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Went out back for a few minutes - picked about twenty hot peppers (jalapeno, Thai Hybrids) and three ripe yellow habanero. A great year for peppers - tomatoes, however, just don't seem to ripen. I've heard that from others, too. Oddly, though, I've so many ripe habaneros that shouldn't have started ripening until about now (vs. a month ago).
I am now the happy owner (via weekend preparation) of a pint (440ml) of habanero sauce consisting of about fifty of them (red and yellow) ground into paste with vinegar. Opening the jar fills the area with a combination of delightful fruity aroma and choking fumes. Early cooking experiments with this batch show the effort (seed's started indoors in late February) to be well worth it. I've likely mentioned this before, but used with care it's just a "better" hot.
If anyone wants to ask - no I haven't tried any of the new ultra hots, such as scorpion pepper and seven-pot peppers. I've heard they're difficult to grow (longer season than I have) and I haven't figured out exactly what I'd do with them - especially if I have a pile of them. Ten times hotter than insanely hot - well, perhaps to discourage dogs as to where is a good place to sniff-and-go ?
You're quite right about the reaper (I just went looking for that info):
Carolina Reaper plants take roughly 90 days to get to the point of sexual maturity, which is when they will be ready to produce fruit. Plant size: When planted in the ground or a suitably large container, Carolina Reaper plants grow to be approximately 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide.
A similar search (and the seed package) puts my Habenaros at 100-110 days. That's why it's weird to have them ripening. I grew the 90-day variety a couple of years ago and late August was the start.
Slow germination doesn't bother me - I grow cactus from seeds. Probably start indoors in January - if I knew what I'd do with them one I had them. On the other hand - you planted the it's-doable seed in my head (pun intended).
I reread the blurb - that 90 days is "ready to produce fruit" - implying they still have to set fruit, grow and ripen. That may just put them out of reach.
The other thing to consider if you have space indoors is to overwinter your peppers, which also means a larger yield in subsequent years.
I had multiple black walnut trees in the yard so had to plant all my peppers in pots and did this. Usually picked the biggest/healthiest looking plant of each variety and moved them indoors at the end of the season.
Practical Advice - I have to quite-tall maples shading much of the yard. The garden's a mix of in-ground (ca 10x10 feet) and a lot of very large pots (which are better known as 5-gallon buckets). They are too bulky, however, to bring indoors (let alone any wildlife they may contain) and, unfortunately for me, I have only one small south-facing window.
My best option would seem to be an extra-early start (when they're small and in pots under lamps) to give them a good head start - but the earliest safe day to put them outdoors is usually Mother's Day. That would just get them to start fruiting around mid-August. Doable if they'll ripen withing the month and autumn doesn't arrive early. It all depends, it seems, on how long the flower-grow-ripen period is (and less than full sun).
OK - let's assume I managed this. Aside from being very hot and the job-satisfaction, did they have any qualities that made the whole thing worth it?
That is what I did as well, had to move one at a time and getting the four selected pots up or down the basement steps to the grow tent was a pain in the back.
I love spicy food, so for me the Reapers had the extra hot I was looking for in a number of applications. Dehydrated and ground into a powder for seasoning/cooking, added to salsas, inserted into batches of bread and butter pickles for extra kick on a burger or sandwich, and so on. Otherwise they have a similar fruity flavor to the habanero.
If you have limited space and time, I'd opt for other varieties for different flavor profiles instead. Shishitos are very good charred, pablanos are thicker so good for stuffing, cayenne, hungarian wax, and the list goes on. Every new pepper added to your seasoning mix brings with it something unique. My initial pepper selection revolved heavily around what I use when making chili and grew from there.
Edit: Saw your other post about growing zones and I'm in 5a. I think I got around it by starting from seed as soon as possible so had a larger plant when I finally moved them outside. It involved a lot of fans running on timers to get stronger stems along with heated grow lights, and moving them in/out on a daily basis when it was warm enough during the day but not at night, https://hort.extension.wisc.edu/files/2014/10/Cold-hardiness-map-high-resolution.jpg[^]
I've grown chili for quite a few years. Some in your list overlap: pablano, Hungarian Wax, cayenne
Some others of memory: tabasco, Salsa, jalapeno, Serrano
Of the items, I had lots of pablano last year - easily too much as they were very abundant. Too mild for most use (my son's family, however are training in hot food and they're prefect for that). The Garden Salsa Hybrid[^], a longer green pepper but as wide as a jalapeno at the top are about 3000 or so Scoville and are very tasty - but I haven't grown it for several years. My single favorite of normal peppers is Serrano: very abundant and, being solid, easy to slice any which way. For the hungarian wax - nice and early as yellow. I've one about 18months old in a tiny pot at my office. Still producing. Since I pollinate the peppers myself, via my thumbnail, they'll breed true. I'm going to ripen them for seeds so I can garden-them next year.
Three types, at present - plenty of variety. The Thai Hybrid seem thin-walled enough for easy drying and may go that way.
A few words of warning about drying/dehydrating, learned through painful experience. Of course there is the usual stuff like pieces dry faster than whole.
The important part is if you are using your oven to dehydrate them, just don't. Even if it vents outside, enough of the fumes will stay inside and turn your kitchen into a chemical warfare zone. The next morning was still bad enough to cause a lot of breathing problems. Same thing with a dehydrator, stick it outside while it is running.
Kind of surprising about having to pollinate them yourself, for some reason I thought peppers were self pollinating. That's because I never did any pollination while I overwintered and they still produced. There was a fan running for a good portion of the day so that might have been a cause as well.
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