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Creative Upcycled Plant Tie Ideas
I love finding creative ways to repurpose household items for a new use outdoors. I never seem to have enough plant ties for staking up climbers like tomatoes, cucumber, beans and peas. Maybe you’re the same?
A few of the things I upcycle as plant ties include: ratty old tea towels and bath towels; soft stretchy tee-shirts; ripped jeans (whoops – don’t tell my husband!); holey pantyhose; and other soft, flexible clothing fabric.
Just cut fabric into strips about 1cm/0.5in wide and 30cm/12in long with a sharp pair of scissors. I use the pantyhose to stretch around bigger plants like unruly tomatoes that take up too much personal space. I find these an ideal solution. Keep a few ties out in the garden tied to your stakes or trellis so you have them handy.
These plant ties don’t damage soft stemmed plants that snap and break easily and have plenty of ‘give’ and stretch. Give them a try!
Easy Way to Clean Tools
I also reuse old towels to help keep tools clean. After washing the soil off your hand tools like secateurs and trowels, use an old towel to dry them. Cleaning helps maintain good hygiene and the spread of pathogens from one plant to another.
In a self-seal bag, I also keep a square piece of hessian, burlap or towel soaked in a small quantity of vegetable or mineral oil. It should just be moist enough to wipe over your tools to leave a light oily finish. This prevents rust from forming and keeps the parts in good working order. The longer your tools last, the more money you save!
8 Ways to Use Hessian in your Garden
Natural hessian, burlap or jute has so many garden uses. It’s biodegradable and solves many problems. You may have an old potato sack lying around in your shed. These are a few of the ways you use it.
8 Ways to Use Hessian, Burlap or Jute
Eat a Rainbow for Good Health
I grow a diverse variety of colourful fruits and vegetables. Why? These not only taste amazing and look pretty on the plate, but the pigments or colours provide valuable health benefits. Each colour group contains specific nutrients and phytochemicals (fight-o-chemicals) that help boost your health. Some of these plant chemicals help reduce the risk of common diseases like cancer, protect against aging and build your immune system.
When I grow, cook and eat colourful foods, I’m aware this kind of diet helps prevent many health problems. Many of the plant chemicals have protective jobs to do in the body. Others help remove toxins or clean up the blood and cells. I’m all for this kind of ‘health insurance!’
Rainbow of colourful vegetables harvest from my garden
You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘eat your greens’ a million times! For good reason. Leafy greens have many benefits. Green vegetables like spinach, lettuces, rocket and Asian greens are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. Antioxidants help fight free radicals that are responsible for triggering many diseases, by keeping them in check. A balancing act of sorts.
Even within one colour group, there is still a wide variety of nutrients that different plant families can offer you too. The brassica or cruciferous family (broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, etc) also contain powerful sulphur compounds. Brassica vegetables contain compounds that help reduce inflammation, stimulate the immune system, decrease cancer risk and reduce cancer cell growth. I encourage you to start eating and growing this family of wonderful health promoting vegetables. Try them as microgreens if you don’t have the space to grow them in your garden as fully grown vegetables.
So, I hope this inspires you to grab some seeds or seedlings and get planting!
Peas – Did you know?
Sugar snap peas ready for harvest in my garden
Peas have to be one of my most favourite vegetables to grow. My hubby won’t eat shelled peas so I grow snow and sugar snap varieties I can add raw to salads, steam or cook in stir fries. Easier to hide them in there! Peas have many other benefits too.
- Peas are easy, low maintenance, grow vertically and provide sweet pods over a long period.
- They are an environmentally friendly food crop. Peas, like other legumes, are soil builders. They help ‘fix nitrogen’ in the soil, which means you don’t have to add fertilizers for the food plants you grow next. Soil bacteria around the root zone convert nitrogen gas from the air into more complex, usable forms. So never pull your peas out of the soil. Chop up the spent stems as mulch and allow the roots to break down and feed your soil.
- Rotating peas with other food crops helps reduce the risk of pest and disease problems.
- If you can’t use fresh peas on the day you harvest or buy them, refrigerate quickly. This helps preserve the natural sugars and stops them from turning into starch. You can also blanch* peas for 1-2 minutes and then freeze. *[Cook quickly in boiling water, then plunge into cold water].
If you want to get planting peas in your garden, check out my free tutorial ‘Easy Guide to Growing Perfect Peas.’
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Wow! You managed to get to the end, so thanks for reading! Until next month, I encourage you to embrace dirty fingernails, muddy boots and the joys of growing your own.
I look forward to sharing more ways to grow good health soon.
Anne Gibson, The Micro Gardener
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