Built my first cattle panel arch trellis today!

bencjedi(6 - Central Kentucky)June 11, 2007

All for less than $30 in supplies!

It took over 4 hours to dig the holes for the T-posts. One post especially was very very difficult to dig because a rock the size of those boogie boards at the beach ominously gave zero option for pole placement. I had to bust it up with a sledge hammer before I could dig. I also broke two shovels including one I bought at Lowes Sunday that touted 'Best shovel in the world'. Split it halfway down the spade! The girls behind the return counter busted out laughing, but refunded the money. I was more careful finishing the job. ;)

I planted cucumbers and snap peas this evening. I left a corner spot for potentially a melon of sorts. I could use the other side of the trellis, but am too worm out to do anything for tilling. I think a raised bed on that side would be considerably easier to create.. possibly all the way to the rear of my stockade fence. For now I may just put potted tomato plants there and train them up that side.

Please let me know what you all think.

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tangerine_z6(6)

That is absolutely great. I would love to have one of those in my back yard, but I'm not exactly handy. (What is a T post?) What are the dimensions of the trellis? It looks as though it will provide you with a great deal of extra growing space. Good luck with your vegetables. Next year you can work on having raised beds around the outside and grow all kinds of stuff!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 4:21PM
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soonergrandmom

My husband put up a cattle panel arch for me to grow cucumbers on also. We set the bottom a little further apart than yours and gave the top more of a gothic type arch. Our soil is very soft so the four T-post were easy to drive. Hole thing probably took 30 minutes. I love it.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 8:33PM
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bencjedi(6 - Central Kentucky)

I couldn't wait on raised beds and made one out of free materials a couple weeks ago (discarded cinder blocks and bricks from a 'dump' site across from my house). I filled it with a local specialty (thoroughbred compost + top soil mix for $10 for a cubic yard). I'll have to take a photo as the brief rain today popped up all sorts of plants from seeds I popped in there along the trellis. The plant density will be high, but as long as I get the climby plants to follow the trellis, the non-climby ones should have room to grow as well.

tangerine_z6: the T-posts are 5' long. About a foot from the bottom of each post, it is shaped like a 'T' such that you bury it deep enough so that this triangular part is below the ground. It prevents the post from twisting. The trellis is probably 8' tall, but my back yard is so tiny I needed to make the most of it, so I went vertical. :)
The folks at Tractor Supply Co. made the arch for me simply by loading the cattle panel on its side in the back bed of my pickup truck. They automatically arched it to make it fit for me to take home, so I roped it so the two sides would keep the panel bent. I test fitted the panel (roped) within the posts as I set them up many times to make sure I was on target for a good fit. The arch is probably at least 8' tall in the middle. I am 6'2" and walk through effortlessly.

I'll definitely get an updated pic. I think the vegetation is really starting to highlight the arch. I just can't wait til the plants 'decide' to start growing up it.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 1:32AM
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bencjedi(6 - Central Kentucky)

Here's what my garden looks like now. Just wait til the cucumbers and the lone watermelon climb up that trellis!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 10:54PM
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tangerine_z6(6)

Another great picture and thanks for the information. Tangerine

    Bookmark   June 27, 2007 at 6:10AM
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bencjedi(6 - Central Kentucky)

Growing right along...

I had to dust the beans with Sevin-5% to get the hoards of Japanese Beetles to go away. It worked!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2007 at 12:38AM
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rosiew

I don't think anyone has asked this question: where do you buy these panels?? Love the simple look. Also what are these posts you're attaching them to?

Thanks for your help and for sharing all the great pics.

Rosie

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 6:27PM
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bencjedi(6 - Central Kentucky)

You can buy these 'cattle panels' at Tractor Supply Co. ... at your local store. Hopefully there is one in your area or close to it. The posts are called T-posts. They are metal rods with a triangular part at one end that stick out to sort of make it look like the letter 'T'. You bury this wider part of the rod below the ground and it prevents the post from twisting. The Tractor Supply Co. store in my area also gave me a bag of metal clips to wrap around the panel with the posts to secure it.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 10:10PM
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jen13

WOW! This is awesome. I am so inspired for next year's garden! I too have a small yard and struggle with my vining plants (stakes, trellises, and twine, oh my!) but I'm also on a limited budget and can't afford to buy some fancy-pants growing system. Thanks for the info and beautiful pics.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 1:55PM
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1fullhouse

Bencjedi - I think you have inspired me! If you have any, I would just LOVE to see how it's coming along now? More pics please!!!

