Chilli peppers belong to the nightshade family or the Solanaceae, and are mostly known for their heat. The most popular spicy varieties are habaneros and jalapenos. For many farmers in areas that experience inconsistent temperatures during the day and night, growing chilli peppers can cause a bit of trouble. Due to this, many people have delved into growing chilli peppers in aquaponics for better control.
In this article, we help you discover all there is to know about using aquaponics to grow chilli peppers.
Why grow aquaponics chilli peppers?
Chilli peppers are used as food spices, for making sauces, as medicine, or they can be exclusively used as vegetables. The capsaicin that comes from the chilli peppers is usable in headache and migraine treatments and also slows down cancer spread.
Factors and Considerations for growing chilli peppers in aquaponics
The aquaponics system design
To grow your chilli peppers, you can opt to use a Deep Water Culture (DWC) system, media beds, or the Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) system.
Transplant the seedlings that have 6-8 leaves to your unit once night temperatures go above 10 degrees Celsius and remain constant. Space them using 30-60 cm. Support chilli peppers that yield massively using vertical strings or stakes that hang above(horizontally). The peppers will usually take 60-95 days to grow.
Water and Temperature Requirements
Hotter chilli peppers are a result of not adequately being watered. An aquaponics system however eliminates the need for constant watering. Hotter peppers will require warmer water than other peppers, these peppers can deform if the water temperature is above 26.6 degrees Celsius.
Too cold water does not allow for heat stimulation as the pepper grows. The ideal water temperature to be maintained is between 15.5-23.8 degrees Celsius. Air temperatures that are lower than 10 degrees Celsius deform the fruits.
Chilli peppers will grow best under full sunlight. Allow the plants to be exposed to sunlight for 6-8 hours in a day. For those that live in areas that have a mild to cool climate, a greenhouse is ideal for warmth. Those who live in warmer climates can have the aquaponics set up outside.
The pH Requirements
Peppers tend to resist acidity. You need to maintain a moderate pH level of between 5.5-6.5.
The Fish and Nutrients
For chilli peppers to successfully thrive, they need phosphorous, nitrogen, magnesium, and potassium as nutrients. Fish are very integral for any aquaponics system since it is their waste that gives plants the needed nutrients. Some of the best breeds to use are catfish, tilapia, tetras, and perch. Before choosing the fish to use, determine if they are just for gardening or they are edible and select accordingly. The Nitrate levels should be kept at 20-120 ppm.
Harvest your chilli peppers once they reach a marketable size. Harvesting through the season is recommended so as to favor blossoming, growth, and the fruit setting.
Chilli peppers are favored by aquaponics gardening systems. To successfully grow your chilli peppers in aquaponics, you only need to keep the recommended conditions in check.
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