I put lines up over my garden rows for a variety of different reasons.
Some of the lines will stay up all season, and some for as little as a few weeks or a month. The baling twine is the most common thing on the farm to use for line and I use it for everything.
Reasons to consider using lines in your garden include:
1. You have kids in or around your garden
Some people have difficulties keeping their kids out of the garden. I can keep a babe or toddler on my back until they turn three, and then I have this same concern. While kids three and up can be taught well to stay out of certain areas, when you are first planting, it can be very confusing where they can and cannot step.
Putting lines up is a visual aid to anyone other than the person planting to see where the plants are. After your veggies come up, you can then easily remove them once everyone knows where to and not to step.
2. You have birds that eat your freshly planted seeds or seedlings
If you have birds, you know how frustrating it is to plant your seeds just to have the birds pick out your freshly planted seeds, or your young seedlings.
When you place a string an inch or two above the planting site, birds are so much more likely to leave your seeds and young seedlings alone.
3. You tend to forget where you have planted
Okay… I can do this within 5 minutes of planting sometimes.
If you’ve ever planted your rows and then the next day came back to water your sites only to wonder where exactly they were planed, then this could be a good technique for you to employ.
Our garden is fairly good-sized, and if I don’t mark everything as I’m planting, it can get chaotic pretty quickly. As soon as seedlings emerge, or rows are well recognizable, the strings come off.
4. You need cheap trellises for your produce
When I plant my peas, beans, or other climbers, I immediately get a line out over them. As they grow up, I add lines for them to climb. Again, this is all done with baling twine, because that’s what we have, and it is super strong. It’s more mobile than a wire trellis, and definitely cheaper.
Another benefit is that I can always make it as long, short, and tall as I want it every time. Modifications are easy, and so is clean-up at the end of the year.
5. You need assistance making straight lines
When you have long rows (like I do), it’s easy for your lines to start curving, or waving. Putting a line up (higher at first) is a tremendous help when it’s important to plant in straight lines.
These lines can be taken down as soon as you’ve planted, or kept up for a couple weeks or a month until your rows are well established.
6. You want a marker for different varieties
If you look closely at the lines in my garden, you will see yellow baling twine tied to orange twine. This is done where varieties change. In this picture it shows where yellow onions stop and sweet onions begin.
If you drive along commercial fields in the early spring, you may see little flags in the fields. Likely, this is to mark a change in varieties, such as the change between Yukons and red potatoes.
7. Your stakes act as a safety guard for your hoses
Okay, so this isn’t necessarily a benefit of the line as much as the stake. My rows are so long, that it’s nearly impossible to get hoses around in it without hitting plants–which means breaking off some of my beloved plants.
I generally leave the stakes at the ends of the rows in place even after removing lines for this reason.
What other reasons can you think of for putting lines out?