Seraki

    Bookmark   August 1, 2007 at 4:22PM
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bencjedi(6 - Central Kentucky)

Sure thing.. this last week has been a sauna outside in Central Kentucky.

Here's July 25th

Then a week of thick, moist, uncomfortably hot air..
Here is August 3rd

Glad you all are enjoying the arch as much as I am. I am anxious to see those cucumber vines make it to the top. On the other side I have a yellow baby watermelon that shall soon reach up onto the apparatus. Some peas are already stretching up that side.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2007 at 12:08AM
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bencjedi(6 - Central Kentucky)

A jungle explosion!


    Bookmark   August 25, 2007 at 11:37PM
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bencjedi(6 - Central Kentucky)

September 16th

    Bookmark   September 17, 2007 at 12:38AM
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bencjedi(6 - Central Kentucky)

We received our first frosts last week. The garden is done. I am considering scooping out the top 12" of soil from the raised bed and laying a frame I think I can construct from some wood and the shower curtain we just replaced. I would like to try to use the planter as a sun box. Do you think it will work?

I may go crazy in late winter and try to cover the trellis with plastic to see if I can make it into a greenhouse.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 12:34AM
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ilsa

What a great historical reference - thanks for posting pics throughout the entire year!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 2:15PM
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bencjedi(6 - Central Kentucky)

Thanks! and here's the final picture most-likely, til next Spring (unless I try my idea of digging out some from the raised bed and creating a temporary cold frame). :)

    Bookmark   November 18, 2007 at 11:04PM
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pjintheozarks(6A)

I built a garden with 5 of those arches in 2001, along the south privacy fence of my neighbor. They work great!

Here is a link that might be useful: The 8-Cat Garden

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 6:31AM
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groundhog66(9)

They are wonderful. My neighbor cut the last wire off (short one) each end to leave the ends with wire sticking out. She then stuck some short PVC pipe leftovers in the ground where she wanted the sides and inserted the wire. At the end of the season she took it out and worked the soil without having to work around the trellis. Just another way of accomplishing a great look.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 8:17PM
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vance8b

bencjedi

Love the set-up. Thanks so much for the quality pictures. You too pjintheozarks.

I will definitely try a cattle panel set-up. A bit expensive, but not crazy.

I guess I could bend it in half in the TSC parking lot and strap it into my truck, but how does everyone else get a 16' panel home? Does bending crack the zinc plating used to rust proof?

Also, about the T-posts... this won't help with rocks, but when I want a T-post in the ground and am afraid of puncturing gas, cable, electric, etc, I just jet a hole into the ground with my garden hose, then just slip the post in and back fill. The water helps pack the dirt in and it is nice and tight once the water drains.

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2008 at 4:53PM
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bencjedi(6 - Central Kentucky)

vance8b: That's exactly what I did.. bent the cattle panel in a 'U' shape as the TSC personnel loaded it into the back of my full-size bed pickup truck. I tied it in that shape with rope (not steeple orientation, but the same orientation if you were putting the panel as a fence to hold in cows). TSC is only a half mile from my house, so I didn't have far to move it. None of the coating cracked off, so don't worry about that. :) Unfortunately my yard is a solid lump of clay + limestone rock + careless construction concrete globs, so there's no way a water hose would even 'take' to digging a hole for me. It was painful using a shovel and sledge hammer to get my posts in the ground deep enough. I don't think $30 total was too expensive for the panel and the 4 T-posts. After all.. a trellis at Lowes is over $100 and not nearly as large.

