Soil: The first and most important step
Soil preparation is your first and most crucial step. If you have quality soil, your plants will flourish because they have the vital nutrients needed. Weeding will be much easier as well. There are three key components that you can either buy individually or look for in prepared garden soil.
1) Compost: Spend the extra money and go for a superior organic mix. Or you can start to make your own now for next year from kitchen scraps. You will want to add compost yearly to the soil.
2) Peat moss: This will help to hold the moisture in the soil and is a one-time purchase.
3) Pearlite: This will create air pockets in the soil for the roots and again, is a one-time expense.
If you are preparing containers or a raised bed garden, mix one-part compost, one part peat moss, and one part pearlite to create a productive garden soil. You can also create a mix and add it to existing soil. If you cannot get these individual ingredients, go for a bag of organic garden soil with all three.
Pro tip: Let the soil rest for at least 72 hours after you have prepared it before planting seeds or plants.