I have started making my own hot sauce and have been buying the peppers from local stores and farm stands so 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 75 to 85 degrees consistently for the plants to germinate, grow and fully mature.
How long do hot peppers take to grow?
Peppers can take a long time to produce fruits compared to other vegetables such as radishes and some types of lettuce. Most varieties of hot pepper plant can produce ripe peppers in 90 days and some within 65 days of the plants being planted in the ground.
Growing peppers directly from seeds will take longer than purchased plants that have germinated and seedlings have been rooted in soil. However, 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.
Most seed packets that you purchase from your local garden shop or online retail gardening stores will have information such as days to germination, spacing of the seeds, the amount of sunlight needed and days until ripeness printed on the packet. This information is very useful and is also specific to the seed purchased.
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 at certain times of the year. Despite the unreliable and cooler weather conditions, I have always had good luck growing hot peppers in our 5a Zone Climate. Find the climate zone of your area here with the USDA Hardiness Zone Map.
Growing hot peppers from seeds can take longer than plants
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. Get a variety pack from this link to Amazon for over 500 seeds…that’s about $.03 a seed…ridiculously cheap!
The best way to grow peppers in Western NY is to purchase healthy plants early in the growing season and get them in the grown after the last frost or early to mid May. 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. Jalapeno’s are my favorite and each plant can produce about 25 to 35 peppers or three to four 5 oz bottles of hot sauce.
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.
Growing hot peppers for your own hot is worth the effort!
Growing hot peppers for sauce is definitely worth the effort especially if you already have a garden or area of ground for planting. 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 for hot sauce
Huge cost savings by growing your own hot peppers
The cost of growing your own hot peppers is minimal compared to the cost of purchasing fresh peppers. I have an entire blog post dedicated to this subject where I compare the cost of growing peppers verses buying.
Unique soil and climate conditions make One Of A Kind hot peppers
Many people believe there is a certain distinction where and how some produce is grown no matter how subtle the growing conditions 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 Easy steps to growing hot peppers from plants
- Choose an open area with lots of sun
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. Also, make sure when planting other fruits and vegetables that the plants next to the hot peppers will not grow tall and block them from sun.
2. Remove the sod and turn over the soil
Use either a shovel or a tiller (hand tiller or power tiller) to loosen up the soil about 12” deep. Remove any rocks, roots or other types of debris that may interfere with the roots of the pepper plants.
3. 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. This should be easy now that the soil is loose. Some pots from plants purchased can be planted right in the ground with the plant and are biodegradable.
4. Leave the plant label
Leaving the plant label as a way to identify what you are growing if you have grown several varieties of peppers. Many young plants in the same families look similar so you may forget what plant is where, especially if you have a large garden.
5. Water regularly
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. Water it immediately after it has been planted in the ground and make a regular routine of watering throughout the season.
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.