I think I first saw a cattle panel trellis on Bre Ellis’ Youtube channel. At one point, she had a trellis tunnel covered in beautiful greens, melons, and loofah. The more that I researched about cattle panel trellises, the more that I realized that they not only add beauty to the garden but also save space at a fraction of the cost of other garden trellises.
Our garden is made up of two raised beds and 18 in-ground beds with a pathway separating the garden into two columns. We decided to add three cattle panel trellises to our garden. Keep reading to find out how to make your own cattle panel trellises!
This post may contain affiliate links, and I may earn a small commission when you click on the links at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products that I would use myself and hope that these resources are beneficial to you.
Benefits of Trellising
As I mentioned above, garden trellises are not only beautiful but are also beneficial to plants and the garden as a whole.
- Vertical Growing Space: A trellis provides vertical growing space, allowing plants to grow upwards instead of sprawling on the ground. This is especially beneficial for vining plants like tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, and beans. By growing vertically, these plants can maximize their exposure to sunlight and optimize their growth.
- Increased Yield: When plants are trained to grow on a trellis, they can produce a higher yield. The vertical growth allows for better air circulation and sunlight penetration, which promotes healthier plants and encourages more abundant fruit or flower production.
- Space Efficiency: Trellises are excellent space-saving solutions for small gardens or limited areas. By utilizing vertical space, you can grow more plants in a compact area without overcrowding or shading other plants. This can be particularly helpful in urban or container gardens.
- Improved Air Circulation: Growing plants on trellises allows air to circulate more freely around the foliage. This increased airflow helps prevent the development of diseases, such as fungal infections, by reducing humidity and allowing the plants to dry more quickly after rainfall or irrigation.
- Easier Plant Maintenance: Trellises make it easier to tend to your plants. Pruning, training, and harvesting become more accessible when plants are growing vertically. You can easily access the fruits, flowers, or foliage without having to bend down as much.
- Pest Control: By elevating plants off the ground, trellises can help deter some pests. Crawling insects and ground-dwelling creatures may find it more challenging to access the plants when they are growing vertically.
These are just a few of the benefits of adding a trellis to your garden, especially if you are working within limited space.
Types of Vegetables that Can Trellis
This year, we planted indeterminate tomatoes, zucchini, and cucumbers on our cattle panel trellises. So far, the cucumbers are filling out the trellises well. The tomatoes are a little sparse, and the zucchini, while thriving, is more difficult to train to grow up the trellis.
You can train vegetables or fruit to climb a garden trellis, but you can also train gorgeous pollinator flowers. This year, my garden has struggled with pollination. Many of my plants are producing a significant amount of flowers but little to no fruit. I’m hoping to add in more pollinators to my garden to encourage more bees to visit.
Here are a few other suggestions for vegetables, fruits, and flowers to grow on a cattle panel trellis:
- Vining Vegetables: Many vegetable plants are well-suited for trellises. Common options include tomatoes, cucumbers, pole beans, peas, and squash. These plants have trailing or climbing habits and can thrive when trained to grow vertically.
- Melons: Some smaller melon varieties can be trained to grow vertically. Examples include compact or bush-type watermelons or cantaloupes. These plants require strong support and appropriate training to ensure the trellis can bear the weight of the developing fruits.
- Climbing Roses: Climbing rose varieties can be trained to grow on trellises, creating a stunning display of blooms. They add beauty, fragrance, and a touch of romance to your garden.
- Grapes: Grapes are natural climbers and can be trained to grow on trellises. They require sturdy support and proper pruning, but they reward you with delicious fruits for eating fresh or making wine.
- Climbing Hydrangeas: These flowering vines produce clusters of beautiful, showy blooms. Climbing hydrangeas can be trained to grow on trellises, walls, or fences, adding charm and elegance to your garden.
- Clematis: Clematis vines are known for their vibrant, eye-catching flowers. They come in a variety of colors and bloom shapes. Clematis can be trained to grow on trellises, arbors, or pergolas.
