I started a veggie garden this past summer, and I really only scalped the grass and removed the rocks. I used a grub hoe to remove the grass and a kentucky high wheel cultivator to break up the soil a bit and uncover the rocks. More than this you don’t really have to do. Composting is a great idea to do anytime. My compost wasn’t ready to spread last spring, and only my root veggies suffered. More important is to make sure that you have full sun for the full day, or as much as possible. Try it out simple and easy for the first season and start from there. Too much of "book learning" about gardening is beside the point. What you really should do is "just do it", and analyze what worked and what didn’t, and go on from there.
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Welcome! I’m Margaret Roach, a leading garden writer for 25 years—at ‘Martha Stewart Living,’ ‘Newsday,’ and in three books. I host a public-radio podcast; I also lecture, plus hold tours at my 2.3-acre Hudson Valley (NY) Zone 5B garden, and always say no to chemicals and yes to great plants.