I often laugh at the plant ties that are sold in gardening catalogs. Did you have any idea I was so cruel? Well, it’s true. I laugh because I make own and with just a little effort have more than enough to get me through a season. Since I prune and stake my tomatoes, I go through a lot of plant ties each year. Since I’m cheap, whenever I can make something myself or repurpose something I already have on hand. To make your own plant ties all you need is a t-shirt that’s destined for the rag bin and a pair of scissors. (Edited to add:) I use 100% cotton shirts so I don’t have to worry about getting every piece during fall cleanup and the ones I miss can go right in the compost.
Start by laying the shirt flat and cutting through both layers straight across under the arms.
Fold one side of the resulting tube over to about an inch from the other side. The piece has been rotated in this view. See the hem on the right? Now cut 1” strips from the bottom edge up and just through the edge you’ve folded up but not all the way across. If your shirt is really thin you can cut the strips wider for stronger ties.
Here’s more of a close-up. Sorry it’s hard to see the edges with white on white.
Continue cutting the strips all the way down to the hem, which I leave on. Why work more than I have to?
Now comes the tricky clever part.
On the leftmost edge cut an angled cut through only one layer of cloth from the top of your first vertical cut out through the edge of the tube. Then cut through only one layer from the second vertical cut in front to the first cut in back. Repeat these cuts all along the rest of the vertical cuts. When you get to the end you’ll be cutting in from the outside edge of the hem to open the last loop.
Ta daaaaaah! You now have a continuous strip of material. Roll it into the ball and it’s ready to go to the garden. There. Now you’ve got a little task you can do while you’re waiting for spring.
Since you’ve stuck with reading this all the way to the end, here’s a bonus tip: When I would tie up plants I used to cut off a length of the material first. Invariably it was either too long or too short. Now I keep the ball in a bag or bucket I take to wherever I’m tying up whatever. I just pull out the end of the strip, tie what I’m tying and then cut it. I know. It’s not rocket science, but when I realized how much more efficient it was I was pretty proud of myself.
What common household items have you found uses for in your kitchen garden?