Friday, 19 December 2014

Old Stockings as Garden Ties

I have been using old stockings as garden ties for a few years now. It is a great way to stake or espalier plants whilst allowing room for growth.

Our crop of tomatoes after being pruned and tied using strips from an old pair of my stockings

I'm not sure where I heard about using stockings but I suspect it was from Gardening Australia. We are pretty big fans of the TV show and have been receiving their monthly magazine for a couple of years at least.

I can't say I wear stockings often but I usually ruin them the first or second time that I wear them if I do. It's great to have a useful purpose for them after they rip.

The benefit of using stockings is that they are soft and elastic so the plants can grow for quite awhile without the risk of being cut or damaged.  Hard plastic ties are rigid and don't last very long.

To re-use the stockings just cut into strips appropriate to the use. When expaliering the olive tree I use small short strips but when tying tomatoes around big stakes I use long strips. I usually cut them 2-3 cm wide for strength.

An olive branch tied with a small stocking segment - you can see the  stretch it provides.
I usually cut off the hanging ends to neaten it up.
I must admit that when I was checking on the olives a couple of days ago and tying some new branches down I realised I had forgotten to cut off the stocking ties I had used three years ago.  They were very tight but starting to break down.  So although stocking are much gentler to use make sure that you get out and cut them off once they have served their purpose.

The espaliered olive trees that we have trained for just over three years using stocking ties
Do you repurpose used household items in the garden too? I'd love to hear how.

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