We tried container gardening last year because we weren't sure we had enough sunlight to make beds. It was dismal. However, we do have lots of light in the spring before the big trees leaf out, so I planted a rhubarb plant with high hopes for next spring. I am farmy enough to want to harvest something, even though I live in a city with a shady backyard.
The friend who gave me the start advised me to pick up the dried manure under hitching posts at stores the Amish frequent. I looked at her in horror: she is a nicely manicured, suburban mother. Well, if she can do it, surely I, unmanicured and with strubbly hair, can do it. In the meantime, I used compost.
Between the iris and the daffodils, I also planted some parsley, Thai basil, regular basil, and a random pepper plant my husband purchased. I was surprised to see some volunteer dill from last year's failed containers; I'm rooting for it so I can use it when I make dill pickles later on this summer. Last year I had to use dill seed instead of fresh dill heads.
There's also a surprise spearmint plant; in my naivete, I planted it when we bought our house eight years ago. It was too shady and then seemed to get a disease and die - very strange for take-over-the-garden mint! But lo, this spring, it came back, so for now I am reading life lessons into its persistence and vivacity.