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Mar 31, 2011 09:31 PM

Suggestion for "climber" vegetables (and fuits?)

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. 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. 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

        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

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

          9 Replies
          1. re: chefathome

            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

              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

                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

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

                1. re: chefathome

                  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

                    some Passionfruit species require two vines - male and female.

                    1. re: Miri1

                      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

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

                        1. re: Miri1

                          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. 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

                  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: CocoaNut

                      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

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

                        1. re: CocoaNut

                          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.

                  1. re: CocoaNut

                    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.