What do you use for vertical planting?

lavender_lass(4b)November 11, 2009

I want to add some height to my potager and I'm wondering, what do you all use for vertical planting?

I have an arch over the entrance and two small black metal obelisks (from Lowe's) in the front corners, but I need something taller in the middle beds. I want to have pole beans, mini-pumpkins and maybe some gourds, so what is the best thing to use? I had a bamboo teepee this year and that was okay for the pole beans, but I would like to find something more attractive. Lowe's had some nice wooden obelisks last summer, but they were kind of expensive (for four) and I don't know if I can leave them out in the winter. Any ideas?

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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

You and I must have been channelling thoughts! You are thinking just what I have been thinking.

Ideas that I have gleaned are: primitive teepees made out of treebranches etc: fine for a very country looking garden, maybe not so much for something a bit more formal.

Personally, I best like the look of wrought iron tuteurs. I keep hoping that I can catch them on clearance, since I want four too. (Wood ones look nice, but they look like they'd be hard for plants to twine around, plus, wood rots.)

Another idea I have had is to plant four boxwoods or rosemary plants in large pots, shear them into pyramids and use them at the ends of beds to give some height. These would be evergreen and give great bones to the garden, even in the off season. The downside is the need to keep them watered through our long summers. Rosemarys would be less demanding, but still...If I do this, then I'll just go with what's functional and cheap in the veggie plantings. Once the plants get growing you cannot see the structures anyway, plus I will want to move them every year for the purpose of crop rotation.

I'll be interested to hear everyone else's thoughts.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 9:21PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

I have some taller metal obelisks that work well for me. However, they are about the same size as a well grown tomato, and too short for beans...

I use several arches. My beds are raised wooden beds so this year I decided to do things like mirror the arches over the sides of the beds. This created some symmetry and looked OK. They are the cheap metal arches from "big lots" often called wedding arches. The only thing different I'll do next year is to paint them black to match all the other metals.

In another area for height I'm going to work on a "strawberry fountain". Made out of cement chunks (my "rocks") but in three levels so that the runners spill out and get down into the next tier. Basically a large, round, three level raised bed (if I can manage that). If that doesn't work I'll use an herb spiral idea and just make it fairly tall for some height. All around this area is a circlular walkway and I plan to have many arches over the walkway also for height.

I like the idea of doing some sort of topiary. Donnabaskets, I bet in our climate a lovely bay topiary would be nice.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 11:43PM
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ali-b

Great ideas! I fell in love with the garden in the "Art of Kitchen Gardening" book. It had the main bed in a cross and 4 4x4 beds for tomatoes. I made the square tomato trellises shown (plans were in the "18 Elegant Garden Structures" book. But, then I added these 11 foot trellises made out of 2by2s for my hubby's hops. The kids joked that I had a set of gallows in the garden. I'm looking for a better idea for next year.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2009 at 11:49AM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

ggg, I love the idea of Bay. I haven't grown it in years, nor have I seen it, but I will be pondering this one all winter long. When I had it at another house, it was in morning sun, afternoon shade. Do you know how does it in full sun, even in our hot summers?

    Bookmark   November 18, 2009 at 4:56PM
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lavender_lass(4b)

I would love to find some metal obelisks, but like ggg said, I'm afraid they'll be too short for the beans. I love the idea of a strawberry fountain. I've already been thinking of looking for a tiered fountain on clearance to use for flowers. I thought it would make a nice centerpiece to the garden and let the petunias hang over the edge. They're so pretty, but hard to mow around as an edger plant.

Donna- I think we are thinking the same thing, and I'll bet a lot of people are having similar problems. How do you find something attractive yet functional to use for pole beans and other climbers?

ali-b Gallows, that's funny! :)

    Bookmark   November 19, 2009 at 4:44PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

Bay can handle full sun here, no problem at all.

My obelisks do well for peas and for southern peas and half runners. They are taller than most, I ordered them through Ace, they are fairly inexpensive as these things go.

My newest idea is a more perminent vertical area. I got to large, heavy pieces of metal fencing from a local landscaper - removed from a clients garden. I'm going to take off rust and paint black (to match my own metal fence) and hang them between fence posts in the garden. It will make a living wall of plants, right beside a stairway down into the garden, a nice place to rotate beans and tall tomatoes through.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2009 at 10:54PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

This past summer I found some hinged bamboo teepes. I painted them purple and used them for the pole beans. They worked extremely well, but the teepees didn't weather particularly well. I will probably not get more than one more season from them. They were about six feet tall and made a circle on the ground about 3 feet across. I was growing Louisiana purple beans on them and although I had a few tendrils over the top, for the most part, they were high enough.

ggg, where do you get seed for half runners? My mother in law is always pining for them, but I have never seen seed here or in any catalogs. I like your idea of a living wall. It would be great if you could have a shaded sitting area under your stairs.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 7:55PM
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catalinagrey(MN 3/4)

I use metal conduit and plastic netting to trellis my tomatoes, beans and cucumbers.

It works really well!

You can see pics of me with my tomato walls in the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tomato Walls

    Bookmark   January 2, 2010 at 10:31PM
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