After the frost-free date, prepare the garden soil by removing all the weeds, roots and all. Spread a thin layer of compost or organic fertilizer onto the garden, then turn with a garden fork to loosen and aerate the soil.
For Most Crops: With a stick or a dibber, mark the row where seeds will be planted. Allow space in-between each row, depending on the size of the plant, typically 6 inches. Open the seed packet, and drop one seed every few inches. Cover with soil and light tap the soil. Be sure to mark the rows with a label to indicate the variety and date planted.
Once seedlings emerge, you may need to thin to allow proper distance between plants. Carrots, beets and onions will grow underground, and can touch shoulders, while lettuce, peppers and beans should have at least six inches in between plants.
For Pumpkins, Melons, Cucumbers or Squash: Lightly mound up soil – called a hill – and sow three to five seeds per hill. Label the seeds with the variety and date planted. Water and wait. Within a week to ten days several seedlings should develop. Mulch the base with straw to keep the soil from becoming too dry.