Thursday, December 31, 2009

Effective, cheap-to-free home made plant ties

Don’t you just love it when the best solutions in life and gardening are easy, even free? Those of us who grow tomatoes, pole beans, plus climbing roses, grapes and tropical flowering vines have bought expensive plant twist ties that are often cumbersome to use and then later on strangle the plant’s stems as they grow. But once again, creative recycling comes to the rescue.

Your women friends may at first think you’re a bit kinky when you ask them to save for you their panty hose with runs until they see you can make 20 or more very effective plant ties from each one! Heck, they may start to keep them for themselves!

Gather the rump section into a wad in one hand, then ust use a sharp pair of scissors to cut off the waist band so that it ends up a ring; snip it once to make a long, strong, flexible band perfect for training stiff-stemmed grapes and climbing roses and cherry tomatoes. Depending on what plant you are training, you may be able to cut it in two.

Then cut off each leg, snip off each toe end and discard that, then cut each leg into 10 equal lengths. Slip those rings over one hand and use the other to stretch them several times till they curl themselves up into little tubes. Snip that handful of nylon loops and voila! You’ve got a nice bundle of long plant ties perfect for training vines to a trellis or chain link fence. Need shorter ones? Cut the bundle in half again and double the number of plant ties.

Cut the rump section remaining into about 3 rings and snip those once for medium strength plant ties perfect for patio tomatoes or flowering vines like mandevilla or allamanda.
Using them is way-easy; just loop a nylon tie around a stem once, then tie it to the fence or trellis using a double knot. In no time you’ll train vines all over that formerly ugly chain link fence. I use them to train my climbing and rambling roses up 10 foot lengths of construction rebar pounded 3 feet into the ground to create lovely English-style "rose pillars" in my garden and that of my clients. Resistant to UV and rain, these nylon ties stretch as stems grow, preventing strangulation.

An entire panty hose leg can be used where great strength is needed, such as on mature muscadine grapes, Wichuriana rambling roses, and bougainvillas. Unsightly at first, they are soon consumed and hidden by new growth.

Hey, waste not, want not...recycle those panty hose and get a leg up on your unruly vines!

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