Lettuces and salad leaves are a great place to start if you are new to Grow-Your-Own as they are relatively fuss-free and give quick results.
Grow in fertile well-drained soil: improve with composts and manures if necessary. Water regularly and don’t allow the soil to dry out. Mulches such as bark chippings can help keep moisture in.
Although the salads need sunshine, they can struggle in strong midday sun which can also cause the soil to dry out. You can counter this by planting in the moderate shade of taller growing edibles such as runner beans, cucumbers and tomatoes.
Plants of the Allium family such as chives and garlic can deter pests, as can chervil. Harvest leaves early in the day when they are still plump with the morning dew!
Brassicas - such as cabbages, cauliflowers and brussels sprouts - need similar growing conditions, although they take longer to grow.
You can try using old CDs and children’s whirly windmills to keep problematic birds away.