We live in SE NM, so the climate down here is very hot, little humidity, and the soil content is poor. We started this year prepping the garden in the fall, and rototilled it twice with some garden soil (cheap from walmart) and fertilizer. For our hard to start plants (such as jalapeno and ghost peppers) we started them in an indoor "greenhouse" that sits on our freezer: Indoor Seed Starter - Seed Starting | Greenhouse Megastore
We did not plant/transplant until we were absolutely positive we would not get any more freezes. I also researched which plants grew better together, to try and give everything the best chance possible. In all, we planted, okra, corn, sunflowers, cherry tomatoes, tomatillos, solar fire tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, tabasco peppers, habenero peppers, cajun bell, fresno peppers, squash, watermelon, grapes, zucchini, cucumbers, rhubarb, brussel sprouts, and pole beans. I have included some pictures to show it is possible to grow veggies in bad conditions, but it will take some work. The only drawback we have seen so far is our water bill is ridiculous.
***The pictures (in no particular order
) are of our okra, sunflowers (my daughter is 5'6", and this sunflower was still growing), brussel sprouts, squash and the entire garden area.