Win a copy of Straw Bale Building Details this week in the Straw Bale House forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • paul wheaton
  • Anne Miller
  • Mike Jay
  • Jocelyn Campbell
stewards:
  • Devaka Cooray
  • Burra Maluca
  • Joseph Lofthouse
garden masters:
  • Dave Burton
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Mike Barkley
  • Shawn Klassen-Koop
  • Pearl Sutton

Tall plants for a narrow space  RSS feed

 
pollinator
Posts: 174
Location: Utah
39
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have a narrow space between a wall and a sidewalk. It's probably a foot wide at its widest. I wanted to plant a fruit tree hedge, to go two to three feet over the top of the wall (easy to trim, food producing, and forming a visual barrier to the front yard) but I'm concerned about the tree roots so I'm looking for other suggestions. I still WANT to do the fruit tree hedge, but I don't think it's going to happen.

The cement wall is 4 - 5 feet tall. I can't do grapes because of the narrow space. They would take over the sidewalk. It has to be something drought tolerant, perennial, and produce something. Preferably growing two to three feet over the top of the wall. So far my brain has come up with pistachio, filberts, and passionfruit. I will be planting gojiberry down there to see how it does, but that won't be the primary plant.
Front-wall.jpg
[Thumbnail for Front-wall.jpg]
 
master steward
Posts: 4000
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
968
books food preservation hunting solar trees woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Not that this is much help but I think filberts get pretty wide (10+').  At least hazelnuts do.
 
Lauren Ritz
pollinator
Posts: 174
Location: Utah
39
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
OK. Thanks. They'll essentially be espaliered, so the main concern would be root mass--would the roots disturb either the wall or the sidewalk? The filberts I've had before (they died last summer) had a pretty small rootmass and one big taproot.
 
Mike Jay
master steward
Posts: 4000
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
968
books food preservation hunting solar trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Gotcha...  I have no idea about the roots, sorry.  Can you put up a trellis for vining plants?  That may give you another option or two.
 
Lauren Ritz
pollinator
Posts: 174
Location: Utah
39
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I could. The plant would have to have a relatively small spread so as not to go over the sidewalk (the city gets sticky about that). The trellis would have to fit directly against the wall in order to allow sufficient space. I was wondering about something that would climb the wall by itself, but I can't think of anything that fits all the criteria.
 
Posts: 153
15
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
How about berries, like raspberries? They grow about as tall as an adult, won't grow out of control and you trim them in the winter.

Bananas have soft roots, and there are dwarf varieties that grow to just 3 meters (9'). Their leaves are wide though.
 
Posts: 1
Location: Georgia
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You couldn't do some type of grape and prune them to not start until they reach a trellis on top of the wall?  I have many wild muscadines on my property that the vines snake WAAAAYYYY up in the trees.  Whether it's the deer eating them at ground level or they just don't put out until they reach sunshine, the top of the trees, maybe 20-30' up are just full of muscadines.  The vines at ground level, some of them are 3-4" in diameter.  It's frustrating because all I can eat are the ones that fall on the ground.    If you could get your vine up to the top of the wall and then train it all over a trellis up there, that would provide your screen.  'Course maybe that defeats the purpose and you could just plant the vine up on top of the wall in the first place.  Look up the local extension agent for your area and ask them about a fruit plant with a deep root that doesn't spread out too much.  They're very knowledgeable about what grows best in your area.
 
pollinator
Posts: 594
Location: 6a
117
dog forest garden hugelkultur trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I like the idea of doing a vine. Grapes are good.   Maybe an heirloom or Lady Banks rose.  You would be pruning and training both onto a trellis.   Possibly, Sunchoke/Jerusalem Artichoke (they grow straight up).  A perennial flowerbed and/or Herbs.    A mix of Alpine strawberries and Rhubarb.  

You could espalier just about any dwarf-fruit-tree.

I would not do bush berries of any kind, that's just me though.  I have a raspberry patch that has quadrupled in size by sending out runners.  You would be constantly trimming berries. Blackberries, no way.  Bwa Ha ha, they grow like an alien.  

I was thinking of blueberries, there are dwarf varieties, but even my dwarfs send out 5 ft runners.   My goji berry is about 12 ft tall and gangly as all get out, probably not the best unless you tie it or trellis it.

If it were me I would probably do an heirloom rose or espalier a fruit tree,  just because they are so beautiful.  You could companion plant the rose trellis with a vining vegetable until it fills in.  This year I did cucumbers next to my baby roses and neither seemed to mind.    

