I have no real idea what to call these things. They’re not a true trellis, and “cow panel fence thing” doesn’t sound all that sexy. So we’re going to call this a garden fort. Because I have boys and forts are always a hit.
My garden space is not large, but it is quite spread out and has wheelchair walkways interspersed throughout. I have maxed out the entire area, and can’t expand any further. So instead of going out, I have to go up. Cucumbers, green beans, and peas all have to grow up and over something, and I’ll be honest in that I have gone through so many variations of netting, twine, supports, and wooden trellises. The netting gets tangled, the twine lasts maybe one season if I am lucky, and the wooden trellises have been known to rot, and the part that goes in the dirt always seems to snap off.
First world problems for sure. But annoying nonetheless.
This week, realizing that my cucumbers were starting to get ready to climb (and there was nothing for them to climb), and my green beans hadn’t even been planted yet, I did what I always do in such instances. I looked online, figured out what I wanted to do, and then asked Troy to make it for me. All the players are familiar with their roles. It’s a smooth process at this point.
Troy and Jack hit up the farm store the next day, and came home with four, eight foot cattle fence panels. We propped them up in the beds, and realized that eight feet was waaaaaay too high for what we needed them to be. Troy and Jack cut off the pieces we didn’t need (and set them aside), and Troy removed the horizontal piece at the base so that all was left was the vertical pokeys to go in to the soil. Using some odds and ends of wire he had hanging around, he joined the two panels at the top, creating a hinge.
We then lifted them in to the garden boxes, and made sure the base was sunk deeply in to the soil. He took the excess pieces that were cut from the top of each panel, and inserted them in the middle of the “V”, and attached them with the same squirreled away wire. This is to create more of a secure middle, and to make it stronger overall.
And that was it. All together, I think it maybe took about an hour, including going to the store to get the fencing. Each panel was around $12.50, so we paid about $54 total. Now there are loads of “how to’s” out there on using sticks and twine and odds and ends to create garden trellises for free, but frankly, I didn’t want to mess with this crap every year, store a bunch of busted ass sticks, and re-twine them each spring. The galvanized metal is crazy strong, and will be around when my grand kids come over to pick cucumbers.
Both forts take up much of two large planting boxes (that Troy built in 2012. See how that works? Good times.), and are home to pickling cucumbers and green beans. The “slicing” cucumbers live on a fence in the front yard. Next spring they will hold peas that I just couldn’t get my act together in time this year to plant. Scratch that. I couldn’t plant them, because I didn’t have my trellises installed. Yep, let’s go with that.