In our school garden (Arizona), we used chicken poop below our soil. We just released a praying mantis collection into the garden, and we also just received compost bins from the city to start composting! The school garden has been a great addition to the school this year.
At home, I think I'm 'old school' (or maybe just a beginner). I made sure I had good, toxic free soil... but I just plopped my seeds in and started watering. I did refer to a chart from the local permaculture guild to determine what to plant, and we are getting some yummy, pesticide free veggies!