My friend just bought a house with a (small) front and back yard.
He has enlisted my assistance with making him a garden, which I’m really excited about. I have some experience container gardening but none at all with the actual earth. So I know how to plant stuff once I have a nice place to plant it. So my first question is, how to make the soil plant-worthy?
We’re in Toronto so it’s going to be April or May before the soil thaws up. It appears as if there were gardens (flowers and/or vegetable) and small lawns in the yards years ago but haven’t been maintained for a while. There’s a very young evergreen tree of some sort in the front (which he may want to move; it’s in a strange spot).
So what do we need to do? I have lots of good compost that I can put on the garden when the time comes. Left to my own devices I would dig everything up once it’s soft enough, and spread compost on it, and then I’d stop because I wouldn’t know what to do next.
My second question is, what should we plant? We’re planning on some vegetables (root veg; herbs; tomatoes; beans; greens; squash; the usual), and sunflowers to cover up an ugly fence. Other ornamentals are welcome, but I don’t have any experience with them.
No pesticides will be used, and we don’t want a grassy lawn partly because of the pesticides and partly because the space is so small it doesn’t really merit buying a lawn mower. I am thinking of ivy or some sort of native plant for ground cover for the front, but there is a picnic table in the back and it would be nice to have some green space to hang out in. What’s a good sturdy ground cover alternative that can stand up to people walking on it?
He’s really into heirloom varieties and he really likes tomatoes, what are some good varieties?
Any and all advice will be greatly appreciated.