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Vertical elements in the potager

Posted by lavender_lass WA zone 4 (My Page) on
Wed, Apr 20, 11 at 13:06

What vertical elements (arbors, arches, obelisks, teepees, etc.) do you have in your potager? What do you plan to grow on them? Do you grow anything on your fence, if you have one?

I have some arches, an arbor and a few obelisks and I'm mostly growing clematis and sweet peas on them, with a few other annual vines, later in the summer...maybe canary vine or morning glory. Morning glory can overwhelm many arches, but with our very short summers, it's a race to see if they get 6' tall before frost :)

For peas and climbing beans, I'm planning to grow them on trellises, in the garden area, with other veggies, while the flowers are on the arches. I want the nieces and nephews to know...we do NOT eat things off the arches (sweet peas) only from the trellises (edible peas).

How about you? Any pictures, yet? I'll post something, when my sweet peas finally come up...but for now, mostly weeds, but they're very green and lush! LOL


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Vertical elements in the potager

Hi Lavender,
I've planted out my greens garden this weekend. Well, actually about 1/2 of it before it started raining again. I used my 2' x 4' square trellises for my peas. Last year, I planted the peas and then followed with tomatoes. I think it looked really neat. This year I'll be making some taller tripod type trellises for my tomatoes.

Other vertical elements include: a line of five 9' tall by 5' wide arch trellises for my hops and squash, a 5' tall by 4' wide arbor bench that will either have squash or melons on it this year and a entrance arbor for the greens garden that will have malabar spinach on it (hopefully).


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"arbors, arches, obelisks, teepees"

yes yes yes and yes.

I have 4 oblisks we bought, one from Big Lots is larger and has a rose on it, the other three are smaller and I have peas on them right now.
There are currently two permanent arches that are stronger, there are two cheap craft store arches which move around, and there are various tee-pees, tomato cages and bamboo trellises. There's a bamboo grove on an empty lot near me, we just go cut it down, cure it and use it.
I have 12 more pieces of rebar to use for arches as soon as I finish getting the new garden in.

Growing on permanent arches: honeysuckle and moonflowers, hyacinth bean vine all on one (the honeysuckle is small still). The other will get beans and malabar spinach, and eventually I'll add clematis. The new one will get a rose and "something else" which may be a clematis on one side, some kind of food on the other. The smaller trellises always get some sort of cucumber and/or bean vines. The new arches made of rebar which will go in will have a rose every 2nd arch, and beans or food in between, forming a circle over a walkway. There's a huge center garden up high, and I've been wondering what to plant there. I'd like strawberries with a sculpture of some kind in the middle eventually...but for now perhaps a nice tall bean teepee with beautifully colored bean vines.


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RE: Vertical elements in the potager

  • Posted by natal Louisiana 8b (My Page) on
    Wed, Apr 20, 11 at 19:22

The two obelisks in the veggie garden are home to tomatoes this season. The arbor has 2 Climbing Pinkie roses that I'm less than impressed with. I'll more than likely be pulling them in the fall. Still trying to figure out what to grow there. Last two years it was Sweet Autumn clematis. Can't seem to find the right fit.

The garden fence has a few pieces of firecracker vine starting to climb. The original one is on a small trellis at the rear of the garden. Had a moonflower vine crawling on the fence last year, so I'm sure I'll get volunteers later this year.

Have obelisks in other areas of the yard home to clematis and sweet peas & firecracker vine.

GGG, I grew a single hyacinth bean last year. OMG, what a monster! It grew up the fence and into my neighbor's Chinese privet. I'm praying there won't be any volunteers this year. It was beautiful, but way too aggressive.

firecracker vine:

hyacinth bean vine:

one side of this year's veggie garden:


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RE: Vertical elements in the potager

My potager is still being created - most of it is just plans on paper and in my head, but there are vertical elements on the way! I just got an old wooden ladder that I plan on painting and using to support some flowering vines, I'm not sure which kind yet, probably sweet peas or morning glories. Once the fence is installed I will have an arbor arching over the gate with roses and clematis growing on it. Of course there will be tomato cages, and I have been cutting and curing some nice, straight water saps from my elder trees to make some tepees and other stuff with.

One day I will have a beautiful and productive potager garden, step one has been taken (my first raised bed is built and in the process of being filled with dirt) and it's only a matter of time before my dream garden is a reality!


