First Time Grower
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Bill DeSelle
Posted on: September 27, 2000

I have never grown any thing in my life. Where do I start in terms of my own self education? My wish is to grow my own Cayenne as a start. I have to begin some where can you lead me in the right direction?.

As are so many other endeavours in life, growing is both a science and an art. The "science" part is easier: take this much of that stuff and do this to it and voila, you have a plant. The "art" of growing is where experience and the appreciation of the needs of plants come in; it is the difference between a "brown thumb" and "green thumb".

Anyone can develop a "green thumb" – there is no doubt of that in our mind. The key is experience. Every "green thumb" goes through a stage of mostly failures, which over time gives way to a level of understanding and proficiency and mostly successes.

So, learning gardening is really a process of *doing*. To help you get started *doing* gardening, and herb gardening in particular, there are a number of good books that have excellent step-by-step illustrated instructions on basic tasks such as seeding, potting, transplanting, etc. The book, "All About Herbs," which is available from Richters, has excellent step-by-step instructions. Another excellent book, is Tom Debaggio’s book, "Growing Herbs from Seed, Cutting & Root," also available from Richters. Neither of these books is very expensive.

About growing cayenne, you need to know that there are many different herbs with very different growing requirements. Some are annuals, some biennials, some perennials, even trees and shrubs. Each of these is grown in a different ways. For example, cayenne is treated as a summer annual which you grow outdoors in the garden. It needs full sun to flower and set fruit, and it needs ample room to spread its roots to support good sized plants that will bear fruits. So, in the case of cayenne, we recommend that it be started from seed in early spring indoors about two months before outdoor planting time in your area. After the threat of frost is over in your area, the young seedlings are transplanted to the garden. I am simplying here – there are a number of critical steps here before the seedlings can go out in the garden – but the books mentioned will cover them. They won’t necessarily cover cayenne, but you can use the instructions for other herbs that must be started indoors and transplanted out as a guideline for you.

Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t work out the first time; inf act, it probably won’t work out perfectly – but with patience and persistence you can become a experienced and successful herb gardener.

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