Most vegetables need at least 6 hours a day of direct sun to thrive. Some vegetables, such as lettuces, spinach and other greens, radishes, peas, and cabbage, will do well in partial shade (4 -6 hours per day). Other popular choices require more sunlight. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, corn, beans, onions, garlic and squash are some examples.
Water – At times your garden will require supplemental water. Be sure to locate the vegetable garden where you already have irrigation or where it’s easy to hook up a hose and sprinkler.
Kitchen Gardens – Vegetable gardens convenient to the kitchen make it quick and easy to snip a few herbs and fill a basket for a salad. Often kitchen gardens are a delightful combination of vegetables, herbs, fruit and flowers, and an attractive addition to a home’s exterior. It’s an extra bonus when the garden can be viewed from a house window.
Compost Bin – Place at least one compost bin near your garden. Disposing of vegetation will be convenient, plus you'll be rewarded with great organic matter just a few steps sway from the garden.
Orientation – When possible (this isn’t critical) orient the beds and rows to run east to west and place tall crops on the north side. This will maximize sun exposure. Place perennial plants that are planted once and return every year (sorrel, asparagus, oregano, sage, tarragon) at the edge or corners of beds, where they are easy to work around without damaging them. A terrific tool for laying out the garden is GrowVeg.com.
Size – Large enough to be interesting and fun, yet small enough to care for. Start small! One hundred square feet (10’ by 10’) is a manageable size that will feed an average family of four. Learn firsthand how much you want to tend and adjust based on what you learn.
Community Gardens – Don't own a good site for a vegetable garden? Locate a Community Garden. For no, or a minimal fee, you'll be allocated a plot to garden. Sources for information on Community Gardens are your local municipality and churches.
Visit the Vegtables Forum at GreatLakesGardeners.com to get answers to your growing vegetables questions. To ask a new question, Register if you haven't already done so(it's free and helps protect the forum from spam), click on Start New Topic, enter your question and click on Post New Topic.
You may also appreciate these books on growing vegetable gardens.