CP Greenhouse
CP Greenhouse

CP Greenhouse

I will start by saying, where I am cattle panels are not the easiest to get. We are not cattle people in the Pacific Northwest. Fish netting you can get for free but cattle panels, no. Nonetheless, after a year’s pursuit, eight cattle panels along with my order of eight t-posts made it on the back of a building supply delivery truck and across the water to Moonhill by late February. The delivery man told me they had bandied around ideas of what it was for before loading, and eyebrows raised in surprise when I told him greenhouses and trellises. It doesn’t take too long staring at the galvanized steel grid to make it click.

After my head had been so immersed in the cattle panel culture of YouTube and homesteading blogs, I was shocked there’d be any mystery. Perhaps similar to having a hammer and everything’s a nail the same goes for fish netting and coastal gardeners. Netting gets all sorts of recycled uses here but reigns supreme as heavy duty easy to erect garden fencing. Cattle Panels, on the other hand, do not just sit in off-the-shelf fashion at the regular hardware store. They can be found in some feed and building supply businesses by special order, and the price reflects their rarer nature with them at least double from what I see advertised in the U.S. – cattle panel homeland. Even at the higher cost it still outcompetes similar-sized greenhouse options in expense, and they are still considerably stronger than ready-made kit greenhouses but at a much lower cost. Fast and easy to erect but sturdy and endurable, while being able to be dismantled and reused, make it a practical solution to low-impact greenhouse building.

While I had aspired to build a 16-ft tunnel house in the lower garden, daily observation through February and March revealed it would be a poor spot for spring, losing the sun too early in the day. Summer, the area would be a great hothouse zone but what Moonhill most keenly lacks is the transitional zone of a protected nursery during the shoulder season. That led me to resurrect the site of a former greenhouse; one which had been so rotted out I had dismantled my first year here. There had been the intention to build anew but that didn’t happen until 10 years later. Building garden beds had taken priority, and I’d managed to struggle through with some starts preferring at that time to direct sow. This still remains a preference but shifting over to no-till growing I see the advantage in having a rotation of already sturdy and ready transplants to pop into the ground.

That former greenhouse had easily marked Moonhill’s sunniest spot. Unsurprisingly, the deadline of getting greens out of their start shelf, and convergence of building supplies, while watching where the sun falls when I need it the most, made this location the perfect fit for the first cattle panel build.

Stay tuned, images and details of process and outcome to be posted.

Cattle Panel Greenhouse Playlist

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