And some more growing...
Age 4.5 weeks.
They've gotten yellow, especially the red mini stuffing pepper, to left. From here on, I've added a dab of Flora Gro liquid nutrients to cut down on the yellowing. The plant on the right - mini red bell, not a "stuffing" pepper - suffers the yellowing a lot less than the other two. But the nutrient mix, using old semi-molten "Large" tablets from an AG 1-season Master Gardener kit, really weren't quite right for these plants. For water, I've mostly used distilled or collected rainwater. (I'm writing this in late October, not copying everything from the original glog.)
Age 5.5 weeks: looking better greenwise.
At this point they have buds!
Unfortunately, I did not prune them at age 5 weeks, thinking they were such small plants, they probably wouldn't need it. They did... So I got advice at age 6.5 weeks, and then pruned lightly.
Age 6.5 weeks: before and after light pruning (thanks to PVtx for advice!) This is ~45 days, and these were possibly advertised as harvest in ~60 days.
Age 7.5 weeks: Alas, most of those flowers didn't set fruit. I decided they needed a heavier pruning, which set me back quite a ways budwise. Though I later realized two flowers on the left plant did take and I just couldn't see them yet. Very frustrating to cut off all the buds, just when the plants were setting fruit.
Age 8.5 weeks: got very unhappy with the pruning setback and started the reflective draping experiment. Here they've grown back, but just putting buds right back in the lights again.And the middle plant wasn't growing back very quickly. At this point, I had them growing inside the reflective drapes most of the time for only about 2 days.
It turns out two of the flowers did set peppers before the great pruning, though:
Age 9.5 weeks: I took all but one side's reflective drape down, because the most stunted pepper plant (the one in the middle) was getting very curly-topped, and sort of ingrowing instead of going up. So the extra light helped a lot, but so much draping somehow didn't. Probably too much heat & lack of air circulation. Finally has buds developing again...
Closeup of the two pepper fruits. They're only supposed to grow to 1-2", so they're maybe nearing full size. But I want them to turn red, because I only had about 5 of each of these seeds, and need to save some mature seeds from them. Saving pepper seeds is apparently very easy.
Age 10.5 weeks: Having gotten thoroughly sick of the pruning game, I ordered an Aerogarden Deluxe. It arrived this week and I moved the whole pepperplex (plants, grow surface, bowl) into the new Deluxe base+lights. They're happier, I'm happier. The middle yellow pepper is still playing catch-up - it has a flower, but still no peppers. In fact, it's thinned-out in-a-pot not-enough-light brother already has 3-4 peppers set... But, the bigger red peppers have set several more fruit each, and everyone has flowers.
The oldest fruit are probably at their final size, but I want to pick them red (mature), so I can save seeds, and possibly mail them back to the kind persons who gave these hard-to-get seeds to me in trade.
The next day, I had to strip the bowl because the pump had conked out. (Man, it is a pain to work on the pump with 3 full-grown plants on the deck... Broke a lot of roots.) This is a new ceramic-core pump AG sent me in July, to replace a dead original-style plastic core pump. Got that going again, though its thin plastic axle is worryingly bent.
But replaced the water/nutrients with a new GH Flora series formulation. (See forum post.) I think this'll work better. I'd been growing these up to now with AG Master Gardener Large tablets. But - the mini stuffing pepper leaves kept yellowing, so I was always adding a teaspoon of Flora Grow here and there to green up the leaves. Which I believe was exacerbating the need-to-prune problem - regardless of how far down the stem a new branch was formed, the dratted things only bud when they get right back up to the top of the plant. I may even cut the grow/micro component even further next time I replace the nutrients, depending.