Soil is the most important thing in your garden. It is where all the action is. The better your soil - the more micro-organisms moving around, along with nutrients and water.
When building a new garden and
removing sod, you will need to amend to get the soil party started. A triple mix soil blend is beneficial when as the peat moss will help retain moisture, the topsoil will help change
the consistency of your most likely compacted and nitrogen deficient soil, and the compost will add organic matter.
Soil is basically three types - sandy, loam or clay. A great way to test your type is to pack some into a baseball shape in your hand. If you poke it and it falls totally apart - your soil is be too sandy. If it mostly keeps its shape it is loam - which is the consistency you want. If you can't poke your finger in at all it has too much clay.
Water is the vehicle to bring your plant roots all the nutrients in your soil. Smaller plants you have to water more often. As plants get larger, space out the waterings more, ensuring the soil is saturated. When you water too little too often - your roots will grow horizontally and have limited access to nutrients. When you water less often and for longer, the roots grow down instead of out. This proves beneficial in dry conditions, as well as for anchoring the plant. Generally, yellow leaves indicate over watering, and brown show under watering. Only water in early morning or late at night.
Transplants from inside your house should be hardened off for a couple of weeks prior to garden planting. Put them in an area protected from the wind and any pets, and out of any strong direct sunlight. Stay on top of watering. Make sure your seedlings have been watered well to help with the transplant shock. As much as possible, do not directly disturb root systems when transplanting. When direct seeding, water the soil night before.
Pests and Disease.
The number one thing you can do to help minimize your chances of pests and disease is to keep your garden tidy. Both bugs and disease love moist environments, so try not to provide these conditions. The main thing is to act fast. The first sign of pests or disease you need to identify what it is you are dealing with - Google images is great for this. Bird feeders, sunflowers and bee attracting plants are all great organic measures to bring beneficial birds and bugs into the garden to help alleviate the harmful ones.