Thursday, August 13, 2009

Beans on a Cattle Panel Arch Trellis

Deciding to grow pole beans on my new cattle panel arch trellis has a distinct advantage I had not even thought about when I built it. As you can see in the photo above, almost all the beans hang down inside the arch, making picking beans very easy!

There are only a very few beans that are under leaves on the outside of the arch, perhaps a handful at most. So, that tells me I will be planting my pole beans again next year on the arch trellis! (You can also see in the photo that we've had more rain again overnight, making the creek muddy and the tomatoes rot.)

I have an additional cattle panel ready to install end to end with this one, giving me a longer arch/tunnel. I just need someone to help me. It doesn’t take any strength to bend the panel… only someone to hold it steady while I stake the first end, and then walk the free end into place so I can stake it down too. I may wire the 2 panels together along the ends that connect, just for some added stability.

I’ll try and take (and post) photos of the new panel addition. Meanwhile, I have beans to pick!


  1. nice photo's ! yeah its perfect for a beans to climb and grow at a arch or a trellis . look how healthy they are . i just check some site's about gardening ,garden wind spinner , garden tools , arches and accessories this is helpful i hope it will help you it helps me a lot .

  2. I know this is a really old post but... What size are the cattle pannels you are using here? I'm trying to imagine bending one of the ones I've seen and it seems like it would be really hard. Maybe the ones I've seen are smaller. How high up is the interior to walk under?

    Leah's Mom / ss

    1. They are 16 feet long, and around 50-53 inches wide. They actually bend fairly easily, but must be secured well to offset the tendency to flatten out. I secured the ends with rebar driven in the ground about a foot. I use those panels a lot for trellis, one horizontally atop another nailed to cedar posts.

      The interior height depends on how close you secure the ends to each other. Mine was around 6' inside and I'm 5'3" tall. My friend in the next town made one using the wire mesh for concrete foundations, which can be cut to length. I think hers is slightly more than 6-1/2 feet inside since her husband is tall. She doesn't like that it rusts and has since gone to cattle panels on a raised perimeter foundation.

    2. Another trick to get more headroom is to build a double quonset. The outer sides are staked but the inner sides surmount a single (or double if you want to park a semi inside) panel. The lateral thrusts in the middle self-cancel and the spring factor largely offsets gravity--their is very little load on the central fence.

      I discovered this by accident, trying to build a double size quonset using pairs of panels end to end to get ten foot height with a semi-circular profile. It sagged in the middle but even though the structure was seven panels long I was able to hold it up in the middle with one finger! So I set three steel posts and affixed a pair of panels to make a central string to hold up the junction. I covered one side with canvas for a hay shelter and trellised vegatables on the other. After a few years a couple nice cottonwoods that I wanted to keep started growing through the open side so I took it down. Gradually the lateral thrust, now unbalanced, caused the supporting fence to tilt over, bit by bit during wet spells, until I finally decommisioned the structure.

      I think the original idea would work if you stuck rigid cross-pieces through the junction to prevent sagging but I haven't tried it. Rather than using vertical panels two-up like you I used singles mounted sixteen inches above grade. This works fine for tomatoes but is a little short for beans or malabar spinach, and some types of winter squash.

      Another way to use panels is to form a circular corral with a pair of them, overlapping one mesh. I have lots of predators here (feral cats and ferrets, coyotes, skunks, and owls big enough to carry off a newborn lamb) so the entire affair has to be covered with chicken wire. Part of the top is movable so I can service the food and water stations. I use an old bbq grill as a door for egg access.

      --Lew in central New Mexico

  3. Love this idea! My trellises are all getting old and worn out, so I've been on the hunt for new ideas. I'm getting some cattle panels this weekend - thanks


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