When starting a veggie garden its all about planing, preparation and planting, pretty much like working in a kitchen it's all about the how, why, where and when, but instead of being in side a hot box all day your outside where the sun is shining and the birds are watching you ever so closely patiently waiting for any worms or insects that come out of the ground for breakfast like a quick takeaway snack. anyway the where is the crucial part of the planing its all about location, location, location, cause there is a lot of factors that go into it. Your garden beds should be placed where they get full sunlight or if planting next to a wall make sure that the color is a very reflective this increases the amount of sunlight plants take in which can be great because sunlight is a plants food and energy source, like us humans we need sunlight to help us grow and is a great source of vitamin D it gives us energy and makes us feel 100%, also when planing your site make sure there are no areas where unnecessary flooding can occur or areas where water can run off into your garden at high speed which can cause extensive damage to your plants and uproot your veggies. another weather condition to look out for is wind this is a hard one as you cannot control wind direction and speed but a good rule of thumb is to look for an area where the garden is surrounded by trees not to close where branches can fall down and squash your veggies, or another way would be close to a fence line to reduce the force of wind and or direction, but you don't want to discard wind all together as some plants like tomatoes, beets and spinach are wind pollinated which is a major part in plant growth and production, there are some plants that require cross pollination from other plants to grow this can be a great way to organize your garden to maximize space and growing potential. these are crucial parts / steps of the planing process that people forget or just overlook, this also can determine how well plants grow and if not thought out carefully it can be a big pain to redo everything cause once your plants are in the ground it would be a big job to move it to another location and most plants don't like to be transplanted or uprooted especially root veggies like carrots, beets, radish, potatoes, sweet potatoes etc. They just don't do as well compared to when they are directly sowed or planted.
prepping your garden before planting is key, to get that soil to A grade material. depending or your surroundings and what your soil is like to start of with preparation can take up to 6 months to a year to get your soil ready for planting if you want to do it chemical free using only organic matter and fertilizers (highly recommended) which is well worth the wait, the soil maintains its health and thus improves over time and your veggies and fruit trees with love you for it with strong healthy plants and produce all year round (depending on climate and certain plants). the first thing is to check your soil you don't want it too sandy as the soil doesn't hold on to water for long it tends to drain right through but root based veggies love it as they can grow through it quite easily and plants that require a well drainage system like herbs get a kick out of sandy soil but not recommended for all plants the other soil type is a thick heavy like clay soil, roots wont be able to penetrate and limits soil oxygen to the plants roots. so what to do, the first thing I did I had clay soil to start off with is to build a compost heap directly on the land or in a designated container filled with 100% organic matter such as yard clipping, food scraps (no citrus as worms despise citrus and you need them to help breakdown your compost), coffee grinds, grass, animal manure, wood ash and elderberry leafs they are really beneficial to compost fermentation. pretty much anything that is formed by living organisms a rule of thumb to think about when running a garden is what ever you take from a garden your putting back into the garden, you feed it and it will feed you. prepping a compost for fertilizing is pretty straight forward feeding your compost heap once every week and rotating it every 2 weeks two key ingredients in making a compost is oxygen and water, composting usually take up to a year to be ready for use but when I started to see it breaking down I took portions of it and feed it into the soil so it could breakdown in the soil so I dug down about 50cm turning the soil the laying compost over the top folding it in then added another layer of organic matter or compost about 10mm adding a layer of mulch over the top to keep moisture in the soil soaking the nutrients deep down into the earth. I repeated this another two times until the soil became moist and fluffy full of rich organic matter. my rule of thumb when prepping soil is go the length of a pitch for down and turn the soil then apply the same length of soil on top of that then mulch and you are ready to go.
The planting layout is crucial to maximize space in your garden and to help plant growth. certain plants work well with others and some don't mix at all, what I have noticed over time is veggies that have similar growth pattern tend to work well together for example I planted tomatoes next to mouse melons and the mouse melons just took off they grew in half the time and bigger then when I planted them on their own, but companion planting goes so much deeper then that certain plants act as a pesticide or help strengthen plant growth and some don't work together at all like a bad neighbor, the main thing you need to know it helps to have a good range of diversity in your garden not just veggies, have herbs, marigolds, flowers and especially native plants that are local to the area that your are living in. a lot of people don't know this and I only found out not long ago that there are different species of the same plant in different areas of where you live. having flowers also helps with encouraging insects into your garden which is not a bad thing it helps with the pollination process which helps with plant and fruit development, some plants are self pollination and some require the help from insects to pollinate them like cucumbers, zucchinis, pumpkins, squash for example its like having a extra little helping hand. if want to maximize your gardens space and growing potential plant everything a little bit closer together and up trellises this allows you to produce and plant more also a mistake I have made many of times when planting was to go a little bit below ground level and create a well around your plants this creates a kind of a water catchment and increase the amount of water intake for your plants, it also helps cover the top roots of your plants and they don't drying out and die sarounded by a nice think layer of mulch and you will have a very happy thriving garden.