Once you try vegetables and fruits grown at home, you will be surprised by how much better they taste. They're also better for you than store-bought fruits and vegetables, which are ripened chemically and not as high in vitamins.
Test your soil by taking samples from up to 10 locations throughout your garden. Mix the soil in a bucket and allow it to dry. Pick out any debris--such as roots, sticks, rocks or weeds--and place a cup of soil in a plastic bag. Take the soil to a testing facility to determine the soil's pH and structure. Most agricultural colleges maintain soil facilities. You can access one of these facilities through your nearest county extension service.
Select a location for your garden or orchard in full sun with well-drained soil.
Prepare your garden or orchard by breaking up the soil to a depth of 12 inches with a rototiller. Based on recommendations and amounts from the soil test, spread amendments in a 4-inch surface layer. Good amendments include peat moss, compost and well-rotted manure. You can raise the soil pH by adding sulfur or lower the pH by adding lime. Most fruits and vegetables thrive in a neutral or slightly acidic soil, with a pH range from 6.5 to 7.5. Blueberry plants prefer acidic soil in a range of 4 to 4.5.
For fruit trees, bushes or vegetable transplants, dig planting holes twice as wide, but no deeper than, the root ball of the plant. Tomato plants may be set as deeply in the soil as the plant's top leaves. Place the plant into the soil and fill in around the plant with soil. Plant seeds in furrows or drill holes twice as deep as the seed's width at the widest point and cover with soil. Mound up hills for planting vines such as cucumbers, squash or gourds. Plant three beans per hill and thin the plants down to the strongest vine.
Water all plants so that the soil remains as damp as a wrung-out sponge. Cover the sprouts or transplants with mulch to help hold in moisture and choke out weeds.