I am 5/8's British (by process of simple math, I am also 3/8's German) and I love English-style gardens. I especially love trellises that arch over walkways, providing a shady, lovely respite from the sun. Many things prevent me from having a true English cottage garden; one is the fact that I live in east TN with its hot, muggy summers, another is lack of funds needed to purchase the needed supplies (the actual glass greenhouse, the decorative arches and arbors and, most importantly, pay the multitude of gardeners who would do all of the heavy lifting to put these structures together... and also do the darn weeding!
I am also a YouTube fanatic. One day, while perusing some gardening videos, I happened upon one from Roots & Refuge Farm that demonstrated the use of a lowly cattle panel as a trellis.
Oooh, something I could totally do! There was just one problem.... I had no way to transport 16 foot sections of cattle panel home from the store. Even doubled over, they would be too big for my Saturn Vue and I envisioned any number of catastrophes if I tied them to the roof. Thankfully, after I posted about my dilemma to my Facebook page, one of my friends volunteered her husband, son, pickup truck & trailer to help me out. I simply used the store's website to purchase 3 of the panels, called the store to let them know who would be picking them up and when. Twenty four hours later, I had them.
As you can tell by the pictures, I mainly garden in raised beds. The top soil layer on my garden site is practically non-existent. For the past 6 gardening seasons, I have been gradually building raised beds and filling them with soil. I currently have 20+ raised beds of various sizes and construction. My favorite size is 4' x 8' x 1', but I have some that are longer, thinner, taller shorter. I have used 2" x 12" lumber, decking, 2 x 4's, cement blocks and even pallet wood. Because lumber prices have increased so significantly, cement blocks are my new best friends.
The one area where raised beds fall short is space for sprawling things, like melons, winter squash/pumpkins, cucumbers and pole beans. I have erected simple structures for the beans & cukes to climb before, but they were either too small for the ultimate height of the plants and/or too rickety.
Another issue I had is the fact that there is absolutely no shade in my garden area and I hope that the trellised plants will shade the ground underneath them, so I can grow things that appreciate a little of that shade when it's 90°+ and 100% humidity in the summer.
You can go online and research cattle panel trellises, but this is how I did mine. The first two panels were installed on 2 pre-existing raised beds; one arches between 2 raised beds to form a walkway, the other spans over the center of a bed. The 3rd trellis was installed in my new pallet wood raised bed before I filled it with soil. I was able to anchor the ends of the panel inside the raised bed wall, so I didn't need to secure this panel with T-posts like I did the first 2. (At least, I hope not!)
Gardening season resumes in a few weeks. Stay tuned for pictures of my trellises in action!
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