Thanks mydream! I am changing up my garden this year. I was actually out in the rain today completely taking down the trellis and erecting it back up much closer to the house. The reasoning? ... The house is north and I want to allow more sun into the rest of the garden. It made sense to go through the trouble to move the arch (maybe not in the rain, but I simply wanted to do it today.. I was driven.. lol). I'm sore right now, but at least hammering in the T-posts was easier than last year because the new location's soil was conditioned by a couple years of working it. The raised bed you see in my photos is now dismantled and the soil + compost fill has been spread wide. I intend to use those bricks to border the new expanded garden. I can't wait! :)

    Bookmark   March 15, 2008 at 10:53PM
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bencjedi(6 - Central Kentucky)

I have my new garden boundaries more or less done. I thought of this after I had already done it, but I should have video'd myself re-creating the arch trellis since I moved it anyhow. I could have put a video on YouTube. It's simple to make the arch trellis, but it's always helpful when others can see how easy it is it to make also. In case anyone was wondering it is a 3' width from either side of the arch. You'll also notice my T-posts are quite deeper than they were in the original location. This is a testament to the softness and workability of the soil in the former 'main' garden. The stakes could have been hammered down even deeper, but I wanted at least 4 metal wires on each post to secure the cattle panel.

The bale of straw in the back is aged from last fall and I have been fertilizing it with 10-10-10 fertilizer. I intend to try growing 3 tomato plants in the bale and the rest inside and outside the perimeter of the arch. Should be interesting in that so much more light will be available to plants growing to the right of the arch.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 9:54PM
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diamondg(z7)

Instead of digging holes for the t-post, you can simply use a t-post driver. You will be able to drive the t-post into the soil in 30 minutes tops. You can buy a t-post driver at the store where you are buying the t-posts.
And you don't have to put them so deep, a t-post is made to hold up a fence for cattle, so you only have to drive it into the ground 6 inches to a foot. That way, you can wiggle it up and store it away when your archway isn't green, and it won't be such an eyesore, and simply re-drive them next year!
I spent most of my teenage years building fence on the ranch, so t-posts are very familiar to me. If anyone needs any help with them, feel free to ask me!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 1:56PM
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bencjedi(6 - Central Kentucky)

diamondg Yes, I knew about the t-post driver, but opted out to save money and figured my arch wasn't moving again. :) Guess I was wrong, as you see I moved it. :)

I was saying the only reason the t-posts are so deep in the new location is that the panel was moved to the original garden location where the soil had been worked for 2 prior seasons and is incredibly soft and deep (which was intentional in the original design given that my house may as well have been built into solid bedrock... the super heavy clay/rocky and pathetic construction landscaping effort left it that way). I could push the t-posts 6" deep in the 'old' garden area with a single thumb and it would have been incredibly unstable due to the nice friability of soil I created in that spot the last 2 years. I hammered deep to ensure the arch would stay put. I don't plan to take it down (again) (at least not anytime soon).

It was certainly a challenge putting up the trellis in the location it sat last year though. There's a rock (sub-surface boulder) that extends at least 4' in one direction in the back of my property and it took alot of digging and bashing with a sledge hammer to break off a corner so I could put in one single t-post. That was rough! I even split the spade of a shovel working on that one post. It's a lost effort now since I moved the arch anyway, but I'll be growing vegetables where the arch once stood in the new expanded area I created. It'll take another couple years to get the soil in that area as soft was the old area, but I'll do my best to make it happen (again).

    Bookmark   March 20, 2008 at 12:09AM
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missinformation

http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/vertical/msg0622582022244.html?24

Just a thought once everything grows in a little better - I think it would be pretty covered in cucumbers, and we could just take it down in winter. I don't like that big empty spot back there, and the eye would be directed to the arch and food instead of the gate this way. Oooh I could maybe do this as the chicken run instead of a big rectangle. gotta think about this....

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 12:32PM
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jessica_z5_westernny

I love this type of trellis! They look like so much fun for the kids to play under!

I do have a question, though. Which direction do you face the trellis so that plants on both sides get plenty of sun? Are the openings on the north and south ends?

    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 12:58PM
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southerncharm1(Orlando, FL Z9)

Any new pics? I just love this! It's amazing to see the changes from start to finish like that. Thanks so much for sharing, I'm hoping you'll share again this year. :)

    Bookmark   May 10, 2008 at 11:16PM
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bencjedi(6 - Central Kentucky)

With the garden re-org things look different this year, but with an earlier start I actually have tomatoes forming.. some, like the sungold may be ripe enough to eat in a couple weeks. Since I have crammed so many different varieties of tomatoes in such a small space, I left one section of my sun box inside the arch, so I have a guaranteed place to step a foot in and reach in to grab some fruit. Come August things should look really interesting as I expect the arch to be a large bundle of green tomato vine chaos. :)

I need to make labels, so I can pick up all those foam cups (that are labeled with the tomato variety I germinated). The sun is fading off the Sharpie writing and I can't tell them apart as easily.

