Do you do any spring soil prep, such as rototill in humus or compost? Now that you have a car, it would be no problem to rent a rototiller and do a nice job of aeration and churning.
I used to have an urban garden when I lived in downtown Philadelphia. The commune that ran the garden brought in trailerloads of cow manure, and rented a rototiller to dig it all in. Man the vegetables we used to get out of that garden!! I used to get up at 5am before work, and spend a couple hours thinning, weeding, harvesting.
This was back in the 1970's, when there was a lot of urban land that had been cleared wholesale by 'urban renewal' during the 1960's. Never get away with that kind of clearing these days. But for a brief period, it resulted in vast tracts of urban land that no one wanted...except us gardeners!
have you ever been to the north side of stl? tons of open land there, some blocks have no houses, or one or two. symptom of the disease. There are some urban gardens up there,some proposals for tree planting and the like, but very small scale in relation to the whole.
Have you heard of no-till? there is a school of thought that soil and its microorganisms should be disturbed as little as possible. you just keep piling mulch on top.not saying one or the other. just an alternative.
Yeah I've seen all the open space in St Louis. But the trick is to also LIVE nearby. I personally wouldn't want to live anywhere near that open space.
But in Philadelphia, in the '70's, a few of us urban 'pioneers' rehabbed and lived in the Colonial houses, with open lots just down the street.
Interesting article on no-till agriculture. But I still think you'd get larger and better produce by maximizing air, water and nutrients that reach the roots of your plants. Can you really harvest good crops year after year, without plowing compost and nutrients back into the soil?