How to quickly mitigate a somewhat busted lawn and garden -- and maybe get a small vegetable harvest out of it?
Just moved into a rental house (in Seattle), and two urbanites/utter gardening newbies now have about 700 square feet of yard. Only problem is, it's in very mixed condition, ranging from patchy grass
to verdant foliage
to utter disrepair littered with old cinderblocks and chunks of fencing
. In between are some flowerbeds, some of which are good and some of which look like they're 90% sand... all of which may or may not have bulbs buried in them. It's been a dry summer until now and the grass looks pretty starved, especially on the west-facing front lawn.
(There's also a big Japanese Maple. I have no idea what I have to do to keep it happy... other than to admire it.)
Lease says the lawncare is our responsibility. OSU and WSU have excellent extension websites with gardening tips (as do past Metafilter posts), but they're mostly how to fix problems you've already diagnosed. I know I should pull up weeds, but that's about all I know.
How do I get a handle on this lawn, and what steps can I take over the next month to get it looking decent? Suggestions for vegetables or flowers that I can plant right about now would also be great -- looking at some peas or collards, at the moment, but I'm sure I can grow more than that in September here, right? I also have a lot of unused driveway space that I'd like to pack with vegetable containers. (I have a billion containers from previous tenants.)