And here I thought I'd just throw some seed in the ground and get some
passion fruit. And to think, I used to collect the fruit in the wild
when I lived in Hawai'i. There were at least three varieties I knew
where stands of them were. Oh well. At least I know the work will be
well worth it. But clone propogation? You are way ahead of me there.
<shrugs> It's often easier and faster, hence more rewarding than seed
propagation. My two Wisteria vines are a perfect example! 5 years old
started from seed and only 12" tall. :-P
I bought a good book by Rodale's on plant propagation and it's very very
well written! Air layering seems to be the most promising for a lot of
Just take a small pot of good soil, (I plan to use Miracle Grow) and
place it near the main vine or plant. Choose a nice section of vine or
whatever, and select a promising joint where the leaves are coming out.
Remove the leaves and stuff that section an inch or so into the soil,
then just leave it alone for a period of time until that section sprouts
roots into the soil.
That can then be cut from the "mother plant" to make a new plant. :-)
Seems to be a bit more sure than cutting propagation using rooting
Sprout the Mung Bean to reply...
There is no need to change the world. All we have to do is toilet train the
I read in one of the gardening books that you might try soaking them in a
vinegar solution to help them germinate. It's supposed to simulate the acid they
go through inside the stomachs of birds when they're eaten in the wild.
I'm fortunate enough to have some wild passionflowers growing on my property,
but I was thinking of trying to spread them around a bit more. I did gather a
few of the fruit last year. Maybe I'll experiment with the seeds and see if I
can get them to germinate. I was also thinking maybe nicking the seeds might do
Growing old is mandatory. Growing wise is optional.
You said you'd be interested in criticisms as well as suggestions. I've
tried planting a couple of viny things near the house will less than ideal
results, though neither was edible.
One was ivy. The stuff crawls everywhere, and the day I found it growing
_into_ the den on the ground floor was the day I decided to get rid of it.
It managed to get a tendril into the house where the frame meets the
foundation. The other was a fast growing vine that put out masses of small
white flowers, don't remember the name. Pretty, but it managed to work it's
way up the house behind the siding and into the cellar both by the same way
the ivy got into the house and by growing through the space where the cellar
windows met the window frames.
My Dad planted wisteria so that it would climb up the pillars supporting the
little roof over the front door. He had the same sort of problem - the
plant is invasive and persistent, it doesn't stay just on the outside of the
house, it'll worm it's way through any little crack or gap.
You apparently want something pretty hefty if you want to shade the roof as
well as the sides of the house, and I'd guess you don't want to start fresh
every year so you'd also want it to be perennial.. I can see it prying off
the siding. If you have a brick or stone house, it'll try to creep in the
windows. If it makes it to the roof, it'll pry the shingles off. You want
shade, plant some trees. Make sure they're not too close to the house.
Honeysuckle is sorta nice and moderatly easy to maintain where you
want it. But its not edible. Smells really nice though.
"That which does not kill you,
has made a huge tactical error"
Check with your county agricultural extension office. It may be listed
under the state college (in New York, it is Cornell Extension office).
Their information and publications are mostly free and will be geared to
your exact location. They also usually are the base for 4-H groups and you
could get information through them.
In China, they grow grape vines that shade pig runs. The floor of the runs
(cement) is slightly sloped so that when hosed down, the water and manure
flow to water and fertilize the vines. Multiple use.
Learn something new every day
As long as you are learning, you are living
When you stop learning, you start dying
BTW - annuals are not a problem if I can get to the planter.
The house in question will have a concrete foam sandwich wall and roof deck.
And the plants would not be anchored to the house or roof, but to amn
offset trellis, wires, or arbor, etc., or suspended from pots hanging from
In essence, the foliage will form a shell, with an airspace between.
Any suggestions on minimum / maximum spacing between a wall and a trellis?
Shade trees aren't the best solution in this area. Unfortunately, due to the
clay soil, trees are susceptible to knockdown after soaking rains and
Plus the east / west walls need side shading more than overhead shading.
That's a good point. I know folks who had removed a mature tree, and found
their basement suddenly started flooding. Apparently the tree was sucking
out the excess moisture.
That's going to have to be a pretty hefty shell, just to be freestanding
all the way around. Are you planning on a wood structure, or steel pipe
How big is this going to be?
