Growing Peppers in Aquaponics

Growing peppers in aquaponic units: There are many varieties of peppers, all varying in colour and degree of spice, yet from the sweet bell pepper to the hot chili peppers (jalapeno or cayenne peppers) they can all be grown with aquaponics. Peppers are more suited to the media bed method but they might also grow in 11 cm diameter NFT pipes if given extra physical support.

Growing conditions: Peppers are a summer fruiting vegetable that prefers warm conditions and full sun exposure. Seed germination temperatures are high: 22 - 34 °C. Seeds will not germinate well in temperatures < 15 °C. Daytime temperatures of 22 - 28 °C and night-time temperatures of 14 -16 °C favour best fruiting conditions under a relative humidity of 65 - 60 percent. Optimal temperatures at root level are 15 - 20 °C. In general, air temperatures below 10 - 12 °C stop plant growth and cause abnormal deformation of the fruits, making them unmarketable. Temperatures > 30 - 35 °C lead to floral abortion or fallout. In general, spicier peppers can be obtained at higher temperatures. The top leaves of the plant protect the fruit hanging below from sun exposure. As with other fruiting plants, nitrate supports the initial vegetative growth (optimum range: 20 - 120 mg/litre) but higher concentrations of potassium and phosphorus are needed for flowering and fruiting.

Growing instructions: Transplant seedlings with 6 - 8 true leaves to the unit as soon as night temperatures settle above 10 °C. Support bushy, heavy-yielding plants with stakes or vertical strings hanging from iron wires pulled horizontally above the units. For red sweet peppers, leave the green fruits on the plants until they ripen and turn red. Pick the first few flowers that appear on the plant in order to encourage further plant growth. Reduce the number of flowers in the event of excessive fruit setting to favour the growing fruits to reach an adequate size.

Harvesting: Begin harvesting when peppers reach a marketable size. Leave peppers on the plants until they ripen fully by changing colour and improve their levels of vitamin C. Harvest continually through the season to favour blossoming, fruit setting and growth. Peppers can be easily stored fresh for 10 days at 10 °C with 90 - 95 per cent humidity or they can be dehydrated for long-term storage.

pH: 5.5 - 6.5

Plant spacing: 30 - 60 cm (3 - 4 plants/m2, or more for small-sized plant varieties)

Germination time and temperature: 8 - 12 days; 22 - 30 °C (seeds will not germinate below 13 °C)

Growth time: 60 - 95 days

Temperature: 14 - 16 °C night time, 22 - 30 °C daytime

Light exposure: full sun

Plant height and width: 30 - 90 cm; 30 - 80 cm

Recommended aquaponics method: media beds


4 thoughts on “Growing Peppers in Aquaponics”

Leave a Reply