cattle panel arch...

gizzardfarm(7A)December 26, 2007

Last year i used 16ft cattle panels anchored with t posts on each side.. i planted a seed by each runner and boy was it nice..easy weeding..and boy was it easy picking i could easily walk underneth the beans and pick then pick the outside..has anyone else used this method or have any suggestions to make it better????

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I don't know if I have a suggestion to make it better - it sounds efficient and fun!

Were these 5 by 16foot cattle panels? Was it difficult to install the arch?

On SE Asian farms, pole beans are sometimes planted near large rocks or scree on a slope.

Years ago when I was just a kid, I found that a really short fence worked quite well if the bean seeds were widely spaced. I've always remembered doing that but never repeated it. Just goes to shows that the plants want to climb - it doesn't matter to them where they climb.


    Bookmark   December 26, 2007 at 7:36PM
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yes they are 5x16... and they were real easy to put up.. i just drove two metal t post into the ground attatched a couple of ties bent the arch (about 7 feet tall or so and drove two more t posts and connected. i then planted a seed by each runner on each side. i used 4 panels and it was the best bean crop i ever had. i normally use creek canes and make tee-pees but have to really weed like crazy with a hoe because one cant get a tiller inside tee-pee. this way i had virtually no weeds and they were so easy to pick.. i have over the winter bought a couple of panels every fiday and hope to have 25 or 30 by planting time..

    Bookmark   December 27, 2007 at 9:49AM
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aberwacky_ar7b(Southern Ozarks, AR z7a)

We've been doing this for several years, and last year tried cucumbers and a few tomatoes this way--it worked great, especially for the cucumbers, which hung down inside the arches, leaving the prickly leaves mostly on the outside (I have a bad reaction to the leaves and stems, so this was GREAT for me).

As a bonus, it makes a nice place for my dog to nap, and to park the stroller for my youngest to rest in the shade while I'm in the garden.

This year, we've bought more arches, and my family put them up for me as a Christmas present. I'm going to grow all of my pole beans, my cukes and about half of my tomatoes on them.

Another benefit is that you can use the bed area on the outside of the arches to extend the growing season for less heat-tolerant plants, or to provide a little shade for plants that like it. I've used that space for lettuce, swiss chard, and some other greens.


    Bookmark   January 10, 2008 at 10:42AM
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Gizzardfarm and aberwacky:

When you bend the panels, do you bend them into A-shapes or L-shapes?

Is there any chance that any of you could post a couple of pictures of the panel set-up?

Thanks so much. It sound like a neat set-up, and I'd love to see some pics to better understand how it's done.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 3:26PM
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I came across a nice photo of a cattle panel arch in the greenhouse forum:

If the link doesn't work, just go to the forum and scroll down a bit to the post with "cattle panel" in the subject.

Looks pretty cool to me - but I don't think it would work with my particular garden layout.


    Bookmark   January 16, 2008 at 9:15PM
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Anne, that's a great link. Thanks for posting it.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2008 at 2:39PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

i have done something similar with pliable lengths of wood. In my case I used long straight shoots from pruning an apple tree. I drove them in along each side of a grass path through my vegetable garden about a foot apart. I then pulled the tops together and tied them to a 'ridge pole' (also apple prunings) making a tunnel like an inverted U. I grew runner beans up each pole and ended up with a lovely green tunnel about 15 feet long with the beand hanging down for easy picking. A bean tunnel is very pretty and practical.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2008 at 10:39AM
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my archs arent l or a shaped they are arched like an upsidedown u. i would love to post pics for yall but am somewhat lacking in that area (i dont know how) ha oh well thanks to all for the discussion...

    Bookmark   January 21, 2008 at 3:23PM
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Gizzardfarm, thanks for 'U'r reply.....but please don't shout at me...... it makes me nervous.....

    Bookmark   January 21, 2008 at 10:41PM
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rdback(Z6 VA)

Hey Gizzardfarm,

I think using cattle panels is a great idea. I even went to the store to get some. The problem is I never really thought about how LONG sixteen feet IS! I got a fullsize pick-up so I don't have a problem hauling things - until now! How the heck do you transport these things lol?

    Bookmark   March 14, 2008 at 10:43AM
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I have the same problem on hauling them. I plan on using a covered trailer and figured I would jut bend them like a trellis and then tie off the ends. I plan to use it as a trellis anyway.


    Bookmark   March 14, 2008 at 11:41AM
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I intended to do so, but living in an urban area I had to place a special order at the factory, at least 35 panels. So I did it with rebar (which is not self-supporting) with wooden posts to hold it up. It is a great arrangement. Visitors love the arches covered in pole beans in midsummer. At the base of the pole beans, cabbages and other greens enjoy both the midsummer shade and the nitrogen, and grow enormous.

