The Q&A Archives: Tips

Question: I am new to gardening and having a difficult time finding information on how and when to plant vegetable seeds. How many seeds do I place when planting corn? Also do pumpkin and squash seeds need to be mounded? I would appreciate anything that would be helpful to the newcomer. My garden is 50'X 50' Frank Milks Nicholson, PA

Answer: My first advice to beginning gardeners is "start small." A large garden can become overwhelming in a short time, and THEN the weeds take over! I generally recommend beginners start with a plot of 100-250 square feet. Definintely have your soil tested, too, so you'll know what your soil is lacking. The extension service can help you with a test - their phone number is 717-278-1158. A couple of gardening books that are great for beginners are Real Gardener's True Confessions by Pat Stone (Storey Communications, Pownal, VT) and Let's Get Growing, by Crow Miller (Rodale Press, Emmaus, PA). Your local bookstore can order these for you. To answer your questions, corn should be planted 1" deep, 4"-6" apart and thinned to 12" apart. Rows should be 18" apart. Plant the rows in blocks of several short rows instead of a couple of long ones, as the wind carries pollen from the tassels to the silks, and blocks ensure better pollination. You don't have to plant squashes in hills. They can be planted in rows.

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