I have started making my own hot sauce and have been buying the peppers from local stores and farm stands and the more I make the more it costs. I have spent a lot of money on equipment, startup costs and marketing and have been trying to cut costs on production so I thought: Can I grow my own peppers for hot sauce? And How long does it take to grow hot peppers.
Growing your own hot peppers is very easy and most varieties will produce edible peppers in about 80 to 100 days. Peppers plants prefer full sun and germinate in 8 to 20 days depending on the variety. Soil temperature needs to be around 65 degrees consistently for the plants to germinate, grow and fully mature.
How long do hot peppers take to grow?
Peppers can take along time to produce fruits compared to other vegetables such as radishes and lettuce. Most pepper plant can produce in 90 days and some within 65 days of being planted in the ground.
Growing peppers directly from seeds will take longer than purchase plants. Although purchasing plants will cost more than a packet of seeds. The short growing season where I live needs the benefit of a strong and healthy plant that has been growing weeks before it gets put in the ground.
Where I live in Western New York State there is a very short growing season. I am an avid gardener and I have lived in this state my whole life, so I know what varieties of plants grow best. Despite the unreliable weather conditions, I have always had good luck growing peppers.
I really like to grow from seeds and what is even more exiting is seeing plants grow from seeds that have dropped from fruits the season before. I have never really had particularly good luck growing peppers from seeds that come from store bought produce. This is due to pesticides that have been sprayed on many products as the merchandiser wants to provide the highest quality product. The best way to grow peppers in Western NY is to purchase healthy plants early in the growing season.
After transplanting peppers into your garden, the plants will go into shock. This is normal and could last for almost two weeks. They will look as if they are beginning to wilt (and some may not make it) but water them immediately and regular watering should prevent them from dying.
Are peppers easy to grow?
The experience I have had is that all pepper plants grow well but not all plants produce healthy fruits. I have had a fairly easy time growing several varieties of peppers to include, Bell, Jalapeño, Banana and Habanero.
They are typically a smaller plant and most varieties of hot peppers are small so you may not need to stake them up. If the plant is starting to lean due to heavy fruits put a single stake about a few inches from the stem and tie it with a strip of cloth from and old shirt.
Is it worth the effort to grow peppers for my own hot sauce?
Growing hot peppers for sauce is definitely worth the effort especially if you already have a garden. A lot of money can be saved, plants can produce a high yield and you may have the convenience of a garden right in your yard.
Aside from regular watering there is little maintenance or attention required for pepper plants to produce large quantities of fruits. Depending on the plant itself there can be as many as 25 to 30 hot peppers or more from each plant.
Also, there is nothing fresher and healthier than a pepper right off the plant. This makes for the freshest tasting sauce that will keep longer as well. If you plan on drying out your peppers to be used in sauce or other recipes you can dry them right on the plant.
Benefits of growing your own peppers
The cost of grow your own hot peppers is minimal compared to the cost of purchasing. I have an entire blog post dedicated to this subject where I compare growing peppers verses buying.
Many people believe there is a certain distinction where and how some produce is grown no matter how subtle the difference may be. Growing your own peppers for the use of making your own hot sauce is the most gratifying, self-fulfilling activities you can do. And both are very easy. The process of growing and drying them will take the longest.
5 Steps to growing hot peppers
- Pick an area. Find an area that you intend to use for gardening that will receive full sun. This means the sun is not blocked by any trees or buildings and will get sunshine all day long.
- Remove the sod and turn the soil over. Use either a shovel or a tiller (hand tiller or power tiller) to loosen up the soil about 12” deep.
- Dig a hole. The hole should be large enough to fit the entire potted dirt. Cover the potted fertilized mixture with loose dirt close by. Some pots from plants purchased can be planted right in the ground with the plant.
- Leave the plant label. Leave the plant label as a way to identify what you are growing. Many young plants in the same families look similar so you may forget what plant is where, especially if you have a large garden.
- Water. Most likely the store you purchased the plant from has been watering them consistently but going from pot to ground can send the plant into shock.
Can I grow peppers inside?
You can grow hot peppers indoors as they are a relatively smaller plant and will not take up much room. They would prefer to be outside but if you intend to plant them indoor, they will need to be near a window that gets the most sun. One advantage of having a potted pepper plant is to move it to where the sun is, depending on the time of day.
If you make hot sauce regularly there would be nothing more beneficial than growing your own hot peppers. It is easy to do, produces a healthy pepper and could be a huge cost savings if you produce large quantities of sauce.