Tips For A First Timer - Knowledgebase Question

Quarryville, PA
Avatar for psugradsar16
Question by psugradsar16
May 22, 2001
Hello, again.

As I mentioned before, I am a first time gardener growing pumpkins and watermelons. For this little adventure, I have chosen two watermelons: Crimson Sweet and Carolina Cross #183. For pumpkins, I have chosen Big Max. My plot is small, only 4' wide by about 60' long flanked on the long sides by 1) a barley feild, and 2) a flower garden. It is a sunny spot, shaded only in the late afternoon and is currently being converted (by me) from lawn to garden. I am blessed to be in an area with some of the best farmland in the state (Pennsylvania) I hope to plant this week. I know the seed go in the dirt and they need water. I can read the spacing on the package...That's about it. What are some pitfalls that green rookie first-timers with next to no gardening experience usually fall into? What are the big things I can do to improve my results?

Thanks for sharing your experience with me!

Answer from NGA
May 22, 2001
Probably the most important things you can do are run some basic soil tests, water as needed and use an organic mulch. The mulch will help keep down weeds and help keep the soil moist. It will also help feed the soil when it rots down. Watering deeply as needed to keep the soil evenly moist will keep the plants in steady growth. It is better to water less often but deeply to encourage deep roots, than it is to sprinkly lightly daily. Next, the soil tests will tell you if you need to fertilize and with what and how much, as well as a basic check on pH. Your county extension can help you with the tests and interpreting the results with an eye on those crops. Good luck and have fun!

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