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Suggestion for "climber" vegetables (and fuits?)

Miri1 Mar 31, 2011 09:31 PM

I have a few trellises and poles in my yard and I'd like to use them as supports for fruits and vegetables. I already have blackberry vines and I'm have some pole bean seeds and cucumbers. But what else can i plant that climb? Idea, please? I'm in Los Angeles so weather is not much of a concern :) Thanks!

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  1. Quine RE: Miri1 Mar 31, 2011 09:54 PM

    Lucky you!!! Hope you have nets! Those fruits ripening will have major other forces striking to get the fruit before you. Remember , for you it is a treat, for the others it is FOOD!
    You can let zuccini climb as well.

    Gardening, no matter how long in human time, has ALWAYS been Who is in charge? Humans are not ranking first.

    1. sunshine842 RE: Miri1 Mar 31, 2011 10:43 PM

      lots of tomatoes need tall supports (they don't climb per se, but they need the support to get tall)

      Zucchini, cucumbers, eggplant, small melons, small gourds and pumpkins -- all can be trained up a trellis. A friend of mine grew a rampicante squash that went up the trellis and threatened to climb right on up on the roof.

      Your weather might be too warm, but peas LOVE to climb.

      (don't forget climbing roses and bougainvillea, too -- hard-core climbers, even they're not fruit)

      2 Replies
      1. re: sunshine842
        Miri1 RE: sunshine842 Mar 31, 2011 11:07 PM

        Yes, Quine, the birds love the blackberries but I do have netting and it protects the berries for the most part. and don't get me started on the squirrels who LOVE my pomegranates and persimmons! and they're so friendly that they will come right up to me and beg for a handout. Cute as hell, but so damaging to my trees.

        Sunshine, I think I can do peas. I'd forgotten them. Yum, thanks. I'm going oto try small melons, but while I love climbing roses, I think I'll stick to edibles for the time being. bare root season is pretty much past anyway, so those will have to wait till next year,

        1. re: Miri1
          sunshine842 RE: Miri1 Apr 1, 2011 12:11 AM

          (and gardening is AT LEAST as good a therapy as cooking, by the way. Gives you an outlet for all those nurturing instincts!)

          If melons start to strain the vines, get some really cheap pantyhose/stockings and cut the pantyhose/feet off so you have a tube. then you can make a hammock out of the nylon that you tie to the trellis to support the melons so that they don't fall off the stem before they're ripe. This works for eggplant and other things that get to a good size, too.

      2. m
        morwen RE: Miri1 Apr 1, 2011 06:20 AM

        Pretty much anything that vines can be trained to grow upwards. Some of it, like melons, will need supports for the fruits and old cut up pantyhose make great individual cradles. They expand as the fruit grows. If you'd like some flowery color and edibles, scarlet runner beans are beautiful in flower and tasty too. Don't forget to plant compatible low growing crops around the base of your upward growing vining crops!

        1. chefathome RE: Miri1 Apr 1, 2011 11:03 AM

          If I had that glorious climate I would grow kiwis, grapes, sweet peas (they smell so heavenly) and passionfruit.

          9 Replies
          1. re: chefathome
            Miri1 RE: chefathome Apr 1, 2011 12:51 PM

            Pantyhose! What a cool idea!

            I do have passionfruit already. It's huge! I do want to try kiwi, though. Those are so good!

            1. re: Miri1
              Sue in Mt P RE: Miri1 Apr 1, 2011 01:41 PM

              I love the pantyhose thing.

              One time I grew melons up an old ladder and put the melons on the rungs. It was fun.

              Another ornamental that I love is snail vine:


              Grow it with your vegetables.

              1. re: Sue in Mt P
                jumpingmonk RE: Sue in Mt P Apr 1, 2011 06:42 PM

                since you are so warm, why not try something like Malabar Spinach ( a tropical green that LOVES to climb)? You're also probably good for capers though those need some special soil requirements (a LOT of lime, they're preferred growing stata in many places is old marble ruins.)

              2. re: Miri1
                chefathome RE: Miri1 Apr 2, 2011 08:14 AM

                Your passionfruit sounds awesome! I would almost kill to garden in your zone. We are Zone 1a. Ick.

                1. re: chefathome
                  Miri1 RE: chefathome Apr 3, 2011 11:12 AM

                  What, pray tell, is Malabr spinach?

                  Re the Passionfruit, it's certainly a gorgeous vine, but we've gotten so few of the fruits. It's less than a year old, so maybe this year it will produce more.

                  1. re: Miri1
                    sunshine842 RE: Miri1 Apr 3, 2011 12:54 PM

                    some Passionfruit species require two vines - male and female.

                    1. re: Miri1
                      morwen RE: Miri1 Apr 3, 2011 01:33 PM

                      Malabar spinach is a perennial tropical vine in it's home habitat but is planted here as an annual. It tastes like spinach and resists becoming bitter and bolting in hot weather unlike lettuces and spinach.

                      1. re: morwen
                        Miri1 RE: morwen Apr 3, 2011 03:59 PM

                        And Malabr spinach grows like a vine? How cool. I have to get my hands on that :)

                        1. re: Miri1
                          jumpingmonk RE: Miri1 Apr 3, 2011 04:44 PM

                          it's scientific name (should you need it) is Basella alba or rubra (the first is the all green version the second the red one) seed isn't all that hard to find online, (since you live in LA where there are quite a few big Chinese supermarkets, you may also be able to find it off the shelf, if you have a Chinese supermarket large enough to have a seed rack.

