Vining fruits are perfect for vertical gardening

I don't really like vines very much, but there are some delectable and useful fruits that grow on vines. Loving fruit as I do, I could not pass up the opportunity to have a few of these in my garden. There are so many shapes, sizes and varieties to choose from. Plus, they're real space savers that can be grown vertically. Make sure to choose on that is suitable for your one and growing conditions so you'll have a bounty of fruit.

The ever-popular grape vines

Where I live in Florida, we can only grow the native muscadine grapes, but they're the grape of my childhood, so I don't mind. Bunch grapes are a favorite in northern parts of the U.S. You really should check with a local nursery or your local extension service to find out which grape varieties are best for your area, since varieties abound. If wine making is your goal (, you'll grow different grapes than those for eating or preserving.

Kiwifruit is not from where you think

Would you believe that kiwifruit originated in China, not New Zealand? New Zealand started growing the fuzzy fruit in 1909 from seed and now grows 99% of the world's supply. Kiwifruit requires cross-pollination between male and female plants, and the ratio of 1 male to 5 female vines is sufficient. Kiwifruit grows at altitudes between 2,000 and 6,500 feet, similar to the area around North Carolina and Virginia. There is a large kiwifruit farm in SC as well, because the vines love the sandy loam soil. Protection is needed if temperatures dip below 29 degrees to avoid death of the vines.

Passion fruit vines grow more than just flowers

Passion vines have gorgeous flowers and some butterflies use it as larval food, but that's not all it's good for. There are several passiflora vines that bear fruit, but four are the most commonly grown. One is the native Passiflora Incarnata, commonly called maypop, which grows wild in the southern U.S. My grandmother taught me how to tell when maypop fruit was ripe, and how to make the tart but tasty beverage from the pulp. All of the other edible varieties are tropical. P. edulis has yellow and purple fruited varieties. P. ligularis or giant granadilla, originates from Mexico and bears large, purplish-red fruits. Passion fruit pulp is generally scooped out with a spoon and eaten along with the edible seeds, or used to make a beverage or sherbet.

Luscious melons from your back yard

Most melons are from Africa, so they need a long growing season to set and ripen fruit. The three most common commercial species are watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew. Tropical melons, such as African horned melon, are smaller and only grown in warmer climates, but are perfect for trellising. Watering melons can be like walking a tightrope, as they suffer from too much or too little water. Since they don't transplant well, it's best to sow them directly where you want them to grow. A heavy support is needed to grow melons vertically due to the weight of the fruits. I had cantaloupes growing out of my compost pile one year and they were the sweetest melons I've ever grown.

If you have a fence or wall you want to hide, vining fruits can be the perfect solution. For small gardens, growing vining fruit saves the space that a normal fruit tree would take. No matter what the reason, growing vining fruit is worth the effort involved.