When we moved to Longview Ranch in 2007, the backyard was pretty much a wasteland: A perimeter chain link fence with off-white plastic vanes did nothing to enhance three neglected fruit trees and a couple of small corner planting beds. The house was surrounded by concrete. A tired grass lawn covered most of the backyard.
My heart sank when I saw the neat, two-foot-long row of Ortho products of every type in the garden shed. I knew we wouldn't be planting any food in that soil for years.
On the bright side, we had no investment in the existing layout. But circumstances and our own unreadiness meant we didn't start right in gardening, except the outdoor potted plants we'd brought and three big half barrels we planted tomatoes in that summer.