I ordered organic and heirloom seed catalogues a few months ago. I also read a lot- Mother Earth News (including their 40+ year DVD I ordered), various organic gardening sites, and a few books. My favorite books are The Contrary Farmer by Gene Logsdon and Patricia Lanza's various offerings, especially her "lasagna gardening" books. I also going to use companion gardening, square-foot gardening and my planting by the moon book to see how they help a green horn like myself.
With all I read, I realized I am getting my knickers in a twist over things I have no need to worry about. Soil samples? Why? Our ancestors did not use them.
I laid out my 3-foot by 3-foot beds, 15 of them, with newspaper (photo below). The newspaper kills the grass and weeds underneath them. If they are still under the dirt, the roots will still grow though them.
I realized I had not bought my soil, compost or peat moss, eek! We laid pine needles over the papers to hold them down while we drove down to the nursery. (photo below)
The woman at the nursery said to not mulch yet. It was too early. Mulching is a great way to keep weeds away. The following photos are of the beds, so far. Each has a layer of peat moss, compost and soil, then the same layers were repeated.
The photo above is the very first layer of peat moss.