I'd allow at least four feet, both for ease of access during harvest
and pruning and to minimize the likelyhood of creepers bridging the
Use trees with tap roots--like pecans. When planting, dig a hole as deep
as you can with a posthole digger (rent a power augur if doing more than
a few holes; much less work, and you can go deeper). Dump a pound or two
of fertilizer into the holes, then add 10-15 gallons of water (I just
fill the hole a couple of times). Break up some of the clay from the
holes, mix with some peat moss, compost, topsoil, and a bit of plant
food; use this to backfill the hole and surround the tree roots when you
plant the tree. Save a bit of the mix for filling in around the trees,
as the mix will settle. Use the leftover clay for landscaping.
This approach gives the tree a good environment to start growing, an
easy path for the tap root to follow, and a great boost at the bottom
to really anchor it.
And, using pecans also means a crop to gather in late fall. Pecans
should be planted at least 40' apart.
So will the south wall.
Sounds like a few roots were growing near or into the foundation and
became conduits for water when they rotted out. Roots can leave some
big holes, and they don't close up quickly in hard soil like clay. I
have more filling work to do in my back yard from that very problem.
Gary Heston firstname.lastname@example.org
Windows is like SUVs; a bad idea, poorly implemented, unsafe, with a
Kiwis would be a good choice (if you're willing to consider perennials).
There are hardy varieties than can be grown to zone 4, or the more familiar
fuzzy varieties, which are hardy to zone 8 and might be ok in zone 7 if you
got lucky. They're fairly attractive and grow quickly, but take a while
before they'll start giving fruit. But would be lower maintenance than
annual vines, and you'll eventually get a lot more height out of them.
The problem you will run into with most typical climbing vegetables is that
they don't grow *that* tall. You might be able to get about 8 ft out of pole
beans, and 10-15 ft out of some types of runner beans, but that'll be about
it. Curcubits (squash, cukes, pumpkins, etc.) will probably top out at
around 6-8 ft. They (both beans and curcubits) also are fairly prone to a
variety of pests: leaf-eating insects, soil dwelling insects, and various
mildews and so on. Doesn't mean you shouldn't try them; just means they're
one of those plants that can be hit-or-miss, even for experienced gardeners.
If I were you, I'd experiment with the edible shade concept for now, but
also plant a proper row of quick-maturing shade trees. By the time the trees
get taller than the crop plants, you'll probably be sick of trying to grow
dinner on the side of your house and be ready to move your efforts to a
proper garden space.
don't know about that, but I'm in zone 11, and kabocha and chayote grow
much much longer than that here. I have kabocha vines that are more
than 50 feet from where I planted them (but they are on the ground).
add slugs and fruit flies, at least here.
what isn't clear to me in the question asked is whether this was only
for verticals (walls) or also for horizontals ('celing') in which case
cucurbites may be somewhat counterproductive as they may fall on your
head (so will of course passion fruit) eventually, and they can get
Maren, in Hilo, HI (I don't think kiwis grow here, otherwise I'd love
to have some of those too)
I use Thompson Seedless grapes on trellises. Plenty bushy, plenty
shady, need little to no water, makes wine, grapes, raisins.
"That which does not kill you,
has made a huge tactical error"
Beleive it or not pasta makes a great seasonal sunshade, it is edible,
and can be colored to suit.
Pasta comes in many varieties: macaroni, spaghetti, and lasagne, to
name three. You can cover your whole house in pasta, and after the
summer, you can bring it inside and cook up some wonderful and tastey
meals, to last the winter. http://www.tdc.ca/pasta.htm
Where does spaghetti come from? Switzerland.
Thanks to a very mild winter and the virtual elimination of the dreaded
spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop.
They are literally pulling strands of spaghetti down from their
So, there you have it pasta is my choice for a sunshade. You'll have to
contact the Swiss if you want a spaghetti tree.
you have many edible choices. I would only have a perennial vine, so I
would not consider Malabar spinach or chayote. Besides grapes, hardy
kiwis (but not fuzzy kiwis, unless it is a sheltered location - they
will take 20F for short periods, no more), akebia, and schizandra.
Hardy kiwis and schizandra are the best looking plants.
Noooo... the edible thing "kiwifruit."
A "kiwi" is bird (supposedly named after the sound it
makes.) Also, "kiwi" can mean a human from New
Zealand. The bird-type kiwi is the national bird, and
legally protected. And eating the human-type kiwi went
out of style about 150 years ago.
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