We found in our limited space (and with gumbo soil) that raised beds are the way to go. Dh put in 3 in the spring and what we grew in them went gangbusters, but it was only tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, green beans, cantalope (didn't do well) and onions, nothing you could stretch out an live on. We planted a separate, small raised bed and planted asparagus roots (.50 at Walmart, yippee!) and they have taken well - maybe we'll have some in the spring. We hope to add another raised bed or two as soon as we are able to add in more vegetables for next growing season.
We have potatoes at the back of the yard and haven't dug them yet, but they do well there normally - besides a clump of rhubarb, it's the only thing that's not in raised beds. I tried container gardening a few seasons, but it was less than ideal. Our hot, midwestern summers make it nearly impossible to keep everything watered enough in containers. I tried some lettuces in them this year but....nothing. Raised bed for lettuce next year, too.
A couple books that helped us were The Backyard Homestead - Produce All the Food You Need on Just a Quarter Acre! by Storey Publishing and Independence Days: A Guide to Sustainable Food storage and Preservation by Sharon Astyk (someone on this site recommended this awhile back). There are many books out there specifically for smaller yards and gardens.
Great idea for a thread! Liz.