The very first thing you need to do is to plan your garden. This is one of my favorite steps because you can be creative. What do you want to grow? You can have vegetables, flowers, herbs or fruits, or any combination of these.
Research the plants you want to grow so you'll understand the needs of each plant. This is a very important step so do not skip it.
Some things to consider are: Amount of Sunlight, Amount of Water, Height and Width, & Hardiness Zones
A simple drawing of your garden area will help you visualize how to place your plants, being sure that taller plants do not shade smaller ones. If you know the growth pattern of each plant you can allow them plenty of room to grow.
2. PREPARE THE BED
The bed where your garden will be needs to be prepared so that the plants you put in it will have the best advantage possible for grow and thrive. You can prepare the bed in the fall for either fall planting or for spring planting.
First you'll need to mark the area you'll use and then remove any grass or weeds or shrubs etc. so you'll have a clean area to work in.
Then you need to either till the soil to loosen it or turn the soil over with a shovel to about the depth of the shovel.
If you are going to plant in the fall then enrich the soil with composed manure or fertilizer and any adjustments needed and turn it in well. It's best if you can wait 1-2 weeks before planting to prevent burning plants or seeds.
If you are going to plant in the spring then you can began preparing the bed in the fall. To do this you can add leaves, grass clippings, manure and any adjustments a soil test suggested your soil needs. These will break down during the winter and your garden will have a head start in the spring.
If you prefer though, you can wait till spring to prepare the bed. Add computed manure and adjustments and turn it in well. Again, it's best to wait 1-2 weeks to plant.
3. LAY OUT AND PLANT
You have a plan on paper so use it to lay out where your plants will need to be placed. If they are potted plants then you can set them (still in the pots) in place to see how they'll look. That way you can make any adjustments you need to before you dig the holes to plant them.
If you're planting seeds then plant according to the directions on the packet. Remember to mark where you've planted and what you've planted.
If the plant will need staking, it is best to do that at planting time to avoid injuring the roots by staking later.
4. WATER AND KEEP MOIST
Now that your plants or seeds are in the ground they'll need moisture. Seeds need moisture to germinate so make sure that they do not dry out. Once germinated and you can see growth breaking the ground then you do not have to water so regularly. Just know the water requirements of the plant.
Potted plants need frequent watering too until they have gotten established and their roots are able to find moisture.
5. WATCH YOUR GARDEN GROW
Yes, this is actually a step. Do not plant and forget about your garden till time to pick the vegetables or flowers. Watch the plants to see how they are doing. Maker sure no weeds crow them out, that they're getting enough water and that they are not shaded by aggressive neighbors.
Watching your garden grow is one of the best, most relaxing pastimes in the world.
Gardening is fun and enjoyable but it is hard work. If you follow these simple steps then your hard work will not be in vain and you'll be able to enjoy the fruits of your labors.