I grew my first garden last year, trying to learn too. I live in the Colorado Rockies so have very rocky and poor soil. I have been composting leaves, pine needles and kitchen scraps to build up the soil in the garden areas. Your state agricultural extension office can probably recommend crops that will do well in your area and let you know about common pests to be prepared for.
Never use leaves from walnut trees because they may contain a chemical that inhibits plant growth. Just a tip...
We live in the mountains of WV and use grass clippings(try to limit weeds) and scraps to compost with and fertilizer as needed. Our soil is a clay mix and not that good, it takes time to build it up. You may want to get the book, “The Encyclopedia of Country Living” It is a good resource for many things.
Rabbit manure is terrific - you can plant straight in it with no need to compost. I had GIGANTIC artichoke plants this past year, planted into straight rabbit manure.