Experts and BHG readers answer.
First Time Gardeners
Thanks for writing. First off, make sure you have a sunny spot and good soil for your plants...Full sun (at least 6 hours of direct sun per day) is best. If you have lots of clay in your ground, I'd amend it with compost before planting or even construct some raised beds filled with high-quality soil.
Since you mentioned space is tight, I'd look at putting up trellises or some other kind of support for your melons; let them grow upward instead of taking up feet and feet of ground space. You'll also need to give your tomatoes and peppers some support, but that's easier to do with tomato cages.
Once your garden is planted, I'd cover the ground with a couple of inches of mulch (weed-free straw, compost, shredded wood, etc.) to help stop weeds and conserve moisture. To help prevent disease, run a soaker hose under your mulch for watering --- that way you can keep the leaves of your plants as dry as possible.
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---Justin, Senior Garden Editor, BHG.com