The idea of growing your own vegetables appeals to a lot of people but some never do because they don’t know where to get started. It is not rocket science but it could be called soil science, I prefer laying a good foundation.
Laying the foundation of a new vegetable garden requires that the main ingredient be right. That ingredient is soil. The soil is the heart of your garden get it right and it will help make other mistakes you might make not so bad. Really your soil can make or break your garden. Vegetables need a soil that is rich in organic materials and composted manure. It should hold moisture well but never become over saturated. When you squeeze your soil in your hand in should hold together but when you disturb it it should break apart easily. The soil you are starting out with is probably not like this but you can amended what ever type of soil that you have. If your soil is very loose and will not hold together, does not stay wet very long, and will fall right through your fingers then you probably have sandy soil. The best way to improve this soil is by building it up so that it will retain moisture. Adding peat moss is good as well as compost if you can get enough the inner husks of coconuts called coir is also becoming popular. You will also add a lot of organic matter such as shredded bark and leaves.
If you have very heavy clay soil it very dense and will not drain well it will hold too much moisture but when it dries it is hard as a rock. It is hard to grow plants in clay so amending the soil with a lot of organic matter will be the key to make this a great garden soil. Use shredded bark, wood chips, sawdust, manure, or shredded leave but do not add peat moss or coir as they retain moisture and you are trying to break up the soil so it will dry.
Another important thing is the planting bed should contain this amended soil and be loosened to at least 12 inches. By providing 12 inch depth of loose soil the roots can grow deeply unrestricted so your plants will be strong and healthy. The farther the roots spread the more nutrients the plant will receive allowing plants to reach their full potential. The healthier and stronger a plant is the less disease and pest problems they have as well. Once you have your soil taken care of your chance of a successful harvest is so much higher.