The cattle panel is oriented so the open sides face east and west while the 'caged' sides face north and south. The tomatoes on the northern outside edge are already comparably smaller because of the house roof line shade and the plants to the south blocking their light as they grow taller. The pole beans on the outside should take off, but some pests keep chewing away the leaves and I haven't figured out what and how to deal with them yet.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 11:27PM
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bencjedi(6 - Central Kentucky)

June 15th 2008

    Bookmark   June 22, 2008 at 2:55AM
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bencjedi(6 - Central Kentucky)

July 6th
Time for some pruning on the tomato plants. Also the invasion of the Japanese beetles has begun, so I want to keep them off the pole beans without resorting to Sevin (cause no matter how well I wash the produce, it still tastes like poison)

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 11:39PM
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vance8b

Thanks for the pictures bencjedi!

I just spent about an hour twining together my bamboo and chicken wire bean supports. It works using free materials, but I look forward to the day when I get motivated enough to switch to cattle panels.
Thanks

Vance

    Bookmark   July 9, 2008 at 11:11PM
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bencjedi(6 - Central Kentucky)

No problem Vance! I enjoy showing what the panel can do. I am tossing around the idea of moving it around my tiny garden each year since tomato plants ought not to always grow in the same area. Here's some more recent pics. Surprisingly an old screen and some other screen material draped over the front has kept the Japanese beetles off mostly. I guess they are not too smart a bug and don't realize they can fly inside the arch and munch unabated. The bugs do fly into the vinyl siding of my house over and over and over again. Not too smart!


    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 11:23PM
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angelady777 (was angelady on GW) - Zone 6(6)

Awesome, awesome, awesome! I'm so glad I got to follow along for over a year here and see how well this has worked for you. I appreciate the time and trouble you went through to post it all here for us to watch your garden with you!

I was considering using this trellis system myself. I do have a question, though. Do tomatoes grow on top of the 8 foot thing that you can't get to? I'd probably not that stop me, but was sure curious.

~Angela

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 2:12AM
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bencjedi(6 - Central Kentucky)

Hi Angela! So far only the sungold cherry tomatoes grow up to 8'+ tall. I've not had the larger varities fruit higher than 5'. Of course I am 6'2", so it is no bother for me to reach up 8' and pick. Height does have its advantages.
I'm starting to get more and more riper larger tomatoes from this year's trellis setup. I'll have to take some more pictures. The fruits are not as large as last year, but they are shaded more by the house this year and I crammed ALOT more plants in the same area.

By the way, the tomato plants growing in the rotting straw bale are not growing well at all. They are shadowed the most and I think lack of soil is hindering their growth despite fertilizing the bale.

I encourage others to try the cattle panel if you can find one in your area. Cheap and obviously an effective organizational tool to grow tomatoes and vining crops. I wish I had two. :)

    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 12:14AM
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angelady777 (was angelady on GW) - Zone 6(6)

Yes, Ben, I think cattle panels would be awesome! Since you mentioned sending more pictures, I'm sure up for it. I'll be checking back to see if you update the thread with pics. Thanks!

~Angela

    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 9:16PM
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bencjedi(6 - Central Kentucky)

I guess this year's experiment with nearly a dozen tomato plants surrounding all sides of the cattle panel wasn't the best of ideas. Reason being.. small tomatoes.

9/15/08
From 091508

    Bookmark   October 7, 2008 at 8:07PM
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zuni(5a)

This is the best trellis idea I have ever seen. Unfortunately, the TSC stores in Ontario do not sell cattle panels, and they cannot special order them either. In fact, no one sells them here. If there are any enterprising gardeners out there that would truck several up to Canada, I will gladly be your first customer. Let me know!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 11:41PM
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bencjedi(6 - Central Kentucky)

I am ready for this year's use From 032809

I intend to plant cucumbers and pole beans. I have a great deal of material added in the middle and sides, sloping outward. I think this will give the area a little extra sun earlier in the day for the plants to reach.

Zuni that is too bad about the cattle panels in Canada. Do they have feed stores up there for animals? Perhaps they might sell these panels.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 9:31AM
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micah_cnc

Now that's a great way to grow climbers. And easy to harvest. I'll keep this one in mind for sure.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 1:54AM
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tn_gardening

I visited Tractor Supply, Co. today and saw these pre cut panels.

