Sunday, September 10, 2006

Pantyhose in the Garden

I don’t do much staking in the garden, but I am training a number of vines up various structures. My favorite material for securing plants to supports is pantyhose. Working up the legs, I cut a section off and snip it in half to yield a stretchy length of fabric. The elasticity is the hose’s main attraction. It allows the plants to respond to wind and mechanical disturbances without snapping the stems. I also like pantyhose because the light brown color blends well with the garden. It is unobtrusive.

It can be difficult to find enough hose for a season of gardening. Generally, I don’t wear pantyhose. However, I often have to wear it as a performer. After we complete a run of a show, I ask for all the ladies’ pantyhose (which are generally full of rips and holes by this point). My germ phobia could be an obstacle to handling other people’s dirty tights, but I remind myself that the garden is worth it and hands are washable. Once home, I wash all of the hose and then store them in the garage for use. Tammy Faye yielded plenty of pantyhose for this season and beyond.

I’m still undecided on the material’s longevity. It does seem prone to UV-damage. I’ve noticed that some strips are beginning to look a bit ragged after a few months of exposure. This hasn’t been too much of an issue because I continue to add new lengths to the top-growth of the vines, so the older, lower ties are no longer crucial.

Although the hose seems to breakdown while in use, I’m concerned that the snipped off ends that fall in the soil and used lengths that make it to the compost will persist in the environment. It probably seems silly, but sometimes I worry about the earthworms choking on nylon strands the way sea turtles do on plastic bags. Generally, I try to police the unneeded pieces and toss them in the trash.

Time will tell whether pantyhose prove to be a reliable tie-down for my plants, but I’m willing to experiment with a material I got for free. The hose seems to be working well so far, and I enjoy chuckling at the sight of saggy tights mixed in with my gardening tools. Finally, I’d rather cut up pantyhose than wear them!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too use pantyhose,and love it as a tie. (And damn you for having a free source. Since I quit my cube job, I have run out.:(
It is however a bear if it gets in your tiller tines. So I try to toss it because it doesnt seem to compost.

6:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too use pantyhose in the garden for various uses. I cut strips to anchor tomatoe vines, grape vines and the like. I have also used and entire pair stretched over wire cages to protect young plants from bugs and worms. Another helpfull use for pantyhose is to wear them while gardening to avoid those dreaded chiggers. I love the feel of pantyhose and wear them almost everyday so having an adequate supply of used and ruined hose for the garden is not an issue.

9:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Black Opaque 60 denier nylon tights work the best to be "cut up" and "shredded" for gardening i have a plentifull 16 yr old grandaughters school Tights!!

2:48 PM  

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