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Gulf Coast Gardening: Large Harvests in Small Spaces

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Good planning and a creative approach help gardeners in Florida and along the Gulf Coast grow their own food, even if space is limited.

Low chill peaches

By Keri Byrum

Our small yard is so full, it has become almost impossible to find room for all of the plants I want to try. As I walk around trying to find a small pocket for my newest plants, I have to make tough decisions to keep only the best! Making the most of every inch has become very important to us as we grow our own herbs, vegetables, and fruits.

A limited amount of space does not have to mean a limit on your garden’s potential. Here are tips to maximize your harvest this season:

Container-and-trellis combination

Grow Vertically. You can easily train vining plants, such as grapes, cucumbers, squash, and pole beans, to grow upright. These plants have coiling tendrils that help them attach securely to your trellis or fence. The wide selection of trellises makes it easy to add an attractive touch to your landscape or containers.  

Flordaglo Peach tree

Plant Selection. Take time to research the mature size of any fruit trees you plan to purchase. Avoid fruit trees that grow very large in favor of smaller trees that still yield good harvests. The new varieties of “low-chill” apples, pears, and peaches all are great additions to a small yard, and perform very well in our mild Gulf Coast climate.

Tifblue blueberry plants in flower

You can grow blueberries and pomegranates as small shrubs, and adapt them to containers for a patio or balcony. Those plants have beautiful flowers in late spring, and fruit in summer and fall. Add pine bark to the soil around your blueberries to help keep those acid-loving plants growing well.

Basil is an easy herb for beginners

Grow in Containers. Growing your edibles in containers makes patios and narrow spaces fruitful. Herbs are easy starters and produce quickly. Try to use large containers, so plant roots have plenty of room to grow and you have to water less frequently. I prefer to buy plants rather than seeds, so my herb garden is instantly available if I need a few sprigs. For the most value, grow the herbs you use most frequently.

You can productively use even the smallest space this season. Good planning and a creative approach helps you find just enough room to grow your own food.