              3. c
                CocoaNut RE: Miri1 Apr 4, 2011 07:36 AM

                Certainly not "chic', but you might get some pintos started. I bought some on a lark, "because they were there" and will see how they do. Personally, I'm a kidney bean girl, but I'm reading that the pintos can be picked and cooked before they reach their "dried" state and they taste differently, so my interest is roused.

                edit>> Two disappointing notes I read is 1) beans have only one production cycle and 2) it takes an extremely long 100 days to harvest. So once harvested, time to dig and dispose.

                6 Replies
                1. re: CocoaNut
                  sunshine842 RE: CocoaNut Apr 4, 2011 02:39 PM

                  I've heard you should leave them in the garden at the end of the season because they return valuable nutrients to the soil. (Pull them before planting next season's goodies)

                  1. re: sunshine842
                    CocoaNut RE: sunshine842 Apr 4, 2011 02:54 PM

                    I can do that! Thx!!

                    1. re: CocoaNut
                      morwen RE: CocoaNut Apr 4, 2011 02:58 PM

                      Legumes fix nitrogen in the soil. We just cut them off at the base and then till the roots in in the spring.

                      1. re: morwen
                        CocoaNut RE: morwen Apr 4, 2011 03:38 PM

                        Do green beans (Ky Wonders) fall into the same category??

                        1. re: CocoaNut
                          morwen RE: CocoaNut Apr 4, 2011 09:22 PM

                          They do. Any member of the legume family is a nitrogen fixer. If you're growing a heavy nitrogen feeder like corn it's good to follow it up in the next planting in that space with a bean.

                  2. re: CocoaNut
                    LauraGrace RE: CocoaNut Apr 6, 2011 02:58 PM

                    100 days to harvest is counting letting them dry in the pod, though, IIRC! So if you were going for the fresh-picked bean it wouldn't be that long.

                  3. p
                    pine time RE: Miri1 Apr 4, 2011 12:34 PM

                    I'm also in Southern CA, and +1 on the early peas (altho, is it too late this season??). I had 'em growing last year. I have a twig chair, and I planted early garden peas at the base of each leg and trained 'em to climb the chair--it was gorgeous (and good eating, too).

                    1. l
                      LauraGrace RE: Miri1 Apr 6, 2011 03:00 PM

                      I have a friend who trained butternut squash and acorn squash up a trellis -- you just have to make supports for them. You can use anything, but pieces of the mesh bags that produce comes in work well.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: LauraGrace
                        Miri1 RE: LauraGrace Apr 6, 2011 11:34 PM

                        This far I planted Kentucky Wonders green beans and chinese long beans. I have all sorts of squash seeds so those will be next, and I have several tomato plants ready to be transplanted. Definitely going to look for the Malabar and I'm anxious to try the kiwi too.

                        Will any of tehse grow in partial shade? I have a spot right up against my house facing West. It gets some sun, but probably not enough for things that really love sun.

                        1. re: Miri1
                          sunshine842 RE: Miri1 Apr 6, 2011 11:37 PM

                          you need 6 hours of sunlight to make it go -- more is better, but if they have sun on their leaves for 6 hours a day, you're in good shape.

                          @LauraGrace -- those work, but if you use cheap pantyhose (mentioned upthread), they won't cut or abrade the stems nor leave little mesh-shaped imprints on your fruit as they form.

                          1. re: sunshine842
                            LauraGrace RE: sunshine842 Apr 7, 2011 08:23 AM

                            Sure, sunshine -- I just always seem to have those produce bags on hand! :)

                          2. re: Miri1
                            morwen RE: Miri1 Apr 7, 2011 06:51 AM

                            You can extend the life of your lettuces and other tender greens by planting them in the situation you describe. They do well in partial sun shaded from the worst heat and light intensity as the season progresses. They probably won't make it through the worst of the summer but they'll make it a little longer. Some people who use the tripod method for training climbers will plant tender greens in the center of the tripod where they are shaded by the climbers.

                          3. re: LauraGrace
                            Eldon Kreider RE: LauraGrace Apr 10, 2011 01:05 PM

                            You should make sure that squash vine borers are not a problem in your area before trellising squash, particularly butternut. Grown on the ground these cucurbits will send out roots from each node and can survive even if a section of vine is destroyed by the borer. The adult form is a flying insect that emerges from the ground in late spring. Floating row covers offer protection but obviously cannot be used with trellises and need to be removed before female blossoms start. Unfortunately, zucchini tends to start blooming while there are still adults around.

                            Squash borers do not like cucumbers, so they can be grown on trellises even where zucchini, pumpkins and butternut squash have major borer problems.

                          4. b
                            Breezychow RE: Miri1 Apr 7, 2011 05:05 PM

                            My all-time favorite climbers are "Scarlet Runner Beans". They come in both scarlet & bicolored varieties & are both gorgeous & delicious. Bees & hummingbirds adore the edible flowers, & the beans - flat, Romano type - are absolutely delicious when picked young, or can also be used as shell beans later on.

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