- Sweet Peas: Sweet peas are fragrant, delicate flowers that come in a range of colors. They are popular for their enchanting scent and make excellent additions to trellises, adding beauty and fragrance to your garden; although, they are not edible.
- Wisteria: Wisteria is a woody vine that produces long, cascading clusters of fragrant flowers. With their stunning floral display, wisteria vines are often trained to grow on trellises, arbors, or pergolas.
These are just a few options to add to your garden! Next year, I think I will plant cucumbers, melons, and pollinators on our trellises.
Getting Supplies for the Cattle Panel Trellis
We don’t have a truck, so I had some trouble figuring out how to get the cattle panels to our house. A few options were to rent a truck, borrow a truck, try to strap them to the top of our minivan, or find a place that delivered. Cattle panels are available at Tractor Supply, Sutherlands, sometimes Home Depot, and local farm supply stores.
We have a lot on our plate right now, so the easiest option was finding a place that delivered. I called around and found a local place that delivered three panels for $30 total. It was less than it would have cost us to rent a truck, and it was a whole lot more convenient too!
If you are having trouble transporting cattle panels, I highly recommend calling local farm stores (if you have any) and seeing if they will deliver.
We already had t-posts on hand, but they are fairly inexpensive and are available for purchase at stores like Home Depot, Menards, or Lowe’s. Zip ties are available at many local stores or on Amazon.
Carson’s friend from work had a friend who owned a t-post driver. He generously loaned it to us for free. If you are planning on doing a significant amount of fencing, it may be worth it to purchase, rent, or borrow your own. You could also use a rubber mallet if you don’t have a driver available to you.
Materials Needed for One Cattle Panel Trellis
How to Build the Cattle Panel Trellis
The trellises were not hard to build, but they were a little awkward and required two people to bend the fencing into place.
Although you could adjust the spacing to fit your garden, we placed the t-posts that were straddling the garden beds about 3 feet apart. These posts were 5 feet away from the posts on the opposite side.
First, we measured and put rocks where we wanted the posts. Carson drove the t-posts into the ground using the t-post driver with the grooves on the posts facing inward. The posts straddled the garden bed on each side as pictured below.
When securing the t-posts in place, Carson took one end of each panel and I took the other. We bent it into place, creating an arch over the pathway. Then, we secured the panel into place with the zip ties. The panels were not extremely heavy, but they were a little awkward and difficult to maneuver.
Cattle Panel Trellis Training Tips
It is helpful to thin out the plants and prune them as they begin to grow. This encourages new growth and keeps good air flow at the base of the plant. You can use garden pruning shears or scissors for pruning.
You’ll also need some garden ties or twine to train the plants to grow up your trellis. Otherwise, they will grow all over your garden pathways and beds! I use a combination of tomatoes ties, wire, and twine.
Other Trellis Options
If you are unable to get cattle panels to your house or want a different type of trellis option, click HERE for some other types of trellises you could order online and use.
Our Overall Garden Plan
I have shared our garden layout in a previous post, but if you are starting from scratch and need some garden design ideas, this is what we did this year.
Our raised beds are 4 feet wide by 10 feet long by 10 inches tall (4ft x 10ft x 10in). We are using the raised beds for perennials that will come back year after year like rhubarb, strawberries, asparagus, and herbs. I am also planting seasonal companion plants like garlic, spinach, and kale in the beds.
Our no-dig garden is directly behind our raised beds. It is 26 feet wide by 36 feet long. Behind each raised bed, there are 9 no-till beds. Each bed is 30 inches wide and 10 feet long. We have a center aisle that is two feet so that we can fit our wheelbarrow down the middle. I chose 30 inches for the beds and 18 inches for the rows.
As I mentioned above, we included three trellises that arch over the garden pathway. Next year, we would love to add some fencing. Although our entire property is fenced, we have had some issues with animals getting into the garden and think that fencing would significantly improve this problem! It would also allow us to free-range our chickens without supervision.
Other Garden Resources
Check out these other blog posts about starting seeds, no-till gardening, and homesteading skills!
I’d love to see if you make your own cattle panel trellis! Tag me on Instagram if you make your own.