They are 16 feet long. 4 feet tall and come in two sizes of square openings. 4"x4" and another size larger (think 5"x6"). Cost is about $18

Lots of good ways to make an arch trellis:
use stakes
nail to a raised bed

    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 12:24PM
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kterlep(5/6)

Thanks for the link!

that is a great idea. You could even build a "gazebo" using this technique with climbers all around and a larger central area.

I don't think this will work for the tomatoes as planted but I will certainly be coercing my dairy farmer friend to bring me some panels next year to use as intentional arches in the garden. The thought of big squash growing up there! :)

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 11:24AM
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tomncath(St Pete Z10a Heat 10)

Why wouldn't it work for tomatoes?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2009 at 9:47AM
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eggplant30038(8a - ATL)

Tomncath: what a beautiful garden. Where did you get those terracota pots from?

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 3:40PM
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ruffian56

I have been using livestock panels for years as a trellis. Not from any type of grand inspiration - I just had several laying around the farm. I was tired of tomato cages falling over and trying to get to the tomatoes through the cage opening so I thought about using these stout panels to tie the tomatoes to. This naturally led to planting the climbers like beans, peas, cukes, squash, etc. I even use panels for grapes. I have never tried melons. I like the idea of bending the panels creating an arch for the veggies to grow on. Thanks for posting your journey with this. I got a chuckle that you actually dug the holes for the posts when you can just used a post driver to pound them in - those people at TSC should have told you that. It takes 5 minutes to pound in a post depending on your soil. Not sure how you got those t-posts out of the ground when you moved it. That barb in the end prevents it from pulling up easily. I have to use my tractor to yank those out.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 8:48PM
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medcave(8 Tx)

" I got a chuckle that you actually dug the holes for the posts when you can just used a post driver to pound them in - those people at TSC should have told you that. It takes 5 minutes to pound in a post depending on your soil. Not sure how you got those t-posts out of the ground when you moved it. That barb in the end prevents it from pulling up easily. I have to use my tractor to yank those out."

Judging by how short they are now I would say he cut them off instead of digging them up. :)

I've used one of those heavy duty truck bumper jacks and some nylon strapping to wrap the posts to the jack and just jack them out of the ground. Works great if you don't have a tractor.

If you ever decide to reuse old posts and repaint them, don't paint the white 6" strip at the top. It's there to warn you that your post driver is about to come off the top of the post. Ask me how I know. I liked to died.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 3:17PM
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nil13(z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Washington))

If you can't find Cattle Fencing, you can also use concrete reinforcing mesh.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 12:21AM
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bencjedi(6 - Central Kentucky)

Actually the 'soil' in my yard can be considered concrete. I have a year-old wrist injury from jabbing a shovel in the ground and unexpectedly suddenly hitting a rock. (though I knew better considering my yard was evidently the proverbial rock dumping ground for construction of every house on the street in my neighborhood). The way the neighborhood was graded.. all 8-12" of deep topsoil was scooped up during development and sold to leverage the work of the pre-development for construction of the neighborhood. An old-timer gas company worker was telling me all about this when I got a propane tank installed for my fireplace last fall. Evidently in the past this property was LUSH cow pastures with THICK topsoil. This is why my yard is clay and limestone and such a pain in the rear end to plant anything. I have spent the last 3 springs hauling in yards of compost and mulches myself. I actually didn't cut off the T-posts. They were easy to remove (since originally dug holes deep enough to penetrate the horrible ground). They had to have holes pre-dug in the old location (or anywhere else in the yard for that matter) due to the poor state of what was left as 'soil' after the development pillaging of all the topsoil. All my neighbors complain too about our sucky soil. I moved the panel into the more mature side of the ever-expanding garden which I had removed rock and added compost and topsoil the prior 2 years for an awesome 2+ foot depth. Every now and then I stab a shovel in this area for some kind of satisfaction that there's one place in the yard I can sink a shovel and not jam another wrist. lol

So onto this year. The panel is in the same spot as last year and the pole beans and cukes are taking off From 071009

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 2:04AM
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Melissa(7)

I love the use of cattle panels!! I have a friend who uses the cattle panels for cukes but he just leaves them length wise and attaches to the t-post like that. But, seeing the different pics here I am anxious to try this next year. I have a relatively small garden and want to expand next year. I will definitely try this next year. It not only preserves space, you can also plant more than one plant per panel. I just love it!! Thanks.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 2:22PM
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cynthianovak

thank you for this! All the detail and the chronology!!!!

