To that end we dug up some of the lawn.
We all joined in, everybody using any tool they could lay their hands on.
We read a lot. Should we double dig? Should we use our own soil from under the pile of grass cuttings and rotten leaves as compost? (it looked dark and chocolaty). Or should we buy topsoil? compost? How should we plant the seeds? rows or scattered? To experienced gardeners this probably all sounds ridiculous but as total beginners, everything leads to a question and another and another...
In the end we dug up the grass down to about 8inches and then spent a long time turning it over. We added our own soil and turned it all over and raked it again. In between each stage we let the whole thing rest. Finally we added topsoil and raked it in. It looked good. As for planting, we marked out rows and put in a few seeds at a time, respecting the spacing indicated on the seed packets. All in a rush because the rain was coming. In fact we finished under the first drops but nobody seemed to mind. Fingers crossed.
There's a lot of hope in planting a garden. The children and I danced around the little patch singing like Satsuki and Mai in the Myazaki film Totoro. We saluted the earth and asked her and the trees around our garden to take care of our seeds for us admitting we know little yet and asking them to help us learn. Now all there is to do is watch and wait.