We're very new to gardening with seeds; my peas and Asian pole beans were an experiment this spring, and it was such a happy experience that we decided to try planting a fall/winter garden.
Herb made three tractor loader-fuls of dirt (see "Digging Up Dirt") that he added on top of our compost-y soil. We then hoed or hand-worked the dirt into the compost, crumbling lumps of compost in the process. We spent several partial days of hard, hot work just doing that--not fun, but necessary.
Once the beds were ready, we laid soaker hoses on all of them, making sure each soaker hose has a quick-coupler so we can easily attach and remove garden hoses for watering.
Our usual first frost date here is the very end of October, but it can come as much as two weeks later, so we hopefully have time for another harvest, especially since I ordered "early" varieties that need 60 days or less to mature.
Here's what we planted: 2 kinds of broccoli, Brussels sprouts, beets, baby carrots, arugula, bush beans, pole beans, endive, snow peas, and 2 kinds of regular peas. Now we just water and wait . . .