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Planting Cattle Panel Garden Trellis--Have any experience?
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  1. #1

    Cattle Panel Garden Trellis--Have any experience?

    How many of you have ever used cattle panels to make garden trellises or to make low cost hoop houses/greenhouses?

    I ran across a few Youtube videos this Spring showing how they can be made for only a little money (about $21.00 each panel) I was inspired to try one (or two) out in my vegetable garden this year.

    We have a terrible problem keeping deer out of our gardens, and after years of trying different things--fencing, netting, floating row covers, deterents either homemade or bought at garden centers--(don't work, btw)...etc. Hunting would work, but they come around and cause damage when it isn't hunting season--and by the time hunting season comes around, they dissappear.

    Some of the methods were more successful than the others, but I thought I would try a garden trellis this year (protected on the ends by netting).
    My father has a type of fencing that does work, but I don't like the ascethics of it for my garden.

    I'm planning to use these trellises mainly as a hoop house for my taller plants like tomatoes and pole beans.

    My DH used smaller hoop house rows for "His" garden last year and they worked perfectly---but they were too small for my tomatoes, so I thought I would try a "larger" version.

    If any of you have done this before, I would welcome any advice.

    I also hope to take pictures of the process as I go on, and can post them to show you what they look like.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    'murKKa - FEMA region IV
    I've used this material for planting climbing beans and cucumbers. I've also tied tomatoes to it for years works pretty well - it can be difficult to maneuver if you're a lady on the smallish side and doing it all alone. I tie it to 7' T posts or 1" rebar driven into the ground. I don't think that's how you plan to use it but its my only experience with it in a gardening application.

    5 Gauge Cattle Panel - 50" x 16' - galvanized
    "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9 (NKJV)


    Raging Deplorable - we do NOT forget; we do NOT forgive; we are LEGION

  3. #3
    Yeah, I've used it that way before and I liked using it to stake up my tomatoes. It is pretty heavy and not so easy to work with, but I have help.

    Here's a link to the plans I've modified for my use.

    Only, I'm not using straw bales--I turned that part into raised beds. Some of which are outside the trellis and some inside. I have plans to "tent" over the outside beds with netting to protect plants from the deer.

    The other thing I changed was that I anchored the trellis with the posts --The panel is edged up to and held in place by the posts.

  4. #4
    I have several in my garden. They work well for beans and peas and such. I laid a long plank across it anywhere it needed to be bent, so that all the wires would bend and the same place. You can do it by simply folding it in half, but what I found worked best was to first fold it in half, and then fold over a short (1' or so) piece on each end, so that the cross section is a tall isosceles triangle (the base is made of the two short sections, either overlapped or not).

    FWIW, we also have some small fruit trees, and when we first put them in, I protected them by making a large loop from a cattle panel for each one. Wire ties will hold the ends together, and it makes a mini "fence" for each tree to keep the deer from destroying them.

  5. #5
    For several years I made cattle panel tunnels in my main garden. I coverered them with plastinc in the cold months for and extended growing season and for winter greens, and in the summers I took the plastic down and let the cukes, small pumpkins, and pole beans grow over the entire arches. I'm short so the bottoms of the arches were 8 ft apart. A nicer width, but not tall enough for a very tall person.

    I've grown full-sized cantaloupe on a horizontal cattle panel and they are excellent for tying up tomato plants.

    Agreed that it's pretty hard for one person to move them around unless they can be laid flat and just dragged to where one needs them to be. It's even difficult for two people to move them if one or both of the people is already cranky that day.

    I rarely had help so when I'd bring home up to four panels on the top of my truck and topper, I'd tie them to a very tall post or tree trunk and then stomp on the gas and drive out from under them as fast as I could so the rear window handle of the topper wouldn't get snagged and broken as the panels dropped to the ground. This worked great every time!

  6. #6
    oops, double post.

  7. #7
    I was hoping I could extend the growing season by putting plastic over the garden trellis too.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    We have a couple of the tunnel style in the garden. They've been used for beans, peas, and cucumbers. I used steel fence posts and put them a foot off the ground to get enough head room.

    We also have a hoophouse. I think this will be it's fourth year. Still on the original reinforced plastic, though one end is starting to go. We use it for hardening plants in the spring. Then late fall and winter it gets moved close the house and used for chickens and rabbits. This year I think we are going to move it to the garden and put tomatoes in it. We tried using it for our meat birds one year, but it got too hot even with both ends open.

    I added one feature on the hoophouse that works well. On one end I have a hinged 2x8? on the bottom. When you pull the hoophouse this will swing back and not catch on things. For example if you were using it for chickens and wanted to add litter/mulch.
    Attached Images
    Was known as dairyfarmer but sold the cows.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Here is our garden fence. Electric hi-tensile and poly tape, the top tape is about 6'. It's been up about 12 years and has kept the deer out, as long as the top tape is up. I really need to replace the tape, it keeps breaking, and the last bag of insulators I got were crap.

    Edited to add: Disregard the steel fence post, I had another temporary fence tied into it at one time.
    Attached Images
    Was known as dairyfarmer but sold the cows.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Central Indiana
    The farmer that we bought our house from 12 years ago left behind three hog (cattle?) panels that look like the photo above with the black background. They are 16 feet long. I use one of them as a fence to grow my peas and cucumbers on every year. The other two have been made into a tunnel over the asparagus bed and I use them to grow butternut squash on one side and spaghetti squash on the other with the vines trained to grow on the panels. The squash crops have been very successful with this method.
    Terri in Indiana

    "To lengthen the life, lessen the meals." - Benjamin Franklin

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    W. Central GA
    I absolutely LOVE cattle panels! They are so versatile, economical and last forever. I have two chicken pens made with them, have used them to contain goats and always use them in the garden for anything that needs a trellis.
    Sherry in GA

  12. #12

  13. #13
    Large spacings are great for growing stuff on and keeping out large animals but birds, snakes, etc, can still get in and cause problems.

    Shade cloth is good for most crops and easy to cover mesh.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    I cut mine in half and make an A frame out of them for trellis. Easier to move. Work great for beans.

  15. #15
    Can never have enough cattle panels. We have them double stacked around the garden to keep the deer out. They're the only thing that works.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Dallas, Texas
    Quote Originally Posted by Martinhouse View Post
    For several years I made cattle panel tunnels in my main garden...

    Agreed that it's pretty hard for one person to move them around It's even difficult for two people to move them if one or both of the people is already cranky that day.
    hahaha ... that is my life on every.single.project! I laughed pretty hard.

    This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
    Psalms 118:24

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