There is a link on the Texas garden forum.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 5:13PM
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ibheri_gmail_com

Where do we get those cattle panels? I want to buy a trelis for my vines and was looking around.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 5:23PM
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grow-anything

I got these at Tractor Supply and just put them up Saturday.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 4:23PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Looks good grow-anything!
What all are you going to grow up them?
I made my son a fort out of 2 of these arched together, end to end, then covered it with a tarp! Worked great!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 7:58AM
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grow-anything

Here is a photo from yesterday. I have pumpkins, gourds, cucumbers, cantaloupes, and some squash on them right now.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 4:19PM
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alisande(Zone 4b)

I think this thread is going to go on forever.

I was mesmerized by all the beautiful arches, and as of this afternoon I have my very own cattle panel, bent in half with the edges temporarily tied at the bottom, plus four "U-posts," which is what the store recommended I use to anchor my arch.

I'm probably about to validate dumb-blonde jokes, but what do I do now? How does one go about setting it up? Does a post go in the ground first, and then a corner of the arch attached to it? And when we cut the ties at the bottom, will the panel stay more or less bent? (I leaned on it, so the bend is pretty distinct.) I'm surprised at how heavy the panel is. I'm thinking maybe this is a two-person job.

I can hear the jokes now......How many blondes does it take to set up a cattle panel? LOL

Your help is appreciated Ă‚thanks!!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 5:49PM
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grow-anything

As you can see in my photo above, I bent mine into an inverted "u" and placed it about where I wanted it. I then put two corner post in place and used zip-ties to anchor it. Then measured a square and drove up the other two post. Zip-tied it and did it three more times to make four arches.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 8:33AM
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gwanatu

I've got my own thread that I made, but since this seems to be the go-to thread I'll post a few pictures of my nearly 1 month old setup here:

To the left are Jack-O-Lanterns, and to the right are Casper pumpkins. Other things we have on these cattle panels are cucumbers, watermelons, cantaloupe, acorn squash, butternut squash, yellow crook-neck squash and zucchini.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 9:10AM
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bencjedi(6 - Central Kentucky)

I'm back and on year 4 of my cattle panel arch trellis, so time to start posting pics! The location has changed since the last couple years, but I got a jump on the plantings, so I think I'm the furthest along with pole beans and cucumbers for this time of year. The cattle panel was the best thing for $30. It is as strong and sturdy as the day I bought it and assembled it in the back yard. Indestructible?

One difference from last year.. the beans are on the opposite side as the year before (and vice versa for the cukes). I swapped their positions for crop rotation, but mostly because the beans shaded the cukes last year and the cukes didn't grow as well as I would have liked. I flipped them to see if it makes any difference this year. I also limited it this year to only one Sungold F1 cherry tomato plant in the back since this variety is so prolific that any more than one is really too much. If you need something to 'cap' an end, I recommend sticking a tomato plant at the end and putting some twine in zigzag along the back for the tomato branches to grow in for support. From 060410

    Bookmark   June 8, 2010 at 1:38AM
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bencjedi(6 - Central Kentucky)

From 06192010

    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 2:58AM
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kamine80

Love this post!!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 8:37PM
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rozutah(5)

would Squash grow on these can anyone tell me and pumpkins and how about weeds are there less.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2010 at 10:57AM
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sparks5478(Zone 7 LI, NY)

Love this thread, especially seeing what everyone's done with their cattle panel. I was finally able to get some of my own, not an easy feat considering I'm nowhere near Tractor Supply. But when we drove our daughter to college in Ohio, I made my husband go many, many miles out of our way on the drive home so I could get some. To say the least, we attracted a good bit of attention driving through NYC with a bunch of panels tied to our roof.

Anyway, I did something a little different than an arch with some of what I bought. I saw this trellis on DIY Network's Fresh From the Garden and downloaded the plans. Instead of string, I used the cattle panel instead. This pic is a couple of weeks old; my cukes and winter squash are now about 1/4 of the way up the trellis.