Good luck with whatever you do.

Scott
 
master steward
Posts: 2522
Location: USDA Zone 8a
606
bee dog food preservation greening the desert hunting cooking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That is a beautiful retaining wall!  

If it was mine, I would do some sort of edible perennial vines with both flowers and fruits. Something to compliment the wall would be nice. Like the passion fruit, you mentioned.  Maybe kiwi, malabar spinach, chayote and nasturtiums.  Strawberries would make a nice ground cover.
 
pollinator
Posts: 296
Location: South of Capricorn
73
food preservation homestead rabbit
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
passionfruit would probably love that wall if it catches and holds warmth.
 
gardener
Posts: 2293
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
146
forest garden trees urban
 
Lauren Ritz
pollinator
Posts: 174
Location: Utah
39
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Tereza Okava wrote:passionfruit would probably love that wall if it catches and holds warmth.



It does catch the sun quite well. It faces south-east and catches the morning sun, so it's the first place to warm up in the morning and shaded from the worst of the afternoon sun.
 
Tereza Okava
pollinator
Posts: 296
Location: South of Capricorn
73
food preservation homestead rabbit
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would be concerned about safety and (i live in a city with a lot of stray dogs, forgive me) dog urine. So strawberries/ground edibles would be out. Passionfruit is easy to guide and you don't have to worry about the roots tripping anyone or it dropping stuff someone might slip on.
However, the problem with passionfruit is that they don't live that long. I'm on maybe my 3rd, I live in a temperate climate (USDA 9B, we get a few frosts and enough rain) and they die after a few years. You figure it till take a good three years to make a visual barrier (vines: 1 year sleep, 1 year creep, 1 year leap). Then if you're lucky you have a few more years til it decides to roll over, and you have to start again. I love my passionfruits, but if it were my space I'd go with something like nuts, so you don't lose your time investment.

(maybe I'm doing something wrong. Passionfruits are grown commercially here and the recommendation is to rip the vines out after 5 years, though, so I don't think I'm too far off the mark).
 
Lauren Ritz
pollinator
Posts: 174
Location: Utah
39
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Tereza Okava wrote:I would be concerned about safety and (i live in a city with a lot of stray dogs, forgive me) dog urine. So strawberries/ground edibles would be out. Passionfruit is easy to guide and you don't have to worry about the roots tripping anyone or it dropping stuff someone might slip on.
However, the problem with passionfruit is that they don't live that long. I'm on maybe my 3rd, I live in a temperate climate (USDA 9B, we get a few frosts and enough rain) and they die after a few years. You figure it till take a good three years to make a visual barrier (vines: 1 year sleep, 1 year creep, 1 year leap). Then if you're lucky you have a few more years til it decides to roll over, and you have to start again. I love my passionfruits, but if it were my space I'd go with something like nuts, so you don't lose your time investment.

(maybe I'm doing something wrong. Passionfruits are grown commercially here and the recommendation is to rip the vines out after 5 years, though, so I don't think I'm too far off the mark).



Good points. I'm not planning on strawberries--the lowest I'm considering for this area is goji, which has thorns. I figure the passionfruit is worth a try. I can "root" runners each year for a continuing supply and just see how it does. I have seeds and starts right now, so nothing is lost if it dies except a few minutes of my time.
 
Lauren Ritz
pollinator
Posts: 174
Location: Utah
39
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I pulled the sand out for about a foot down, mixed in mulch/leaves/etc and put it back to about four inches below the level of the sidewalk.

We had a storm last night and this area got a lot of water, the water line maybe 2 feet up the wall. In the area where I pulled the soil out it was still wet a good foot down. I didn't go any deeper. The water just skimmed over the rest and wet maybe the top 1/2 inch. As a bonus, the storm also brought in a bunch of debris and leaves to fill the vacated space almost up to the level of the sidewalk. So today I finished digging out the area in question so any future storms will store the water rather than diverting it.

We get storms like this maybe two or three times a year, so if I can catch that water then anything relatively drought tolerant, cold tolerant, and heat tolerant :) should do fine. Once I decide what to grow I'll be putting in pipes to force the water even deeper.
 
What's that smell? I think this tiny ad may have stepped in something.
Food Forest Card Game - Game Forum
https://permies.com/t/61704/Food-Forest-Card-Game-Game
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!