Living in Dutchess county, we have a tremendous deer population. It makes vegetable gardening in your yard without proper fencing impossible. I do all my own vegetables on my deck. I have a 5x5 planter box from Gardener's Supply Co.The box cost about $100.00 and it holds 3 gallons of water to slow feed the plants. It's ideal for a deck because decks get really, really hot. In this box I have grown; lettuce, tomatoes, peas, squash and eggplant. I use "grow bags", that you can buy at Gardener's Supply, also to grow onions, sweet potatoes and fingerlings. All you do is fill the bag with soil, plant your plants and when they are ready to come out, dump them upside down; beats the heck out of rotot tilling, and digging. For my herbs, I use pots. The herbs are beautiful and deer rarely have an interest in them. I put the pots throughout my backyard flower gardens.
My favorite book on container gardening is called, "Vertical Gardening" by Derek Fell. This book gives great advice on what veggies grow well together in tight quarters. It also shows you through photos and drawings ways to support heavy fruit and vegetables that can vine upwards. Another recommendation is "All New Square Foot Gardening" by Mel Bartholomew. He uses an excellent method of raised planters and sectioning them into different square feet. You can reach all the plants without stepping on the soil and it basically eliminates weeding.
One thing both these authors spend a significant amount of time on is soil structure. What you put into your containers, grow boxes and raised beds really makes all the difference. A high benefit of using small spaces to grow is that you can have much more control over your soil. Personally, for smaller containers I like moisture control potting soil. For my raised bed and grow bags I use Sweet Peet. Sweet Peet is a mixture of peat moss, manure and compost. Plants really thrive on it. You can make a mixture of soil 1/3 blended compost, 1/3 peat moss, and 1/3 coarse vermiculite. These can all be purchased inexpensively in bulk from any gardening center. Once your plants begin to grow, placing mulch in-between them helps prevent the growth of weeds.
Now is the time to get your vegetable garden started. Mother's Day is the benchmark I use for when I put my summer vegetables into the soil. I will keep you posted on what varieties I am using and how they do.
Get out there and grow something!