Picking, whether string beans, shelling beans, or cukes, is a breeze. But I recommend the 20ft panels,which make an arch which is just over 6ft in the midpoint. One can also turn the arches into a hoophouse in the winter (to preserve those greens for consumption through the winter), though it is tricky to hold the plastic in place on windy days. Mine always blows away, whereas my smaller hoophouses take the wind without problems.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2008 at 8:28PM
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Do you put your arches in north to south or east to west direction to get the most sun?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 1:33PM
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I finally installed my cattle panels. I did two panels end to end and mine look like the link below except twice as long. It was fairly easy to setup, I did it along with the help of rope to bend them.

I planted Asparagus beans and Suyho cucumber transplants around them. Now if I could keep the pesky squirrels from eating my plants, everything would be fine. They look neat in the backyard, and will look great covered I'm sure.

thanks for the idea,


Here is a link that might be useful: Cattle Panel Picture

    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 12:58PM
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aka_peggy(Central Md 6b)

Here's a partial view of 4-16' cattle panels in my garden. I love em!..

    Bookmark   July 5, 2008 at 5:25PM
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How did you support the cattle panels? I can't quite see enough detail to figure it out.



    Bookmark   December 21, 2008 at 11:23PM
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I use the cattle panels to grow beans and tomatoes plus other vines.
I placed my panel in rows 5 ft apart tied to 6.5 ft. "T" post pounded 18 inches deep. Then I cut and shaped some panel pieces to make a cap.
If I'm able to I'll post a picture.
To haul the panels you arch them in the bed of the pickup. Then be very carefull removing them. They become spring loaded and can be hazzardous.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2008 at 12:05AM
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One can haul these panels, even in a small pickup, by putting first one end into the bed, against the cab, and then (with the tail gate up) bending the panel upwards while moving the other end towards the tail gate. Once there, simply set the tail end of the panel inside the bed. The tail gate holds them in an "arch," as l_james mentioned above. Also, as l_james mentioned, one needs to be cautious about unloading them. If there are more than two together, they act like a giant spring and can really hurt a person when it's time to unload. What I've done is to use some clothes line and tie front to back, thus securing that arch. Then I drop the tail gate, step to THE SIDE and, with a sharp knife, cut that line.... BOING! Be sure that nothing and nobody is standing behind the truck!

It's easier for me to pick one panel up each time I go to the feed store.

I use cattle panels quite a bit. But I've settled on using them like Bill P (gonefishing) used to. I set three T posts in a straight line and then fasten the cattle panel to them. I usually fasten it so that the bottom of the panel is about a foot off the ground. Pole beans have no problem reaching up that far, and this gives me a 6' trellis for my beans.

I have a friend who fastens two 16' panels together and makes a 30' arch! It's awesome! At no point is the arch too tall for his wife to easily reach the beans. He does, however, have to stabilize his arch, with some T posts and poles.

Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   December 26, 2008 at 7:41AM
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Thanks guys. I would think using them like macmex does is probably the most efficient way but my wife seems set on the arches so I'll try it that way. A friend at work has access to a trailer so transporting them won't be a problem.

I'll use most of them for tomatos but I will sit aside a couple for beans this year.


    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 6:23PM
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rdback(Z6 VA)


I was able to get the panels home and used them this past year for peas, beans and cucumbers.

For the peas, I used them straight (running lengthwise) as George suggests - worked great.

For the beans and cucumbers, I installed as an arch, similar to the photos above - also worked great.

A couple of lessons learned however.

1) If you use zip-ties (those plastic, self-locking things), be sure to use black ones with UV protection. The white ones degrade and break. They sure make it easy to install the panels though - they worked great.

2) If your panels are 16 feet long and you're installing an arch, be careful on the spacing between the t-posts across the row from each other (if that makes sense). In the picture Anne and Dean pointed to above, I think that panel is only 12 feet long, with a spread of what looks to be about 3 feet. I used this picture as a reference when I installed the four t-posts, leaving about 3 feet to "walk-thru". Then I arched the panel and installed between the posts. The resulting peak was(is) over 7 feet tall - higher than I can reach comfortably. I opted to leave it that way because I didn't want to pull the t-posts and re-drive them! Probably a mistake - spent many an hour standing on a five gallon bucket picking beans late in the season. Other than that - they worked great.

So, as you may have gathered, even with the few challenges I encountered, the cattle panels WORKED GREAT! lol

Enjoy and have a great growing season!

P.S. - I'll be putting a little more distance between the t-posts this year - gotta lower that peak!

    Bookmark   December 30, 2008 at 12:21PM
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My raised bed is 9' wide (when I filled in the slope behind my patio that's what I ended up with) so I have a little room to play with on the height.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2008 at 7:31PM
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These are a great way to plant beans and cukes. Also love it for a quick hoop house for the peeps.


    Bookmark   January 11, 2009 at 8:57AM
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ellix(augusta ga)

I am looking for the coated cattle pannel and haven't been able to find it. Any suggestions?

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 9:34AM
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anney(Georgia 8)


Never heard of "coated" cattle panel.

Go to the Tractor Supply Company site and find your nearest store, then check out "livestock fencing" (or something like that).

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 10:36AM
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