Appalachia Gardening

Our New Cattle Panel Bean Trellis

cattle panel bean trellis

We decided to try a different way of trellising our greenbeans this year. For many years we’ve used the method Pap taught us. Somehow Pap managed to keep his bean rows neat and clean. Something we always struggle with.

The idea for using cow panels to grow beans on came from a Youtube channel called Roots and Refuge Farm. After seeing a couple of videos The Deer Hunter said he thought panels would work great for our beans.

Usually we have three 60 foot long bean rows. This year we decreased the size of our bean rows to 48 feet and only planted two rows. We’re hoping the decrease will offer more air circulation and sunlight to help us have healthier plants.

tie wire on cattle panel

Cow panels are 50 inches wide by 16 feet long. We used three panels per row.

The Deer Hunter attached them to t-posts: one post at each end and one in the middle. The panels slightly overlap so that saved on t-posts. We raised the panels off the ground about 16 inches, so the beans will be able to climb about 6 feet. We may have to stand on a bucket to pick them 🙂

The couple on Youtube used zip-ties to attach the panels to the t-posts, but we used tire-wire.

We were amazed at how fast the panels went up compared to stringing wire and sea grass twine like we’ve done in the past.

At first The Deer Hunter said we could take the panels down every fall and the garden would be easier to till, but now we’re thinking we may leave them up permanently.

If you’ve ever used cow panels in your garden please leave a comment and tell us about it.


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  • Reply
    May 8, 2020 at 7:03 am

    Doesn’t that look like a tidy garden just waiting to happen!
    I use stock panels for garden trellis and for fencing the goats. One thing about them I really like is the bendiness, as most of my fencing has to go around big rocks that don’t allow a post to be driven.
    There are three or more different kinds of panel, which may be why some folks are seeing very different prices. But even the ones you bought – the “combination panels” that have smaller opening at the bottom so they can be used for hogs or cattle – are more expensive here than yours were. I try to buy a few when my farmers’ co-op has their 10% off sale, but even so I always feel like I’m investing in precious metal. I plan to specifically mention all my stock panels in my Will, so someone can come and get them all.
    Oh, and last year I did something I’ve wanted to do for ages – made arches with stock panels. Grew my Candy Roasters on them – it worked very well and I could put a lawn chair under the arch and enjoy the dappled shade in between sessions of working in the garden. I’ll be planting them that way again this year. After the coming snow and freeze, that is!

  • Reply
    Lemuel Waite
    May 7, 2020 at 11:23 am

    Have used wire livestock panels (4-gauge) and T-posts for climbing garden crops, and for blackberry cultivation, and for structure supports when we use annual viney plants for homemade shady zones for chickens, plants, and people. Cheers!

  • Reply
    May 6, 2020 at 11:46 pm

    Those look really nice,sturdy…… especially when they’ll be hanging full of green beans.

  • Reply
    Mary Lou McKillip
    May 6, 2020 at 6:18 pm

    Tipper my what a clever ideal, I was the one who tied Twine after the guys strung two wires boy that was a chore.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 6, 2020 at 3:34 pm

    I saw you all installing these cattle panels and I have to say it looks like an excellent idea. I’m anxious to see them in action this summer. We are going to have summer, aren’t we? It’s a little cool today to think about gardening.

  • Reply
    Gina Smith
    May 6, 2020 at 3:19 pm

    Looks great! I work in a farm store and we sell a lot of the panels and posts for garden use. They can even be bowed over to make an arbor!

  • Reply
    harry adams
    May 6, 2020 at 1:57 pm

    I have gone from hog wire strung loosely on tee posts to using bamboo poles supported by a telephone wire strung on tee posts. Now who remembers telephone wire. I am too cheap to use cattle panels. I started a bamboo patch just to have stakes. I cut them with pruning shears to 6′ and use the short tops for tree markers when I set out seedlings. The poles are easier to handle and store than the hog wire.

    Use leaves and old hay as mulch to reduce weeds and water. Tilled in the fall in a few years the dirt will be black not yellow.

    We plant 2 rows about 45′ per row and if the beans make then we have more than enough to can. Usually over 125 quarts for us and my daughter. If they don’t make, then twice as much wouldn’t have been any better.
    we have started planting green peas (English peas) on alternating rows. The peas are finished when the beans start growing so now we have a wide row on one side of the beans and an empty row between the 2 rows.

    to make dismantling easier, use aluminum wire to tie the panels to the post the same way as installing a fence. Also don’t drive the posts in the ground but about half way. Unless you have extremely high winds, there is no need to install the tee posts as if you are building a fence to keep cattle in.

    Anyone putting a fence around a garden, if possible install the wire temporarily on ends to make plowing easier. I did this by putting the tee posts on ends in PVC pipe. once wire is removed, the posts can be lifted out of the ground.

    As a deer deterrent, put 18″ of PVC pipe on top of the tee posts. They think the wire is taller than it is. I have only 5′ wire and have never had a deer problem.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    May 6, 2020 at 1:12 pm

    I love all the Wilsons, I went to school with Homar Wilson’s boys, Reed and David. They moved away, probably to Gastonia where Homar was called to Preach. Daddy liked him and as soon as the Family moved back, a Church snatched on to him. It’s behind the New School, above Andrews, and you brought Chitter and Chatter and Paul there one time to play and Sing. I can’t think of the name of the Church, right now, but Homar used to Pastor there. Daddy took us to Revivals and such. He lived up to his nineties and him and his wife use to sing. …Ken

  • Reply
    Yecedrah Beth Higman
    May 6, 2020 at 11:22 am

    We are trying panels this year. We have them set up for the cucumbers to climb. I hope they work good.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 6, 2020 at 9:46 am

    There is a drawback to leaving your trellis in place year after year. Diseases and insects that might get into the roots of your plants this year will have a head start next year. Farmers call it crop rotation. It applies to gardens too, only more so, if space is tight.

