Whether you're working in a community garden or using your own yard for your garden, most urban gardeners have to make the best use of the space that they have available. A chain-link fence may look like a boundary or barrier to most people, but to the creative gardener, it's just another surface that will hold her plants. One 12-foot length of chain-link fence can support enough plants to feed an entire family for months.
Cucumber is a natural for growing on a fence. The cucumber plant has strong vines and grasping tendrils that will climb quickly and easily up chain link surfaces. Growing the cucumbers up the fence has the advantage of keeping the food off the ground, so that it will be clean and be bothered by fewer pests. Keep harvesting cucumbers every two or three days when they ripen, and you will have a fence-full of cukes throughout the summer.
Peas are often one of the first seeds planted in the garden each year. Many gardeners use trellises or pea brush, but a chain link fence is an ideal place to put your pea plants. The thin vines and tendrils will quickly grow up the fencing, and the open design of the fence will make harvesting easy.
Pole beans come in many varieties, and all of them are wonderfully suited for growing on a fence. Beans will quickly clamber up any surface they find, and the open and airy design of the chain link fence will help to keep bean pests away and the beans clean and free of mud splashed while watering. Fresh beans can be planted and harvested throughout the season, and dried beans can be left on the fence until the entire plant dies, leaving nothing but bean husks to pick and shell.
Most gardeners grow tomatoes with stakes or cages, but tomatoes can be successfully grown against a fence. Place the seedling at the bottom of the fence, and watch while it grows. Straggling vines may have to be tied gently to the fence, much as gardeners tie them to poles. Vines have the ability to spread out more on a fence than in a cage, so pests may be less of a problem.