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Lav- I hesitate to post a picture of my mess in progress, but I don't know what to call my tomato contraption. So, a photo it is. You can't really see everything in this shot, but I have the tomato contraption, 3 teepees for beans and peas, and a folding support for the squash. Paths a fence are next on my to-do list, and I hope to use the fence as a support for more items.

Actually, today I stumbled on a book on this topic while on Amazon. Maybe there are a few out there with good photos.

My first year mess-in-progress...


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Young gardener -- Looks good. What have you got going on in your first bed? Also, nice is having a shed so nearby! I like your vertical structures. I'm hoping to do something like that for my tomatoes.

BTW, I've come to realize that there's very few moments when the garden is "picture perfect" since we're usually doing something to it all the time -- weeding, watering, planting, harvesting, etc. I always think I've got the perfect shot only to see a bucket, hose or some such lurking in the background.


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Ali- The first bed is fruit bushes (blueberry, blackberry) and some marigolds. I had to slip some of my boxwood basil in this bed when I ran out of room. I've already outgrown my boxes, so I'm getting a bit worried. LOL!


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Young Gardener, things are looking good, especially vertical elements.
I put mine in yesterday (some of them). And mine are a mis-matched group, some bamboo, two kinds of metal arches...I have to put the tomato cages out tomorrow (and am envious of Natal's. I bought those for my FIL for Christmas but Santa did not get the HINT)...I have a lot of vertical elements to make the most of space and to keep vining vegetables out of ground insects. Once they get covered in leaves, everything looks super!


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  • Posted by natal Louisiana 8b (My Page) on
    Fri, May 6, 11 at 11:46

GGG, write Santa a letter, so maybe he'll "get" it this year. If it's any consolation, I used homemade hog fencing cages for years. They were rusty, misshapen, and a pain to store, but they did the job.


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Storage is the issue natal. I like to keep the storage area very organized and what I need to store to a minimum. We use the round cages at church, and they are a super pain to store. We are also slowly going to switch to the Texas cages. I can just hang them on the wall in the basement hall tucked out of the way!!


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  • Posted by natal Louisiana 8b (My Page) on
    Sun, May 8, 11 at 16:51

I store my 6 in the original box standing up in the shed. I'd love to get another 6, but that would mean dh would have to get rid of something to make room. ;)


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RE: Vertical elements in the potager

Has anyone tried growing vine cukes up a fence?


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  • Posted by natal Louisiana 8b (My Page) on
    Mon, May 9, 11 at 18:09

Lpink, I used to grow cukes on trellis netting. Worked great!


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My fence is chainlink. I already have to work to keep wild morning glories off of it. I don't know much about cukes, I have never grown them UP, just "along" in the garden, but I'd rather grow cukes than peas or flowers, since I can never get the small kind I like at the store. I guess I should just give it a try. I have some seeds for some pickling variety. It's not a bush variety, but I'm not sure how "viney" it gets. Any hints? Wonder if I could intertwine it with something flowery, or is that asking too much, lol!


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  • Posted by natal Louisiana 8b (My Page) on
    Tue, May 10, 11 at 17:34

Growing vertically is great for saving space plus I think the cucumbers have a straighter shape, not to mention they're easier to harvest. I don't think I'd vine anything with the cukes. Give 'em their own space and let them go.

Here is a link that might be useful: a few pics


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Here's a shot of all the vertical elements from last year's garden. They all look a bit crooked as I was still setting things up. As I mentioned before, the square trellises were for tomatoes, the arches were for hops, squash and cherry tomatoes and the arbor bench in back had luffa on it.

The luffa was slow to take off, so I let some morning glories grow up as well. I wish I had a photo of all the luffa hanging down. You couldn't sit on the bench without getting hit on the head with one.


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  • Posted by natal Louisiana 8b (My Page) on
    Tue, May 24, 11 at 12:23

Ali, what a beautiful garden! What's the purple next to your chives?

I grew luffas one year back in the late 80s. They vined through the ligustrum hedge. Looked really weird seeing those long brown gourds hanging from the branches.


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The purple stuff is my catmint. I love catmint. I actually relocated the ones inside the garden to another area outside the fence and replaced it with roses. No sense using "protected" space with something deer won't touch.


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Ali, would you mind posting some close ups of your square structures for the tomatoes? This year I hope to get a fence up and next year I hope to get some more permanent verticals. Those look great because I could wrap them with plastic to get a jump on the growing season (our average last frost is May 15th). Thank you!


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