We do a little of both – starting from seeds and with plants, it depends on how the weather is doing when they need to be started (Jersey weather can be wonky in the spring!), and whether the plant is best started with seeds or not. Honestly, I pretty much let Mr.B. worry about that part, lol! I’m more of a harvest it / cook it / preserve it person!
As far as tips for how we garden? I think composting is really one of the best things you can do for any gardening. No matter how crappy the dirt in your yard, if you work some good compost into it, you’ll be able to grow something. Not to mention all the great environmental benefits of composting! Whether you do it in a fancy barrel composter, make your own wooden compost bin or just have a small patch where you throw your stuff, composting is the way to go.
I also highly recommend Mel Bartholomew’s square foot gardening system. Basically it’s just about making raised beds to garden in and mixing your soil in a good way (including that compost!). It means no weeds to deal with and being able to garden a high yield of produce in a small area (we have a pretty small area of usable yard). You can read how to start your own at his website. Oh, and when it’s talking about the soil mix? We don’t use the vermiculite, and it’s worked just fine for us! Just means watering a little more often!
As far as gardening spells and intentions? This is definitely something I work on through the year. Before you even start growing, bless your little seed packets and wish them growth and abundance! When you have to thin your seedlings, thank the ones you pull for their sacrifice (and make sure to throw them in the compost bin!). On Ostara, I always make a special “prosperity” egg that I bury in the garden (died green and filled with herbs for prosperity). Whenever you go out to check and/or water your plants, take a minute to really center yourself and revel in the basic thing you are doing: growing food. Creating a way to nourish yourself and your family. Appreciate your garden and give it thanks.