Well, it's our first real growing season since we've moved to Zone 5a/b (30min SE Albany, NY), from Western North Carolina, and I've got to admit it's been a very slow start. We've had a long (though not particularly brutal) winter - first snow in the beginning of November, and just now at the beginning of May have the night time temps been steadily in the low 40's or more.
We're on the first floor of a 3-floor 1800 farm house with an enormous pasture out back, butted up against a beautiful creek (or Kill as they call them here..), with a decent sized community garden for the tenants to share. Since at least August (when we moved in), the plot has been under tarps trying to kill off a massive Canadian Thistle problem, and I think it's done pretty well. I just pulled the tarps up last week and started getting rid of the sad little strained weeds in the area we're planting. Not much has grown back quickly, compared to just outside the garden fence where the buggers are bigger than my head!
I got a late start to ordering seeds, too. Picked a few varieties to start and see how things go off of SeedsNow. Should be arriving today or tomorrow. Picked up a couple of sad little Bonnie Romas from Walmart to repot while the soil amendments soak in and everything has the finishing touches before real planting/transplanting, and they're doing much better now with some nitrogen and sunlight.
The ground was at first a little disappointing. SO many thistle sprouts and an incredible amount of rocks. The kids and I (3.5yr and 15 month old) spent two mornings pulling rocks and hand turning the soil to find more, bigger rocks, and we've got several inches of really NICE soil now free of the biggest rocks. Still plenty of quarter sized pebbles, but I've got my sanity to look after, so they're going to stay put for now. Added a few inches of humus/manure mix to the top of the plot, and will be adding some leftover worm castings and mixing it all in.
I wasn't sure about how to plant - I've got it laid out at about 4x12 right now, and I am thinking of doing a grid a la square foot gardening, rather than rows. I've got carrots and beets, the two Romas, spaghetti squash, bush beans, dwarf sunflowers, basil, chamomile, and I'm probably forgetting what else for the spring/summer go. Thinking to stick the climbers/supported plants at one end, and everything else everywhere else. Also have some marigolds to line the perimeter.
Anywho... let's see how this pans out! Praying for a bountiful harvest and not too many unsolvable problems in our maiden season.