Climbing vegetables are perfect for vertical gardens, especially in areas with limited space! For a vertical garden to work, you need a sturdy trellis designed to support and guide the growth of your climbing plants.
In this blog, we will talk about 11 of the most popular climbing vegetables, from vining varieties like pole beans and snow peas to vigorous climbers such as Malabar spinach and bitter melons. Keep in mind we will only cover vegetables; there will be another blog post for climbing fruits!
Types of Trellises
There are several types of trellises. For example, obelisk trellises resemble tall, pyramid-like structures, cattle trellises are made of sturdy wire mesh, while A-frames provide support on both sides of the A-shaped support structure.
Vego Garden has wall trellises that can be attached to fences, walls, or other vertical surfaces and arched trellises that provide shade and give your garden a more alluring look. Both can be attached to raised metal beds, are rust-resistant, and are durable, meaning they won't rot or collapse and will last you a long time!
1. Pole Beans
Pole beans are a popular climbing vegetable since they shoot up from sprouts, leaving some garden space below for other plants that can benefit from shade. These vining vegetables produce higher yields compared to bush varieties and are an excellent option for both warm and cold climates.
2. Malabar Spinach
Malabar spinach is a warm-season plant ideal for subtropical and warmer climates with long days of full sunlight that thrives on trellises. The best part is that Malabar spinach is a fast-growing plant, which means you can harvest its leaves and stems 6 to 8 weeks after planting up until you see it flowering. Its unique tendrils add a decorative touch to your garden and pack your meals with an extra dose of nutrients!
3. Indeterminate Tomatoes
Indeterminate tomato plants are vigorous natural climbers that can grow strong on trellises or other support systems. These tomatoes are especially suited to warm climates since they need full sun to thrive. They have a longer growing season than determinate tomatoes, lasting 2 to 3 months, but the harvest is bountiful!
4. Snow Peas
Snow peas are traditionally grown as low-lying plants but can be adapted to thrive vertically using trellises and usually mature within 60 to 70 days after sowing. Snow peas thrive in cooler climates and are well suited for growing in early spring or late summer, so gardeners in temperate regions can enjoy their crisp harvest.
5. Sugar Snap Peas.
Sugar snap peas have tendrils that wrap around supports, allowing them to climb gracefully up trellises. Sugar snap peas are usually ready for harvest 60 to 70 days after sowing or when the pods are plump, the peas are tender inside, and the pods still have a satisfying snap when snapped in half. Sugar snap peas thrive in cooler climates and regions with moderate temperatures, making them perfect for planting in early spring or late summer!
6. Bitter Melons
Bitter melon is also commonly referred to as "bitter gourd" or "bitter squash." Bitter melons are an acquired taste, and while not the most aesthetically pleasing crop, it is amazing for your health. In fact, in some cultures, it's commonly used for medicinal purposes! Bitter melons are vigorous climbers who prefer warm climates and love to climb on trellises.
7. Luffa Gourds
These edible gourds, also known as "sponge gourds" or "loofah gourds," are characterized by their long, cylindrical fruits, intricate vines, rattling noises, and remarkable climbing skills. This natural sponge has a climbing behavior that allows access to sunlight and ensures that the developing fruits are well-positioned to receive air circulation and adequate pollination; plus, you can harvest them while green for food or leathery tan for sponges!
8. Butternut Squash
Unsurprisingly, another variety from the squash family made it to the list!
Butternut squash unfolds with an intricate network of leaves and tendrils seeking full sun exposure while creating partial shade for your garden. Butternut squash takes about 100 to 120 days to mature until it reaches that pretty faded orange color, perfect for soups, stews, or fall decor!
9. Peppers (Climbing Varieties)
Climbing peppers are known for their unique ability to climb vertical supports and their different levels of spiciness. Climbing peppers are warm-season plants that thrive in warm and tropical conditions. Most peppers need around 60 to 90 days from transplanting to produce mature fruits; once you harvest them, you can dry them, can them, or eat them straight up!
10. Bell peppers
Bell peppers are naturally not aggressive climbers, but some varieties can be trained to climb trellises. Bell peppers flourish in warm climates with ample sunlight, making them well-suited for gardens in subtropical and tropical regions. Generally, bell peppers take around 60 to 85 days to reach maturity, and once they do, they produce a bountiful!
Certain cucumber varieties can be trained to thrive vertically using trellis frames. Cucumber plants are typically ready for picking within 50 to 70 days from planting, depending on the specific region. Climbing cucumber varieties excel in warm climates with ample sunlight, making them particularly well-suited for gardens in subtropical and tropical areas. Cucumbers are a great option, especially since you can harvest them once they start looking mature, and you can get up to 20 from one vine!
These 11 climbing vegetables will provide you with a vertical oasis of flavor, color, and texture in your garden, as well as provide a safe haven for pollinators!