Soil is one of the most important parts of a successful, fruitful garden. If your soil is rocky, full of clay, or depleted of enough nutrients, you will not have healthy plants. Think about it, if a newborn baby was fed no nutrients from birth, would you expect it to be healthy? The same goes for plants. A seed will sprout with just water, but it will not get much bigger as time goes on if there are no nutrients.
When you first plant your seeds in planter trains, the soil does not need to be extra special. You can use plain potting soil if you want, just make sure it is light with no clumps. Also, you want to make sure it's packed around the seeds enough so that they have something to hold onto.
When you are preparing your garden in your yard, you need to first break up your soil. Your garden plot can not be full of rocks and clumps. Use the proper tools to cultivate and till your soil. When you are just starting to break the grass and tough topsoil, use a shovel and pickax if necessary. As you get down further, use a hoe to chop it up and break it up even more. When you've done as much breaking up as you can, use a cultivator to break it up even further and scoop out rocks and other large clumps.
Once your garden plot is prepared, you need to fertilize the soil. You can mix in higher quality fertilizer or add cow manure. There are also many different types of fertilizer additives. Get an organic fertilizer and you can keep all your vegetables and fruits organic. It is also a great idea to start a compost pile. In the fall, rake up all your leaves and add it to your compost. In your kitchen, add all your food scraps, eggshells, and pools to a compost and then to your compost. Sometimes this will all break down and turn into a very nutrient rich soil.
If you are not sure if your soil is good enough for your garden, have it tested. You can get a soil tester and do it yourself and send it to a lab. By doing this, you do not have to worry if your soil has too little or too much of certain nutrients. When you find out your shortcomings and which nutrients you have too much of, you can adjust your soil accordingly.
You might be surprised how important your soil is in your garden. It can be the difference between thriving plants and shriveled dead ones. Do not overlook your soil, it is very important!