Some steps are relatively easy, like breaking up the soil. This should be done when the soil is dry. Avoid walking on soil in which you will be planting.
Improving the soil takes a little more effort. It is safer for your family if you use composted organic material rather than purchasing chemical based fertilizers. So, start now to compost kitchen waste such as vegetable peelings.
Of course there is plenty of information available online, but we have a plethora of gardening books in our collection, so come down and browse the shelves. You may want to start with these two:
Lowenfels, Jeff. Teaming with Microbes: A Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web. [631.4 LOW]
Describes the activities of the organisms that make up the soil food web, from the simplest of single-cell organisms to multicellular animals and insects, and explains how to cultivate the life of the soil through the use of compost, mulches, and compost teas.
Pleasant, Barbara. The Complete Compost Gardening Guide: Banner Batches, Grow Heaps, Comforter Compost, and Other Amazing Techniques for Saving Time and Money, and Producing the Most Flavorful, Nutritious Vegetables Ever. [631.875 PLE]
A comprehensive guide to composting that explains how to create compost heaps that will make garden soil more nutritious and healthy, which in turn produces brighter, juicier, and tastier vegetables all year long.Happy gardening!