Weston Beach Race - 18 September 2018

HydroGarden’s super-hot challenge!



HydroGarden’s grow hub is the centre of activity at the company’s base in Coventry, and it’s where many trials of products take place to find the ultimate solutions to help plants grow in a controlled environment. As passionate growers themselves, the staff at HydroGarden are always keen to get their hands dirty and are about to enter a competition to grow a chilli plant with lots of fruit. 

We decided to check out exactly what they’ve been up-to and we found it’s safe to say HydroGarden’s Grow Hub has been pretty hot this year, and not just because of the summer temperatures! The Grow Hub has been home to an ever-growing Dorset Naga chilli plant that the team at HydroGarden will enter in the Sea Spring Seeds (www.seaspringseeds.co.uk) Dorset Naga Growing Challenge. The competition sees growers from all over the country, including amateurs, hobbyists and professionals competing for the number one spot by achieving the chilli plant with the most fruit. 

The chilli originates in Dorset and has a fruity taste packed with an intense heat. The Dorset Naga is a capsicum Chinese hybrid chilli and was once considered the hottest chilli in the world, achieving 1,000,000 – 1,598,227 SHU (Scoville heat units)!A single plant can produce a couple of thousand chillies – in just one grow season! This may seem a little daunting for some hobby growers, but the competition is all about fun (and nowhere near as intense as the heat produced by the chillies!), the aim is to get people growing and learning new things along the way. The competition winner receives a £20 voucher to spend on Sea Spring Seeds website. 

Of course, there are a few simple rules that all entries must follow: 
1.    The plant MUST be a genuine Dorset Naga plant – no imitation seeds!
2.    The plant can be grown from seed or a plug plant.
3.    ANY growing method can be used; hydroponically, in a pot, or in the ground.
4.    Only red chillies count. They can be picked at any time but must be recorded.
5.    The plant must be under one year old on the last date of harvest (10thNovember 2018)

The team at HydroGarden decided to grow two Dorset Naga plants, one in 100% coir and one in soil to see which plant would be bigger, healthier and produce the most chillies.  The chilli in 100% Coir and fed with VitaLink Classic Coir Bloom nutrient, has proved to be the more prosperous, better than the plant grown in VitaLink Pro Soil which was fed with VitaLink Earth Max Bloom – so the coir Dorset Naga will be entered into the competition. 

While there’s still time for the HydroGarden team to squeeze a few more chillies out of their Dorset Naga – 2,000 chillies might be a bit of a stretch! With the Grow Hub tunnels experiencing an extremely hot summer, fortunately the team at HydroGarden were able to be one step ahead of mother nature and make sure their Dorset Naga didn’t suffer too much by using a BOYU Chiller to keep the nutrient solution and plant cool through the scorching summer temperatures – though this certainly won’t cool the temperature of the chillies! Luckily for the team at HydroGarden, their hydroponic knowledge meant their plant didn’t wilt and is still around to enter the competition! 

Stay tuned to HydroGarden social media to find out how they get on in the Dorset Naga Chilli Challenge:
YouTube: HydroGarden TV
Instagram: hydrogardenltd
Twitter: @HydrogardenLtd

Have you ever wanted to get into growing but don’t know where to start? Spice up your life and your meals by growing your very own chilli plant! Make sure you visit the HydroGarden stand at this year’s Weston Beach Race to harvest your own Dorset Naga chilli from our plant, then use the seeds to grow your very own – you could even enter it into next year’s challenge if you can handle the heat!  

Anyone can enter the Dorset Naga Chilli Challenge – check out https://www.seaspringseeds.co.uk/ for updates on next year’s competition. Otherwise, head down and see us at the HydroGarden Weston Beach Race Powered by KTM on October 19-21! www.rhlactivities.com

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