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

    Bookmark   July 5, 2010 at 7:41AM
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alisande(Zone 4b)

That looks so nice, Sparks! Almost Asian, in a way.

Here's my arch--definitely the most exciting thing in my garden this year. We set it up on a dirt terrace alongside the house because that area isn't on the wildlife's usual route (fingers crossed).

When it was first erected, last month:

More recently--but the terrace isn't quite as overgrown as it appears in this picture.

And now my beans (Kentucky Wonder and Fortex) are climbing, and so are a couple of cucumbers.

Thanks to Ben and others for the inspiration!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 8:54AM
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bencjedi(6 - Central Kentucky)

I'm happy to see all the new cattle panel trellises! Great job everyone! Unfortunately cucumber beetles wiped out my cucumber plants, so I bought row cover and put new seeds down after cleaning up the vine mess from the beetles' diseased destroying handiwork. I think the cattle panel is going to work out real well and easy with the cover. I took two 5.5-6' long pieces of wood and stapled about 7' of row cover all along the edge on each piece. I put one inside the arch and the other outside. I then used clothes pins to completely seal off the 'cocoon'. So far I have not seen ANY bugs get inside, so we'll see how this works. The pole beans are growing GREAT still! The Sungold F1 tomato plant in the back is wirey, but growing every which way and producing tomatoes all the time. I found a prolific cherry tomato plant on one open side with some twine woven zig-zag in the back is a good way to utilize the support of the panel and give you more to grow in a tight space. If your panel is butted-up to something like a handrail (such as in my case) you may as well toss a cherry tomato plant there for some bonus fruit. :) From 070910 From 071410

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 12:40PM
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curt_grow

Well I have no pictures, but I have a cattle panel trellis. Now everyone in town wants one. I do have one thing that is unique. Mine has a light inside the arch. A 13/60 w compact florescent bulb in a brooder fixture with ceramic socket. It looks like a lit up grotto at night. I also have a floor made of asphalt shingles and a work/plant shelf Oh I forgot the back wall is wire also ,but only 4 foot tall so it is like a green shed right now with only the north wall open. Boy do I love it. I am going to try to use it as a high tunnel this fall and winter. I will see how my plans turn out when fall comes. Sorry I do not have a camera I am looking for a used one that can take decent pictures. Thanks all for the inspiration and help.

Curt~#

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 5:41PM
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bencjedi(6 - Central Kentucky)

Curt, that sounds awesome! A Greenshed!

I'm getting cukes forming under the row cover since the late June emergency planting. I guess I didn't need bees for pollination. The row cover probably flaps around enough to move the pollen around. It's really too bad that beetles easily destroyed the first plants, even with Sevin dust, but at least so far so good with the replacement plants and the row cover strategy. From 082010

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 1:16AM
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alisande(Zone 4b)

Had to post an update on my bean arch. Even if I weren't picking delicious beans every day, I'd still think it was pretty!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 11:44PM
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gwanatu

sparks5478, I love your design! That looks so nice!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2010 at 8:34AM
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jolj(7b/8a)

bencjedi
I linked this thread up on the fruit form for some one who wanted to trellis raspberries.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2011 at 9:14PM
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gardencarnation(5B- Toronto, ON)

Is there anything else I could use besides cattle panel? I haven't seen it in any of the stores around my area.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 5:46PM
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jolj(7b/8a)

Yes, clothe line, concrete wire,2X4 wire, 48" or 72" high.
You can get the cattle panel at tractor supply.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2012 at 10:47PM
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bencjedi(6 - Central Kentucky)

Another year by and this time I prepped the soil around my arch to grow sugar snap peas. I figure I'll still put down cucumbers and pole beans, but since that won't happen til May, I may as well see how the peas do first. They completely surround the trellis. Can't wait to see how they do and if my extra-use will pan-out.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 4:12PM
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bencjedi(6 - Central Kentucky)

Wow, just realized it's almost been 5 years since I originally erected my cattle panel arch trellis and there's no sign of any aging. This thing seemingly will last forever!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 4:14PM
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sodbuster50

Ben I have to say thanks for just sticking with the year after year updating. I just went on the computer to see how people use cattle panels for planting cucumbers and ran across this 5 year history of what you are doing and inspiring fellow gardners. Unlike you I have a big yard and my garden is probably 15' by 30'. I've always been raising cucumbers on the ground but every year it seems to get harder and harder to make room for them. I was going to just go out to a local farmer and get an old panel and set it up but this "hoop" style has me hooked. Question. since I will only be using the panel for cukes, have you found it better to go east and west or north and south with the hoop?

