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Southern California Gardening: Small-Space Vegetable Gardening Delivers Big

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Southern California gardeners can explore the trend of small-space vegetable gardening with exciting new dwarf varieties.

Assorted mixed lettuce starts in wine barrel
Grow edibles in all types of containers

By Bonnie Manion

Small is the new big, meaning small-space vegetable gardening delivers big results. It lets us garden in less time utilizing overlooked space and reap the benefits of growing our own delectable edibles.

Here are some small-space resources to tap into: Use containers you can place on a patio, deck, tabletop, or balcony for easy access and watering. Consider half wine barrels for growing a mixture of heirloom lettuces. Clip what your need for salads, and the lettuce plant replenishes itself.

Strawberries planted in statuary containers do double duty. They provide fruit and add a whimsical look wherever they are placed.

Zucchetta Tromba D’Albenga squash on fence

Don’t overlook your sunny areas, such as arbors, small side yards, and existing fences for places to grow space-saving edibles that climb. Indeterminate tomato vines easily grow upward. Research interesting edibles such as Zucchetta Tromba D’Albenga squash (Cucurbita moschata) and runner beans (Phaseolus coccineus) that lend themselves to growing vertically.

Seek out new seed varieties that are bred to grow smaller and faster than traditional varieties. These varieties are often ornamental in appearance, too. The names will usually give you a clue: ‘Little Prince’ eggplant and ‘Garden Babies’ butterhead lettuce, for example.

With spring around the corner, this is a perfect time to prepare to grow vegetables using space-saving techniques and to explore new varieties that require less effort and time to grow.