DIY Arched Cattle Panel Garden Trellis + Garden Update

For the past couple of years I've been thinking about replacing the trellis netting we'd been using.  I wanted something stronger that could also hold small winter squash.  I've seen cattle panels used quite a bit and decided that's what I wanted.

And then I was told it wouldn't work....

My husband is very talented.  He can figure out how to make just about anything work.  But only if he wants to.  Well, let me tell you, he did not seem to want to make cattle panels work.  How do I know this?  When I first mentioned it his response was "it won't work".

I anticipated this and had 2 blogs pulled up showing photos of them having used them in fairly narrow walkways.  I showed him.  "huh" he said.  "I still don't think they will work in our narrow space".  I showed him where one of the blogs noted the measurement and it was similar to ours (I measured ahead of time).  He wasn't convinced.

winter squash
At the next farmer's market he thought for sure he would settle this once and for all.  One of our farmer friends was visiting with us and J said "hey, how much do you think I can bend a cattle panel in order to make an arched trellis?  Four and a half feet would probably about snap it in half, right?"

Sneaky.....he threw in what he wanted the response to be at the end of the question.

Does he forget we've been together for 20+ years?????  Does he think I don't have him figured out????  Silly man!

Our farmer friend began answering by saying "boy, they're pretty flexible.  I think you could probably do it".  I (quickly) followed up with a solution I'd already thrown at J but couldn't get it to stick.  I said "well the distance between raised beds is 4 1/2 feet but we could always put them inside of the garden bed if we need a larger arch" to which our farmer friend said "oh, I think that would definitely work".

I smiled at my husband.  He rolled his eyes.  

cattle panel trellis
That was on a Sunday.  Guess what we did that following Tuesday?  Yup - went and purchased 2 cattle panels and installed them.  And guess what else?  They look fantastic!

Now let me mention what we did wrong.

Once again, I have a very talented husband.  (just in case he reads this post I want to be sure to mention it a couple of times - I've got more "projects" on the wish list!)  And he always thinks things through in order to identify potential problems before they are a problem.  But once again, if he doesn't want to do the project, well, he doesn't always take the time to think it through.

All of the cattle panel trellis projects I had seen showed the use of t-posts to support the panels.  "We don't need those" was the response I received when mentioning it.  Guess what?


see the rope he tied at the top?  It didn't fly with me.....
Without the supportive posts the panels will bulge out in the middle and won't stand nicely or securely.  So what did my husband do?  If you guessed he admitted he was wrong you are not correct.  Nope.  Instead he grabbed some nylon rope and tied the panel together at the top.  "There" he said, walking away.  He muttered "I guess that's why they use t-posts" as he kept on walking right to the house.

I now have posts.  Mine are wood but metal would be best.  Just saying....

So, it's super easy and a great climbing surface for veggies that like to do so.

beautiful arched trellis minus the rope!
For each arch you need:
1 cattle panel (we purchased ours at Tractor Supply) (I believe we paid just over $20.00 each)
2 metal t-posts (either Tractor Supply or a home improvement store)
2 zip ties (to attach the metal posts to the panel)

Dig a small trench for each side to sink into.  Insert a t-post to support the first side you will be working with.  It should be center to the panel.

Arch the panel so you can start to get a shape into it before you begin sinking the bottom into the ground.  We did this by each taking a side and walking toward each other, slowly. (be very careful & patient when working with them)

Walk the panel over to the site where it will be and sink one side into the ground, leaning it right against the t-post.  Secure to panel with a zip tie.   Fill the small trench back with dirt.  Set the second side into it's trench.  Pound the second t-post in, again center with that panel.  Secure to panel with a zip tie.

**important to note.  If you are planning an arched trellis, make sure whoever loads the panel into your vehicle does not bend it completely in half.  They tried to do this to us and we (thankfully) caught it and stopped it before it was creased in the center.  Instead, we put a soft bend in it, like it has to create the arch, and tied the ends together so it wouldn't release.**

The bottom line is cattle panels are reasonably priced, last a long time, and are durable.  I will be using more of these in the garden as we expand it again.

squash blossom
And the rest of the garden is doing nicely!  We did grow a lot less this year which proved to be the right decision since, although I didn't realize it when I planted it, I spend my days divided between caring for my own family & business and caring for my ill mother.

yummy broccoli
But what I did plant is producing very well.  We harvested 8 HUGE heads of broccoli and are still getting some off shoots.

green beans
The green beans are starting to produce prolifically, even though the plants are still small.

We've been getting a lot of cukes.  I haven't made any fermented pickles yet, but those will be made soon!

photo taken on a VERY humid day.  Can you see the fogginess?
The zucchini/summer squash plants are chest-high.  They have done quite well.  We pick squash daily.

delicious freshly picked blueberries
Blueberries are completely ripe!

2 pears on the entire tree....
Our 2 pears are growing.  We'll be picking them in the fall.  (yes, just 2 this year.....)

Asian Pear Tree
Our Asian Pears are growing slowly as well.  Another fall treat and at least these trees are loaded!


The tomatoes are tall and producing quite a bit.  I did purchase a couple of large tomatoes 2 weeks ago because we wanted slicers and were only getting cherries, but we are harvesting both now.

The eggplant is small still, and should be ready for a late August harvest.  The peppers are growing quite well.  We are waiting for the red varieties to turn red.

The swiss chard and kale are growing in quite the abundance which is good because I eat it daily.

I love going out to the garden each day to see what's for dinner for the week!

1 comment

  1. Oooooh, a garden update! You just made my day!

    It looks spectacular, by the way. J may not want to hear this, but I was putting up a cattle panel by myself and those things are a bit difficult to wrangle by oneself. Anyway, to make the bend, I laid it flat, then took the end of one and folded it over the other end. Then I walked up the panel to make my crease. It's bent over a bit more than I wanted, but it works and I didn't have to bother anyone to help me. We have butternut squash growing on it, and it's doing fine!

    So glad you got your arches. They really add so much square footage in which to garden.

    All of your produce looks SO healthy! Slurp!


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