6.0. No pH adjustment required.
Mar 17 = Day 33. Plant looks great, 5 inches tall. Almost no root development at all though. Switched to a different hydroponic solution: 2.75 cups (0.65 L) tap water, 0.34 g MasterBlend 4-18-38, 0.34 g calcium nitrate, 0.17 g magnesium sulfate, 0.034 mL Dyna-Gro Pro-TeKt, 0.17 mL pH Down. N-P-K (in ppm): 103-41-168. pH = 6.0.
Mar 27 = Day 43. Installed plants into 5-gallon bucket. Hydroponic solution composed of 5 gal (18.9 L) tap water, 10 g Masterblend, 10 g calcium nitrate, 5 g magnesium sulfate, 1 mL Dyna-Gro Pro-TeKt, 5 mL pH Down. N-P-K (in ppm): 103-41-168. pH = 6.0. Plant placed outside permanently.
Jun 5 = Day 113. Added 1 gallon fresh hydroponic fluid. Installed a wire cage around the pepper plant to keep it standing upright.
Jun 16 = Day 124. Added 2 gallons fresh hydroponic fluid.
Jun 26 = Day 134. Harvested the first ripe Golden Marconi pepper of the season.
Jun 30 = Day 138. Harvested 1 pepper.
Jul 1 = Day 139. Added 2 gallons fresh hydroponic fluid.
Jul 11 = Day 149. Added 2 gallons fresh hydroponic fluid.
Jul 15 = Day 153. Plant is beginning to develop powdery mildew on many of the leaves. Sprayed the leaves (top and bottom) with my homemade anti-fungal spray: 1 qt water, 1 tsp potassium bicarbonate, 1 tsp horticultural oil, 10 drops Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap.
Jul 22 = Day 160. Added 1 gallon fresh hydroponic fluid.
Jul 25 = Day 163. Harvested 6 peppers.
Jul 27 = Day 165. Harvested 2 peppers.
Jul 30 = Day 168. Harvested 3 peppers.
Aug 2 = Day 171. Harvested 4 peppers. There are no more peppers developing, and the leaves are in bad shape, so this is the end for this plant.
Growing this Golden Marconi plant was well worth the effort. The peppers were delicious, with a bit of sweetness, and they had thick, juicy walls and thin skins. I will definitely grow this one again in the future, but I will probably use a bigger container than the 5-gallon bucket I used here. As the summer got warm, I had to add fluid every week or 2. This plant would do great in a 20- or 32-gallon bucket.
Total Harvest: 19 Golden Marconi peppers.
Total fluid used: 12 gallons.