Posted: 23/02/2012 at 20:51
My mother saves old, laddered tights for us to use in our garden. We cut them into strips to secure blackberry plants and other whippy growth on both climbing and shrubby plants, use 'whole legs', doubled up to secure young trees to their stakes (in a figure of 8 around tree and stake to create a central buffer so that the tree doesn't rub on the stake) and even cut into thin ribbons to secure plant labels to trees and shrubs. Floppy herbaceous plants can be suported using deep ring sections of 'leg' encircling 3 or 4 stakes, which the plant then obscures with growth.
They don't rot and fall off like jute string, come in different colours so they can be chosen to blend with the plant being secured, and are strong yet soft and stretchy, so don't damage the plant. if you need an extra strong tie, use the waist band rib, which is a heavier denier than the leg bits.
We stretch the foot end of a pair of tights over a small plant pot which has the base cut out, and nestle this into the hole in the top of the each water butt, so that debris from the gutters is trapped in the foot of the tights therefore keeping the water clean. These can be periodically emptied onto the composter, or if really slimey, we just chuck the whole tights foot into the bin and replace with a fresh foot!
Tights can be packed with nettles, dandelion heads,comfrey or horse manure ( it's amazing how much they stretch) and then suspended in a bucket of water to make a compost 'tea'.
You can also use an old pair to strain compost tea through, so you don't clog the nozzle of your watering can.
They can also be used to store onions, hanging up on a beam in the garage, to store loose bundles of seed heads in an airy shed, and to dry nettle leaves which are then chopped and fed to our hens.
They are great for cleaning gutters or plastic plant pots out if you use a whole pair, rolled into a ball. No need to wash out afterwards: just throw away.
Use a whole pair, balled up to clean garden tools, and another pair to dipped in oil to wipe the metal parts down to prevent rusting.
You can use them to bundle up hose pipe, netting, and lengths of of garden fleece to hang on a hook when not in use. They are stretchy enough to be able to get some tension on the fastening, without having to tie them so tight you can't then undo the knot in the spring.
Sometimes it feels a bit wasteful to use them in this way, but they would otherwise gone straight to landfill, and it saves me buying or using something else for the same job.