my sister asked for gardening steps so read more to see what i did. gardening tips and suggestions are welcome from anyone who may know more.
step 1: watch the sunlight throughout the day in the part of the yard you want to place your garden. is it full-sun (sunny for at least 6 hours) or shaded? choose your herbs and plants accordingly. i ended up buying all full-sun plants (arugula, tomatoes, mint, sage, rosemary, cilantro) i did not buy these strawberries although i wanted too because they need to be watered too often, and we are in drought-ville and tocco's already putting strict limits on water usage in the yard.
step 2: get soil. i bought two bags of the organic raised container garden soil and one bag of chicken manure for each container. the chicken manure stank up the car something awful! but it was worth it because the plants think it's delicious. mix the manure into the top 6" of the soil when you get to that part.
step 3: get or make your containers. i bought two pre-made 4x4 sized containers from home depot for around $30 apiece. they assembled really quickly - just slide them sides together. later on you can add higher walls or connect them. i left space between my containers since they're are backed against a fence and i need to reach all of the rows.
step 4: the containers are really just little fences - there is no bottom to them - so you need to get rid of all weeds in the ground or the weeds will creep up and steal all the nutrients or block the sunlight and try to smother your sweet little herbs.
step 5: when the weeds are all gone break up the soil one foot deep with a rake or hoe. you might feel like a farmer in steinbeck's east of eden tilling the soil in salinas, ca. go with it. get rid of any rocks, keep any worms. you want to loosen the soil so the new roots can go down into real earth if they want to. i used this rake to churn it up and it worked really well.
step 6: when that's done, assemble your containers and place them atop their spots. make sure they're level. now take your herbs and veggies. read the directions to see how much space everybody wants. this is where I fibbed a little. 18" became 12" distance apart and so on. i hope it doesn't matter and the herbs will forgive me when they enjoy all that nice space and attention i gave their roots in the last step.
step 7: planting is the easiest part. the new soil is really soft. make sure are careful when you transfer the plants; they're fragile and the roots are delicate. you want to place them into the hole, carefully fill in the space around the roots with more soil, and lightly pat them down to be secure. don't smoosh the plants down too hard, and shake off extra soil from the leaves.
step 8: give everybody a good watering (but not too much, or too strong of a spray).
step 9: now do a little research and chart how often they need to be waterered. shoo away pests, weeds and rabbits on the regular. look at them in the morning to see if they got any dew and water if needed. tell them how good they're doing. ;)
step 10: bask!