Many people like to have some organic chilies to add to their cooking. However, lets face it, you can’t keep spending money on organic chilies as they are expensive. Growing chilies yourself means you will be able to save a lot of money. The problem is that there is the lack of sunlight in North America and parts of Europe and chillies require a lot of sunlight to grow healthily. The good news is that you can overcome the problem and grow chilies indoors under LED grow lights.
Chili needs a hot temperature around 80F – 90F plus in day time and at least 70F at night. It has to get at least 6 hours of sun to grow healthily. The 6 hours of sunlight is equal to 16 hours of LED lights. So, if you have limited space, LED grow light is the best option. You can put it near to the plant without burning the leaves. It is cooler because it releases lesser infrared radiation and uses lesser watts.
LED grow light is a long lasting investment as it can last for up to 50,000 hours which is equivalent to 10 years of use. It offers longer lifespan compared to HID lights which can last in between 10,000 – 18,000 hours. With LED grow lights, you can expect to save up to 50%-60% of energy. Best of all, it is safe to use and environmentally friendly. It does not contain any mercury, lead or gas. It doesn’t have any fragile glass bulb and will not shatter like glass.
The most common chili varieties that are grown indoor are chiltepins, hebaneros and other small varieties. Small chili varieties have long growing season. This means they take longer time to flower and bear crops. The plant will grow up to a height of 6 – 12 inches. In harvest time, you can easily notice the chili crops from among the leaves. Chili plant can also make a nice decorative ornament for the house apart from tasting spicy in the mouth.
How Many LED Lights to Install
The amount of LED lights you use depends on your chili grow space. Ideally, you should install 32 watts LED lights for per square foot. So, if you have 6 square foot of grow space, you should install around 200 watts of LED lights. You can buy a LED light block designated for a specific amount of grow space for convenience.
Because chili comes from places with long hours of sunlight, you will need to let the grow light turn on for many hours at least 12 – 16 hours per day. You can get programmable LED grow lights to help you achieve this. Programmable lights allows you to schedule the light to turn on and off at a specific time. If it doesn’t have any schedule control, you will have to remember to manually turn on the light every day to ensure you reap a heavy harvest of chili crop.
What Colors of LED Lights to Choose
LED lighting is usually installed in small blocks in the indoor growing spaces. They come in a variety of colors including red, blue, white, green, indigo, and yellow. Red and blue LED lights are the most important lights. Red light which imitate the heat of the sun enhances stem growth, flowering and fruit.
Blue light is necessary for artificial photosynthesis, and development of strong roots. Green light is not that important and you can exclude it in your LED lighting installment if you want. You have the option of buying a full cycle LED light or only install a specific color of LED light for enhancing the development of certain aspects. Many chili growers recommend the use of LSR 865 with a light color of 6500 Kelvin.
How to Set Up an Indoor Growing Area
Firstly, you will need to look for a vacant space where you can use as a growing area. It can be a shelf that you are not using, or the basement or garage. First, you germinate the seeds in a pot on the window sill. When the seeds sprouts, you can move them to the grow light area. As the chili plan grow bigger, you will have to transplant them to bigger pots. Usually, you only need a pot that is 10 – 12 inches in size for transplantation. Bigger varieties may need pots that are 16 – 18 inches in size.
You will have to keep watering the chilies plants. Lesser watering is needed as the plants grow bigger. It takes about 60 – 150 days for the peppers to mature before they start to produce crops. On the seed packet, you can find information on how long the chili plant take to mature. This refer to the time it takes the plant to mature after it has been transplanted to a pot. It takes about 8 – 10 weeks for a seedling to grow into a plant that is suitable for transplanting. You can harvest the chili green, orange or red as you like.
There you have it, now get out there and grow chilies indoors.