Designing a backyard garden – Assignment

(Question)

Hello,

I am a student in Grade 10, and I have an assignment where I would require the opinion of a professional gardener about the garden that I have designed. I was wondering if you guys could spend a few minutes looking at my plan and provide advice for improvements! I reside in Markham, and am planning a garden in an area the size of 4m * 4m. The soil is class 1, and there is an average of 474mm of precipitation from the months of May and October. The plants shown in the image are tomatoes, basil, onions, potatoes, garlic, and peppers. If it’s possible, could you offer your name, education, experience and contact information? It will be confidential and only be used by the teacher to verify that I’m not making up information!

Attached is an image of my plan, it will be located in the center of my back yard, so there will be no shade.

Thanks in advance!

 

(Answer)

Most vegetables require 6-8 hrs. of direct sunlight  daily for best results. Fruit-producing vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins, and squash need more.

When designing your vegetable garden you need to remember to give plants enough room to grow and you need to arrange them so that taller vegetabes don’t shade lower-growing types.

You should also think about access-how will you get to your plants to harvest, weed or water? Walking on the beds compacts the soil making it difficult for plants to absorb nutrients and water.

Proper plant spacing is a compromise of sometimes competing needs. Gardeners want to squeeze in as many plants into the available space to maximize harvest. Plants need enough room to grow and spread. Also, you need to leave enough space between plants for you to get in to inspect (check for disease), water, and harvest.

Large size potatoes should be plated 1 per square foot (30cmx30cm). If you plan on harvesting the potatoes early (new potatoes) or if they are a small variety , you can plant 4 potatoes per square foot.

The spacing of basil should be 4 plants per square foot if you plan to continuously harvest side branches and tops or plant 1 basil plant per square foot if you are going to let the plant grow to maturity and then cut the entire plant at one time.

Garlic spacing is 4 per square foot if you are planning on using elephant galic or 9 plants per square foot if it is a smaller variety.

Simiarly, onions can be planted either 4 or 9 plants per square foot depending on the variety.

Both tomoatoes and peppers need to be planted 1 plant per square foot. Tomatoes require air circulation to prevent disease. Whenever more than 1 row of peppers or tomatoes is sown, you can try to alternate them. This can help reduce the spread of disease as well as infestation by garden pests.

Here are a few links to vegetable gardening: Organic Vegetable Gardeningwww.squarefootgardening.org

As to our background: Toronto Master Gardeners are a group of more than 120 trained horticulturists who volunteer their time to home gardeners in the Toronto area. The information about our education is posted on this very website under Who We Are. Please understand that we do not give out individual Master Gardener names

Hope this helps.