Patti Schiendelman, Maker Media index, and New World Geek, posted a piece about using Cat-5 cable to create a garden trellis on her fence. She writes:

Last year I did a webby-looking twine support for my green beans – it worked really well, plus it was entertaining to look at while waiting for the beans to grow. When the season was over and I took down the dead vines, the twine had rotted and came right down, too. This year I decided to make my supports out of wire. I found a bunch of Cat-5 wire at the RE Store; Cat-5 has eight strands of wire (four twisted pairs) in an insulation jacket. I tried the usual wire stripping technique – cutting the circumference of the insulation at intervals and pulling it off the end, like you’d do for a smaller wire – but it didn’t work for the group of wires, plus the length was about 65 feet. Kaden suggested I split the insulation lengthwise for about 6 inches, then pull the wires and insulation away from each other – it worked like a charm. It’s still hard on the hands, though; I couldn’t have done it without wearing my cat-herding gloves.

Garden pea/bean supports

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy person’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

  • Jack Dubious

    I thought this was gonna be a story about wiring your garden with Cat5 for network access. :(

  • SKR

    I did as well. :(

  • Patti Schiendelman

    You guys! Is your goal to never have to go outside unless it’s absolutely necessary??? :P

  • pj

    That’s great! I recently came across a large tangled mess of 24 gauge, solid-core wire at a construction site I was working at that was being thrown out. I plan on using it to make some trellises for my hop bines to grow up.

  • Jack Dubious

    No. I think our goal is when we go outside we still have access to our gigabit lans. :P

  • SKR

    It’s not about not going outside. I’m an avid gardener. I was thinking more along the lines of being able to observe and control from work. You know, garden automation. :)

  • Link Vector

    Most ethernet cable has a small thread of nylon twine embedded with the twisted pairs. Split the insulation back far enough to grab ahold of it and simply pull down against the insulation. It will peel like a bannana.


  • Paul Sturm

    The insulation from the pairs will breakdown in the sunlight and litter your garden with pieces of plastic when it starts to crumble off the copper.