In most cities the topsoil has been shaved off by machines when the homes were built. You'll have to bring in or buy good top soil with compost and composted manure. Try pots or raised beds. Growing lots in small spaces is possible and not as difficult as it seems, stake the plants so theygrow up instead of out, train vines to climb and support tomatoes. As soon as the cool weather crops like lettuce are done for, pull, compost them, spread a small amt of compost and plant something else in that space. Take a good look at what areas receive the most sun and plant accordingly. The public library has lots of information for you.