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Absolute Newbie - what am I doing here???

16 years ago

Hi everyone,

I am an absolute newbie and am here hoping one of the many experts I see here could give me some really basic straight forward help. This is my first garden of any type and I am sure I am doing everything wrong!! lol

I've been reading as much as I can but don't know a lot of the real basics. Can you help? Keep in mind you might laugh at some of my questions because they just don't make sense! :)

1.) I bought my various pepper plants from a farmer's market and they were all about 15" high. Is there a way for me to tell how old they are?

2.) When the little tag says 70-75 days to maturity does that mean when a seed starts showing green until the point when the peppers are ready to pick?

3.) How do you pick these peppers??? I have one pepper that's about 2" inches long and super bright red so it seems like it's ready to pick. Do I cut the stem it's on with clippers? Twist it off? If clipped, how far above the top of the pepper do I clip the stem?

4.) How do I know the peppers are actually ripe?

5.) The one I have that is super bright red, what would happen if it just sat on the stem for a while longer? Will it spoil if it's not picked as soon as it's ripe?

6.) I have read people recommending nitrogen and epsom salts. Is this a good idea? How do I test the soil to figure out what my plants need (note that these are all in ground).

7.) Am I supposed to be picking off some flowers or leaves to help growth? If so, how do I do that and which ones do I choose? I'm afraid if I cut some of this stuff it'll never grow back! :)

8.) How much should I be watering? I know based on rain fall... but combined with that, how many total inches of water a week?

9.) I don't see any bugs on the plants but I keep reading about all the bugs people find on their plants. Am I not looking closely enough or not looking enough times during the day??? I haven't used any insecticide at all.

Any other tips or advice for this total newbie? I'd like to learn some things this year so I can start some peppers from seeds next year and hopefully improve my results.

Thanks so much for all your help! I'll keep going through posts and learning more. You are all amazing with the advice and pictures... it makes me regret not starting gardening sooner!


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