Choosing the plants:
The biggest complaint I hear is never having all the needed ingredients ripe at the same time to enjoy a meal. By selecting several varieties of vegetables that have roughly the same growing time frame we have managed to circumvent this.
I also looked at companion plants to try and prevent the need to use fertilizer or pesticides.
Early & Late Season: Peas, lettuce, spinach, radishes and chives all go into the ground the earliest and provide a reasonable salad quite early in the spring (in about 4 weeks). These were planted in mid-late March.
Year Round: The herbs all grow inside, with extras outside of the types we use most. I start them from seed as this is the least expensive option. It also allows me to re-seed and that may die. These were planted in the first week of March.
Mid-Late Season: Tomatoes and Peppers provide a later crop of veggies to go with the fall plantings of lettuce and are planted later in the summer. Ours went into the ground in the last weekend of May.