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Gulf Coast Gardening: Fresh Edibles in the Garden

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Get tips and ideas about garden additions that also make great eating.

Get tips and ideas about garden additions that also make great eating.
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There's nothing more invigorating than walking out on a crisp, clear winter day to tend to my cool-season edible garden. Doesn't the excitement of fresh vegetables inspire you to want to pick up a few seed packets next time you're out shopping, dig into some fresh dirt and watch what happens?

With two distinct growing seasons in this region, I do my best to take advantage of both: Cool-season edibles in fall/winter, and warm-season edibles in spring/summer. Sometimes it can be a little challenging transitioning to the subsequent growing season, as they always overlap.

Just when it is time to sow spring seeds for green beans, tomatoes, eggplant, okra, summer squashes, peppers and herbs, the cool-season harvest is still taking up lots of ground space.

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What’s helping me maximize available space each season? I’m learning better each year how to narrow the choices of what I grow.

  • Limit them to what/how much our household prefers to eat fresh from the garden.
  • Stick with what grows successfully here. (Check with your local extension office.)

Planting easy-to-grow radishes provides color and flavorful salad ingredients. Radishes also are perfect vegetables for teaching my grandchildren lessons in the garden.

  • Radish seedlings emerge from the ground quickly.
  • The harvest is a highlight for adventurous little hands.
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This February the sight of cool-season leafy lettuces, radishes, carrots, collard greens, broccoli, peas, cauliflower, parsley, cilantro, dill and basil are causing my heart to soar with joy when I walk out to the edible garden. Containers of sweet alyssum, gazanias, violas, lavender and daisies create an environment to attract beneficial insects and pollinators.

 Now it's time to get seeds started for those yummy warm-season edibles. Will you be planting more than flowers this spring?