Sheffield Spice up AutoPots

Sheffield Spice up AutoPots

Ian
Ian
12 Dec 2013

You've gotta love the AutoPot - it's a huge time saver & cost saver.

Want to see what it can do? Look what we grew in one! Here's a clue - it's chillies.

What we grew

We grew some cracking Friar's Hat chillies - aka a Bishop's Hat and Bartlett’s Bonnet. You only have to look at it to see why.

It comes from Brazil, and is a member of the Baccatum species of chilli.

For you hot heads out there, this is a mild chilli - a lot like a Jalapeno pepper. It was planted a little late, but it's still come along nicely.

Chillies grown in an AutoPot Chillies grown in an AutoPot
Chillies grown in an AutoPot Chillies grown in an AutoPot

   

Chillies grown in an AutoPot Chillies grown in an AutoPot

Why AutoPot?

Mostly because we're busy and AutoPots are easy. There are no plugs, timers or pumps - you just throw the system up and it sees to itself. You get great results, too.

Plus, it's got a flexible layout. If we wanted to make space for another plant, it'd be nice and easy.

The Method

The trick was to only transplant into an Autopot once plants were ready. 

Step 1

Chillies grown in an AutoPot Chillies grown in an AutoPot

 
Since we were going to use media, plants were propagated in 
Jiffy Pellets

Step 2

Chillies grown in an AutoPot Chillies grown in an AutoPot


These were then transplanted into 10cm Square Pots with Canna Coco.

Next the plants were potted on into 6.5L Square Pots. By keeping plants in a pot that suited their size. If you go straight into a large pot,  you can easily over water and slow growth.

Step 3

Chillies grown in an AutoPot Chillies grown in an AutoPot


Finally they ended up being transplanted into the AutoPot 15 Litre Square Pots.

We fed plants via a watering can for a few weeks, to give roots time to develop. As soon as they started needing daily top ups, we set the system up and switched it on. 

Nutrient Management

Managing our nutrient solution was pretty easy, really. We chose to use Canna Coco this time.

You'll probably notice that we switched the standard 47L tank that comes with the AutoPot 4-Plant System to a 100 Litre Space Sava Water Butt

We did this because it's bigger and we didn't want to top up or change our tank as often as we'd like to. 

That said, we did have to keep a close eye on our nutrient strength. 

In AutoPots, nutrients can build up in your media if your nutrient strength is too high.

During the summer (high temp, low himidity), plants need more water and fewer nutrients. So we kept to CF15 (EC 1.5).

Over the past few months, however, we increased the CF to around CF 22, as the temperature & humidity in our greenhouse went up.

Chilli Plant Chilli Plant

By late October a sensational crop of chillies was ready to harvest, all grown with minimum fuss using an AutoPot 4-Plant System!

Hint

If you're worried abour overfeeding, every 2-3 weeks:

1.)  Wait until the reservoir is empty and plants obviously need feeding

2.)  Fill your tank with a half strength feed 

3.)  Hand feed plants and emptying the run-off from the bottom tray until 50% of it has been collected.

4.)  Fill the reservoir with a nutrient solution that is back up to full strength

5.)  The plants will have had a chance to recover and are now ready for normal feeds again

If that sounds like too much work, just use a half strength nutrient solution every 3rd time you fill your tank.

Ian
Ian
About the author

Ian's our Sheffield shop manager. He loves tinkering in the greenhouse. Drop by to see what he's growing.

GroWell Hydroponics Sheffield

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