Before you plant the very first seed of the season, it's important to prepare the soil. Start by removing all weeds, grasses and rocks. Use a rototiller or a shovel to turn and loosen up the soil. If your soil drains poorly, add coarse sand to the mixture.
For a nutrient rich soil, add organic materials such as manure, peat moss, compost, perlite, vermiculite or leaf mold. Use the rototiller or a shovel to mix the organics and sand into the soil. A good rule of thumb is about five parts of garden soil to four parts of organic material and one part of sand.
By working the soil and adding the organic material, the plants will retain moisture, get the proper nutrients and be able to spread the roots better in the loose soil. Soils rich in organic matter tend to be porous allowing for the proper circulation of water and oxygen. This helps plants grow strong, healthy root systems.
Once you have the soil worked, cover it with weed cloth to prevent unwanted weeds between your plants. You can cut directly into the weed cloth and plant the plants in the desired spots. Finally, lay down your irrigation system. It can be as simple as a soaker hose or drip irrigation lines.