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 6:33PM
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tey157(8b)

Nice, I'm looking for ideals on how to build a trellis/ arbor.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 12:48AM
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growingfor7

I am heading to Tractor Supply today to get 2 panels. My question is, how difficult is it to bend these to get them into my vehicle (mini van)? Is that possible or do I need to borrow a truck?

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 11:41AM
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bencjedi(6 - Central Kentucky)

@sodbuster50 - Thanks! I do look in this thread from time to time. I oriented mine so the opening is West-East (walk through it from West to East). I usually plant the pole beans on the north-facing panel and the cukes on the south-facing one. I also found putting bush beans in the inside area can be a smart use of that space since all beans and cukes are planted at the same time they all grow up simultaneously so the sun isn't shaded in the inside of the hoop right away. It's like stealing an extra crop of beans. I should have thought of that years ago. I accidentally put bush beans down instead of pole beans a year ago and that's when I realized "hey, this actually works". lol I quickly did plant the pole beans and left the bush beans. I just had to carefully step around them when I wanted to harvest anything. It wasn't a big deal.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 11:37AM
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christy2828(8a)

This thread is tagged on Pinterest!! Great ideas, thanks :) Christy

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 5:02PM
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jolj(7b/8a)

I really need to make wire cage for tomatoes & use cattle panels for other crops. Bamboo can be a hassle.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 11:17AM
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RunningGrammy

Ben, I found your awesome arbor/trellis on Pinterst. Like so many others, I'm so grateful that you took the time to record and photograph the past five years of using it in your veggie garden. I recently bought something similar to it (though not nearly as wide) at a big-name gardening store. Even at 40% off, it was quite a splurge for me. I'm so glad I haven't had time to take a truck to the store to pick it up, because I want to get a refund and make a bigger, less expensive one like yours! Thanks again!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 3:16PM
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mrs_tlc

Tom - In looking at the pictures you posted am I correct in seeing that you started the cattle panel higher off the ground with buckets centered beneath for vining plants?

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 3:43PM
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mrs_tlc

We just bought the panels the other day and noticed that there is a bit of rust at the joints on the panels. Should we coat the panels with something to prvent and further rusting?

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 9:01PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

I wish that bamboo tomato cage pic was clearer. It is an interesting idea. Cheapest cages I think you can make. 4 bamboo poles and then just tie up supports as they go. I wonder how well it holds.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 11:35AM
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bencjedi(6 - Central Kentucky)

Forgot to post a pic of its use in 2012. Here's last September. Still great for beans!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 11:27AM
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chorn89

This an awesome idea for a veggie trellis. Going to Tractor Supply tomorrow to get my cattle panel. Thanks so much for the post :)

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 1:30AM
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dddzstmpn

For those who do not have Tractor Supply nearby (like me) I was able to buy this type of wire by the foot at Orchard Supply Hardware....I lucked out as it was one of the stores that was closing & I got it for 40% off. I got 16 ft. I got the T-Posts at Lowe's. Hope this helps someone.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 6:33PM
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barngem

Just to let you all know. T-Posts are made to pound into the ground. You do not have to dig a hole to bury them. You can buy a tool to pound them in. Or if you can weld or know someone that can they can take a round steel pipe and weld a cap on one end. You slip it over the top of the post and raise and lower the pipe up and down on the top of the post this pushed it into the ground a little farther with each pull down motion. Just remember not to lift the pipe so high that it clears the top of the post on the upward thrust because it will come off and potentially hit you in the head.... depending on the height of the post. With a shorter post as shown here you are working over your post and can manage it much easier. But there is a tool to purchase and can be purchased at tractor supply when you get the posts. The tool is well worth the money if your doing any number of posts.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2015 at 11:43AM
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barngem

This is such a great idea. I just set up new raised beds and
will be taking advantage of this idea for my cucumbers and my tomatoes. I have been looking for a good idea that looked nice too. Thanks for posting

    Bookmark   January 24, 2015 at 11:55AM
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