  • Reply
    Steve in tn
    May 6, 2020 at 9:00 am

    Used for beans and tomatoes. For beans, excellent. For tomatoes a little more work. My tomatoes tended to sunburn due to being spread out vs. gathered around a pole. Also, needed to be moved every couple years due to tomato deseases. Still, makes tieing up much easier. Moving panels and driving posts is good exercise.

  • Reply
    Margie Goldstein
    May 6, 2020 at 8:51 am

    I’m in WV where sunny days now can literally be counted on 2 hands for the entire year! They say it may SNOW this SATURDAY! I’ve given up farming in these dark conditions ( rainiest year ever recorded was last year all over the world and this year is in the top 5 rainiest of all years ever recorded!) Greenhouses May be the only way I can see to flourish. I’m simply growing flowers up on my mountain of clay that runs an entire city block…. I got lots of weeds not worth a penny. Do I admire your dedication—— oh my yes I do and wish you great success! I have container planted many flowers that are all barely living shaking in the cold dark wind under the cover of a porch! Anybody got sunshine youd sell me? Willing to pay dearly for some…. have a great day all as I huddle under my electric blanket by the gas fireplace in Bluefield, WV—— brrrrrrr. Going to FLORIDA in the morning for a while….

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    May 6, 2020 at 8:46 am

    I was not aware such things as cattle panels existed until you mentioned them. I went looking for them online and I am intrigued. I could trellis my bean rows with just 2 panels for sides. I would worry though that they would not be quite tall enough, even though as you say it could be a stretch to get the topmost beans.

    I’m tempted to use them to make tomato cages, cucumber cages, etc. But what I found said 4-guage wire which I think would be hard to bend or cut but maybe not. At least it is stiff enough to support itself. I have been wanting to find some 4″ mesh hog wire for cages but it seems it is only sold in rolls of several hundred feet.

    it will be really nice for you to be able to walk down between the rows easily. Please share with us later how it works out, pros and cons and what you all decide about leaving up or taking down. But maybe I should ask you how you got them hauled to your house at 16′ long.

    • Reply
      May 6, 2020 at 6:45 pm

      Ron-Thankfully The Deer Hunter has a trailer so hauling them wasn’t hard for us. Our local Tractor Supply had the panels and since the virus mess they’ve offered curbside pick up after you order and pay online.

  • Reply
    May 6, 2020 at 8:38 am

    I have never used cow panels for my beans. The bicycle rims I rig at the top of a PVC pipe work great and are so easy to install and remove. I wonder if the panels would be effective at keeping the deer out of my garden if we fully enclose it. Someone is coming today to give me an estimate on a fence and I will ask. The deer ate several tomato plants within hours after I planted them. They usually won’t eat vegetable plants that are coated with Sevin Dust but that didn’t stop them this time. Makes me dread the fight I’m facing with Bambi when my beans come up.

    • Reply
      Margie Goldstein
      May 6, 2020 at 8:56 am

      I know this may floor you, but human urine deters deer so if you’d mark your perimeter, the deer won’t come near. Has to be reapplied after rains. Patch Adams taught me that many years ago at his farm! Works wonders and is FREE!

  • Reply
    aw griff
    May 6, 2020 at 8:38 am

    I have never used cattle panels but think I will try something like that for growing peas, beans, or tying tomatoes. My Brother uses fencing for growing his sugar snap peas and tying up tomatoes. He has the prettiest peas I ever seen.
    I agree with TMC about using bamboo for stakes. I got so much bamboo I had to cut part of it down. Starlings were roosting in it by the thousands. I had a chipper years ago and didn’t have much use for it and sold it. I’m thinking now I could really use a chipper for making mulch out of the bamboo. Dad called it pipe stem, well my bamboo gets way too big for pipe stems.

  • Reply
    Larry Proffitt
    May 6, 2020 at 8:26 am

    That sure is a fine looking straight row with room enough between rows to till it all summer easily. As the saying goes if I were a betting man I would bet those two rows will exceed the 3 tight rows. Great idea to leave panels yr to yr.

  • Reply
    May 6, 2020 at 8:26 am

    We use them for tomatoes too.

  • Reply
    William Dotson
    May 6, 2020 at 7:45 am

    Tipper,I have been using cattle panels for years, have used them for my pole beans, cucumbers, squash and gourds, have even tied tomatoes to them, they are very handy in the garden.

  • Reply
    May 6, 2020 at 7:37 am

    It sounds like a good idea, too bad all the online places only sell it for over $80….phew!

    • Reply
      May 6, 2020 at 6:47 pm

      Dana-yikes! That’s expensive. In our area I found them the cheapest at Tractor Supply. They were about $23 a piece, which is still pricey for us, but knowing we can use them for years to come helps the cost make more sense.

  • Reply
    glyn underwood
    May 6, 2020 at 7:15 am

    we use them for cukes also

  • Reply
    May 6, 2020 at 6:15 am

    I like it, never used them but if we had a large garden that would be on my list, I’ve gone the raised bed route the last couple years and this year is the wicking buckets for some of our garden along with the raised beds, we used to use cane or saplings and string, that was slow putting up and they never last, this way you’ll have these panels for years to come.

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