If you're growing food to eat, make sure you plant things you like to eat and that are easy to cook. Tomatoes, basil and bell peppers are all easy to grow and they're fairly common components in recipes and meals. Sometimes gardens produce an overabundance of fruits and vegetables, and if most people you know eat them only occasionally, don't bother. If you're having doubts about your abilities, herbs might be a good starter project for you.
It's easy to imagine a grand, colorful garden, but what's beautiful in your mind might be mind-blowing to create. Gardening can quickly become overwhelming. There's a lot you have to think about: what grows well together, types of soils, weeding, watering, and pruning. Ease into the work. Start with a few container gardens, and when you've mastered that art, you can graduate to something bigger and more ambitious.
Think: Where and When
Not every plant grows well in every climate. Keep in mind how much sunlight you get and what types of plants are native to your region. Plants are also sensitive to temperature, so think about what grows well for the time of year you're planting.
A good barometer of how you will do as a gardener is whether or not you can keep a plant alive rather than just bringing a seed to life. Nurseries sell plants that are on their way to being full-grown. Try those this summer, and if all goes well and the plants thrive in your care, you can start planting a bigger, more diverse garden in the fall and spring with seeds and bulbs.
A garden is a big project and requires serious planning. Begin now with your own starter garden, and when you start putting up your outdoor Christmas decorations you can make your garden plans for the next year. Be prepared and be thorough, and next year's garden will be as great as your neighbors' results.