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Suggestions for an edible fence climber (drought tolerant)  RSS feed

 
Posts: 63
Location: Utah
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I'm in zone 5b in an urban desert with alkaline soil and trying to work on a food forest / edible landscape. I have 200 feet of fence to cover with something. Part is in full shade, part in full sun. I need drought tolerant, climbing, edible or medicinal, and perennial. I thought of grapes but the whole fence is right along a sidewalk so I'd spend all summer trying to keep it trimmed. Kiwi aren't drought tolerant. Ground nuts aren't drought tolerant (at least, not the three-months-without-rain type of drought tolerant).

If I can't find anything it'll probably be covered next spring with climbing beans, but I'd prefer perennial. Two pieces of the description aren't negotiable--it must be both drought tolerant and edible or medicinal.

Any suggestions?
 
Posts: 559
Location: In the woods, West Coast USA
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Blackberries are very tough and make great jam that can be canned and stored.   A trailing blackberry shoots long, green runners the summer before, and that's where next summer's berries will form.  There are some upright blackberries that don't have long trailers, but all of them appreciate being tied horizontally, which sends the message to the plant to flower when the conditions are right.  There are nice, thornless ones as well.  The "has few seeds" type is a lot easier to cook with.

Blueberries are nice bushes, and also make nice jam for canning.  http://www.backyardberryplants.com/plants/blueberries/ ;

Espalied apples are very tough.   Two different kinds are needed for pollinating each other, unless you are in a neighborhood where there are other apple trees, which would be blooming at the exact same time yours would be blooming.

Asparagus is a nice, ferny plant during the summer that is a good companion plant to berries, and can be tucked in between.  They get trimmed off in August or so, but it's easy to do.

(be sure to get the ones that will work in your zone)



 
Lauren Ritz
Posts: 63
Location: Utah
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Cristo Balete wrote:Blackberries are very tough and make great jam that can be canned and stored.   A trailing blackberry shoots long, green runners the summer before, and that's where next summer's berries will form.  There are some upright blackberries that don't have long trailers, but all of them appreciate being tied horizontally, which sends the message to the plant to flower when the conditions are right.  There are nice, thornless ones as well.  The "has few seeds" type is a lot easier to cook with.

Blueberries are nice bushes, and also make nice jam for canning.  http://www.backyardberryplants.com/plants/blueberries/ ;

Espalied apples are very tough.   Two different kinds are needed for pollinating each other, unless you are in a neighborhood where there are other apple trees, which would be blooming at the exact same time yours would be blooming.

Asparagus is a nice, ferny plant during the summer that is a good companion plant to berries, and can be tucked in between.  They get trimmed off in August or so, but it's easy to do.

(be sure to get the ones that will work in your zone)



Thanks. I do have blackberries and asparagus, but both struggle with the lack of water. Blueberries won't grow in highly alkaline soil, so I gave up on them years ago. The apple trees are a good idea, I'll add that to my list.

I've edited the original post to mention alkaline soil. Sorry about that omission. It's so normal to me I don't even think about it.
 
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But you only trim grapes in winter, not summer. Winter trimmig's easy and fast because the leaves have fallen. I'd reconsider grapes if I were you.
 
Posts: 83
Location: Australia, New South Wales. Köppen: Cfa (Humid Subtropical), USDA: 10/11
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Chayote will grow almost anywhere that's warm to hot, and the whole plant can be eaten.

As Tim advised, grapes only need trimming in winter - the young leaves can also be used as per dolma/sarma.

 
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Location: USDA Zone 8a
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What about Scarlet Runner beans?  I have not grown them though I have read a lot about them here on permies:

https://permies.com/t/19203/rocket-stove-work

 
Lauren Ritz
Posts: 63
Location: Utah
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Tim Kivi wrote:But you only trim grapes in winter, not summer. Winter trimming's easy and fast because the leaves have fallen. I'd reconsider grapes if I were you.



I have a number of grapevines. One of them is right beside the stairs and has about three feet of space. Unfortunately it grows out over the stairs and has to be constantly trimmed back all summer (which is not a bad thing necessarily, since the vine thinks it's being eaten and responds by giving me another harvest in late summer). Grapevines grow out as well as along the fence or trellis, so that space has to be taken into consideration. For a situation like this, where the fence is within inches of the sidewalk. it wouldn't work. And yes, I do trim them hard every winter.
Grapes.jpg
[Thumbnail for Grapes.jpg]
 
Lauren Ritz
Posts: 63
Location: Utah
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Anne Miller wrote:What about Scarlet Runner beans?  I have not grown them though I have read a lot about them here on permies:

https://permies.com/t/19203/rocket-stove-work



I'll add that one to my list. Thanks!
 
Posts: 63
Location: SW Ohio
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I'm not certain if they're drought tolerant, but being perennial they should do better than an annual, have you thought about hops?
I've been fascinated with the idea of growing hops since I read about them being used as part of a bread starter in some funky old canadian pioneering book I read during my hobo adventures.
 
Lauren Ritz
Posts: 63
Location: Utah
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Sarah Koster wrote:I'm not certain if they're drought tolerant, but being perennial they should do better than an annual, have you thought about hops?
I've been fascinated with the idea of growing hops since I read about them being used as part of a bread starter in some funky old canadian pioneering book I read during my hobo adventures.



Have you ever tried wild yeast? Take a piece of fruit and put it in water--much simpler than using the open windowsill method. I had bread within a week.
 
Posts: 32
Location: Toronto, Ontario
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I'd build some sections of below ground level hugelkutur beds. All 200 feet might be too much for one season.
They could solve the drought and Alkalinity problems.
 
Lauren Ritz
Posts: 63
Location: Utah
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Rudy Valvano wrote:I'd build some sections of below ground level hugelkutur beds. All 200 feet might be too much for one season.
They could solve the drought and Alkalinity problems.



I hadn't thought of that. Thank you. Currently I'm just leaving those areas as leaf collection, but I do have extra wood...
 
Posts: 133
Location: Boudamasa, Chad
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Annuals:
-Lablab. Like runner beans but WAY more hardy--and more vigorous. Eat the beans, eat the leaves.
-Bitter gourd. Very hardy, grows like it's on caffeine, tasty (kind of like arugula) AND medicinal--mostly for diabetes.

Perennials:
- Grapes.
- climbing rose bushes--the edible rose-hip kind. I don't know any scientific names for this but they grow wild all over Europe.
 
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