Planning my garden

(Question)

Hello! I just purchased a home and was lucky to get 1/2 an acre of land to grow on!

There is a green house already built as well.

I’m looking to plant a huge vegetable/fruit garden in my backyard, all organic and non-GMO.

I was wondering if you had any advice or websites for starting a brand new garden? Or for design ideas for what vegetables to place together in a bed?

I am thinking of creating different beds that hold different vegetables, lining the perimeter of the area with sun flower as well as planting fruit trees (hopefully non-GMO/organic if possible).

Here’s my list of vegetables I’d like to plant:
Tomato, Potato, Carrot, Cucumber, Broccol, Green Beans, Celery, Corn, Kale, Lettuce, Peppers, Spinach, Sweet Potato, Squash and Onions.

Fruits: Watermelon, Grapes, Apples, Berries and Cherries.

Herbs: Basil, Chamomile, Cilantro, Dill, Chives, Marjoram, Oregano, Parsley and Thyme.

I have never been too great at decorating and organizing and I’ve been researching books and online to help push me in the right direction on how to plant them so they look nice and have ease of access!

Thank you very much!

(Answer)

Congratulations on your new home — and garden,

That’s 21,780 square feet ! Or an area of 150′ x 145′.  Now is definitely not too early to start planning! And, with a greenhouse, as well, one would guess that the prior owners had some interest in gardening, and so possibly your soil conditions are good. This is one of your key considerations when deciding what, and where, to grow in your garden. Also consider the amount of sunshine your garden will receive during the growing season, and your east/west position. In addition to sunshine, oxygen and soil nutrients, each of your plants also need water, not too much, not too little, but just right !

Also, the wide variety of fruits and vegetables you wish to plant, should lend themselves very well to the application of tried-and-true knowledge of what species make great “bed” partners, in terms of both pest control and soil augmentation.

The Toronto Master Gardeners, in partnership with the City of Toronto, have prepared a number of Garden Guides on organic fertilizing and soil improvement, that should appeal to your desire for organic gardening.

Here are links to the guides:

The basics of organic fertilizers: http://66.209.177.85/~torontom/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Organic-Fertilizers-Basics.pdf

Improving your soil organically: http://66.209.177.85/~torontom/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Improving-Your-Soil-Organically.pdf

Which organic fertilizers to use with which plants, including vegetables:  http://66.209.177.85/~torontom/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Organic-Fertilizers-Specific-Plants.pdf

Controlling insects organically: http://66.209.177.85/~torontom/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Combat-Common-Insect-Pests.pdf

In addition, you may wish to sign up for one or more of our Toronto Master Gardener upcoming spring 2015 presentations:

http://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/index.php/event/tpl-ask-an-expert-presentation-top-tips-for-top-vegetables-10/

http://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/index.php/event/tpl-ask-an-expert-presentation-basics-of-vegetable-gardening/

http://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/index.php/event/tpl-ask-an-expert-presentation-top-tips-for-top-vegetables-11/

May your enthusiasm be matched by your garden’s bounty !  All the best !