Becoming a seasoned & intuitive gardener takes years of experience....True.
However, anyone can be a successful gardener, if you are committed to it. In the beginning, you can gain experience and success by keeping your vision small. TRUST ME ON THIS!!
Start with a 3x3x3 method. Plant 3 hearty vegetables that you like, 3 perennial flowers, and 3 ground covers. This is everything you will need to start building a sustainable and resilient landscape.
What's your soil type?
An experienced gardener can go crazy trying to get the *perfect* soil mix for their gardens. From making your own compost to buying the ideal mix, one can spend either an abundance of time, or a whole lot of money. And if you're dedicated to growing food, you really need to have soil that works for vegetables.
This quick field test will help you determine your soil type. Knowing this is imperative, as it gives you information on your soil's water holding & draining capabilities.
Do I make my own compost? YES
But if you're just beginning, skip it. What you're looking for is well draining, rich in nutrients, and fluffy. I suggest a triple mix - and here's how I make it.
1/3 - Your regular ground soil, whatever it is. It's best to screen it to remove all weeds.
1/3 - Organic potting soil. This usually contains a small amount of slow-release fertilizer.
1/3 - Organic compost. I find the bagged version is cleaner than in bulk, but I'll let you decide.
I mix this altogether in a wheelbarrow (in batches) and use it as I plant.
If you decide to get bulk "garden soil" for your beds, BEWARE.
As you look at the choices, make sure to scoop some up to make sure it has the feel you want, plus the right combination of the 3 elements from above! Happy Gardening!