This is a topic I'm totally keen on. At the Garden where I work, we're having an event next weekend to promote vegetable gardening, with the tagline of 'Building Community, Growing Vegetables.' Those of us who enjoy growing vegetables know the joy of harvesting and eating from the garden, whether it's a couple of tomato plants or a series of raised beds or an expansive 'kitchen garden' -- and we're keen on promoting it to others.
The first season in my 'main' vegetable gardenMy first vegetable garden as an 'adult' was modest. We'd just put in a fence (for our old boy, our dog Chessie), who wasn't prone to roam, anyway, but we sprung for picket fence in the most visible areas.
I planted snow peas -- and this was just the beginning.
My previous forays involved trying to plant onions in the caliche soil of the Texas Hill Country as a teenager, taking on WAY too much space as a young researcher in a field station community garden (and being overwhelmed by weeds), and planting apple, peach, and nectarine trees in a shady Southeast Georgia backyard (I harvested some tasty Golden Delicious apples in the last summer we spent there).
But, our soil here is clayey, but our older house has many years' worth of thatch-rich soil below the scruffy lawn, so it's not too bad, with continuous amending.
I started small and used Square-Foot gardening and intensive gardening methods as my inspiration. Some years later, I'm talking about vegetable gardening to groups.
So, what's my advice about starting a vegetable garden?
First: Start small.
Second: Make it close to the house.
Third: Place your beds close to a water source (within reasonable hose length).
Fourth: Grow what you (and your family) like to eat (and don't plant too much).
Fifth: Garden through the year (as much as you can). Spring, summer, fall (and winter) work for us in the SE US.
Sixth: Remember vegetables are pampered annuals (nutrient and water hogs) and need both rich soil with added (preferably) organic fertilizer and water to be optimally productive.
Seventh: Harvest frequently (daily in prime season for beans, tomatoes, etc.).
Eighth: Keep it fun!
Here are a few kitchen gardening tips from a short video clip (where I somehow was the featured weekly blogger on a local TV station recently).