If you are installing a chain link fence around your property, you may think all you have to look forward to is a bare fence to separate your yard from your neighbor's yard. The truth is you can use your chain link fence for growing fresh vegetables for your family. Grow these vining veggies to transform your chain link fence into a privacy fence and put fresh food on the table, too.
Peas are a natural for chain ink fences, as the tiny tendrils cling to the wire mesh as the plants climb upward. The medium green foliage provides a wall of green while plump pods offer a tasty treat. Plant peas in the spring as soon as the soil can be worked. For best results, plant tall varieties, such as tall telephone peas or climbing snap or snow peas and plant them directly in front of the fence. For variety try 'Golden Sweet' snow peas that produce an abundance of flat, gold pods or tuck in some purple sugar snap peas that are eaten pod and all.
Pole beans create a wall of lush green that stays green all summer while producing an abundance of slender pods. These come in green, yellow and purple varieties, making them perfect for adding a splash of color to the yard. Kids (and adults) love picking fresh beans right from the vine as a nutritious and tasty snack, but you'll love this versatile veggie on the table, too. Plant pole beans along the front of the fence after the weather has warmed in the spring and all danger of frost has passed in your area. Try scarlet runner beans with their scarlet blooms to attract both hummingbirds and butterflies while and in bloom and provide you with tasty green beans, too.
Cucumber plants produce large, sprawling vines that will eagerly climb your chain link fence with a little guidance from you. When planted in the spring after the danger of frost has passed cucumbers will blanket the fence with green by early to midsummer. Ripening fruits grow long and straight as they are held vertically above the ground. Try a variety of cucumbers, such as picklers, slicers and other specialty cukes to add variety to your diet and visual interest to your vertical garden. Add Mexican sour gherkins for a touch of whimsy. They are closely related to cucumbers and produce fruits that look like miniature watermelons. Other unusual varieties include white and lemon cucumbers. Gently guide the vines to the fence and attach them with a soft cloth or plant tie to get them started up the fence.
Squash plants produce massive vines with large, showy leaves and make a dramatic display on a fence. Like cucumber vines, the squash vines may need some guidance in the beginning but once they get the idea, they will eagerly cling to the fence as they grow. Squash plants that produce large or heavy fruits will need some support for the fruit, as the weight may damage the vines. Use a sling of soft material to cradle the fruit and tie the ends to the fence. Make sure the sling is loose enough to allow the squash to grow to maturity. You can use old t-shirt material, cheesecloth or any lightweight fabric to make the sling.
Nearly any vining vegetable can be trained to climb a chain link fence to create a living wall of foliage for privacy or to add visual interest in your yard. Tuck in a few flowers to add bright color and attract bees to the garden. Climbing nasturtiums can be interplanted with your veggies and are thought to repel insect pests, too. Plant a row of bright marigolds in front of your veggies to help repel pests and enhance the beauty of your yard.
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