Last month we spoke to Emanuele from BL_Hotpepper. He was just starting his pepper season at that point. Let’s see how much his plants have progressed since then!
How are the plants doing now?
The plants are doing great! We are already about 70 days from sowing and the plants are responding very well to the cultivation inputs. Up to now they have been cultivated through artificial light, with cold white led lights. They are enjoying the care with which they are grown. But above all they like the quality of the soil mixed with perlite and the fertilisers they get during irrigation.
In which phase are the plants right now?
The plants are in full vegetative phase, a phase of growth both of the leaves and the root system. This is perhaps one of the most important phases for chili plants because the tissues that will help the plant to grow and face the flowering and fruiting are formed. As you can see from the photos, the varieties belonging to the "Capsicum annuum" species, in these photos are “Jalapeno chocolate” and “Jalapeno White”. They are in a more advanced stage because they belong to a species that develops faster. For this reason they have already been put into 0,8 litre pots.
These varieties already have floral sketches that in the coming days will be ready to bloom. Many growers prefer to remove these first flowers, to allow the plant to share all the energies and resources for vegetative growth. I will keep these flowers, because by providing the plants with the right sun exposure and sufficient nutrients, they will be able to grow well even when they’re going into bloom.
The varieties belonging to the "Capsicum Chinense" species are slower. They are not yet ready to be transferred to larger pots and do not yet have floral sketches. Nevertheless they have developed very well and are showing healthy leaves. Some good progress there. Luckily Plagron is suited for all types of plants, so fertilising different species and varieties is no problem.
Which products are you using right now?
During this phase I am fertilizing the plants with solutions of water and Pure Zym. This solution helps plants to assimilate the nutrients present in the substrate. I am also adding Terra Grow to the solution. I will keep using that throughout the production cycle as it helps the plant during all its phases, providing the nutrients necessary for growth. After transplanting into the ground, like I have just done with the "Capsicum Annum" varieties and next week with the "Capsicum Chinense" varieties, I will also put Power Roots in the irrigation solution. This helps the plants with development of new roots in the new transfer substrate.
The transplanting was carried out in richer substrates than the previous ones. I composed substrates of Lightmix potting soil upgraded with soil improvers such as Bat Guano and Supermix. These improve the structure of the substrate and provide small quantities of fertiliser to stimulate vegetative growth. The next transplanting will instead be done with Allmix soil plus soil conditioner Megaworm. Allmix because it is rich in humus and Megaworm increases the volume of organic substance in the substrate, helping the plants to grow.
What should a product have in this phase? Are you looking for any special qualities?
During this phase, good products must be able to supply nutrients such as nitrogen in forms easily assimilated by the plant. The plants are building their entire vegetative structure, such as stem and leaves. These will be the basis of processes such as chlorophyll generation and photosynthesis which will provide the necessary compounds for flowering, setting and fruiting. A good product must also provide decent percentages of phosphorus which is indispensable in the biochemical processes of the plant, making up the ATP complex.
Good products at this stage guarantee a good harvest during the flowering season. An excellent idea could be the use of foliar fertilisers that make assimilation, transplantation and above all the use of mineral elements in the leaves faster. Your Vita Race is an excellent fertiliser specificaly for foliar use. Foliar fertilization is also convenient because it allows much faster irrigation and fertilization of the plants. You simply spray the leaves in a few steps without the need to go to irrigate every single pot.
Which plants are doing suprisingly well? Are any of them behaving weird?
The plants that surprise me the most every year are dark leaf plants, such as the Pimenta de neyde variety. Surprisingly at the moment they do not have an excessive leaf color because they were grown under LED light but from the moment they are exposed to sunlight they will take on their characteristic black color. Surely, however, the strangest and most peculiar plants belong to the "Mutant Candlelight" variety because they have a very compact form. They do not exceed 20 cm and above all they have filiform leaves. At the moment I have not taken pictures, but I will make those later. It would be boring if I show you all of my plants right now, so stay tuned for my next updates.
What are your hopes for next month?
Next month is the decisive month. Several plants will be planted in their final pot and all others will be planted in the open field. From then on, it will be of fundamental importance to monitor sun exposure, irrigation and fertilization. I will be using different products at that moment, like Green Sensation for some varieties and PK 13-14 for others. Those are specific for the flowering and fruit forming phase. My hope for next month is that I can update your readers with detailed descriptions about the cultivation status of the transplanted plants. Maybe I can also tell them about places I have chosen for the final transplant. In the next interview I will be able to show you many varieties that have already started to bloom and maybe even a photo of some freshly attached chili peppers.
Check out Emanuele's Instagram @BL_Hotpepper.