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jtjmartin October 21, 2018 01:01 PM

Reuse garden twine / clips or spread disease?
Hey all:

I know I'm hopelessly cheap! :shock:

Can I reuse garden twine and plant clips and NOT spread disease? Can I bleach them?
Do those of you with greenhouses reuse equipment or just cut and trash the lines and clips?

Someone want to tell me I'm penny-wise and dollar-foolish?


seasyde October 21, 2018 02:54 PM

No harm reusing what you can. That just leaves more cash for seeds....

I am lucky that I don't have much disease pressure here. Still, no point in taking chances so I scrub the clips using an old toothbrush in a pan of warm water & dish soap. First rinse with clean water, then a second rinse of water with a little bleach added. I set them out on a towel to dry thoroughly before putting them back in the bag.

I don't reuse the twine. Years ago we got a huge roll for $10 and we are still working our way through that. Anyway, this particular twine wouldn't make it through a second season. A higher quality twine might be a different story.

ContainerTed October 21, 2018 03:43 PM

I use bailing twine. Each year, I go to the local Co-op and retrieve the twine they get on bundles of straw bales. It is usually about a 1/4" diameter. The neat part about this is that it is free for picking it up a couple times a week. It is also plastic. I take it home of put it into a large galvanized wash tub with slightly soapy water into which I've added a good amount of bleach. Then it is rinsed and dried. You may have seen some of it in my pictures as mostly it is colored orange.

Now, for the best part. Using the thicker 1/4" stuff lets you do something many would not think about. You can tie a knot in it and then grab about half of the fibers and unravel it to make a piece twice as long. This makes tying up vines easier to make the knots we need and it also spread out the fibers to better support the vine without cramping the growth or injuring the stems.

I also keep a fresh roll of baling twine made from whatever they make the non-plastic stuff out of. 5000 feet of it was pretty cheap at the Co-op. I do not reuse any twines in my garden. I look for bargains at the local flea markets for all kinds of twine, and help the folks at the Co-op. Anything organic must be new - first use only.

clkeiper October 21, 2018 03:45 PM

If you aren't battling diseases in your garden I wouldn't fret over reusing things but I will tell you clips break rather easily the second year after being out in the sun for the previous Summer. To me they aren't worth keeping.

kurt October 21, 2018 08:53 PM

If you had a issue with a anomily,all fibers will carry over that crud,thru seasons.nuke all pots,all wood stakes,velcro, pots ,those grow bags,anything organic will harbor the year before ,unless you go below minus the freeze zone.

AlittleSalt October 21, 2018 10:55 PM

Jeff, I have RKN and FW3 in our old garden. When I stopped using that garden, I burned the stakes, labels, support strings, etc. I didn't want to take a chance of spreading the diseases.

I'm right there with you on saving money. Shovels, hand tools, and other gardening things can be disinfected with a strong solution of bleach water and cleaning. You can use a 5 gallon bucket with half a gallon of bleach to 4 gallons of water, and not much will survive that.

mcsee October 22, 2018 03:11 AM


Originally Posted by clkeiper (Post 717640)
If you aren't battling diseases in your garden I wouldn't fret over reusing things but I will tell you clips break rather easily the second year after being out in the sun for the previous Summer. To me they aren't worth keeping.

I agree, if you can get away disease free, then use them, just bleach them and you should be fine. I'd probably use a thicker twine the second year so your clips get a better hold.

b54red October 22, 2018 07:19 AM

Seems like a lot of time and work for so little savings. I buy the clips in bulk and use them over 4 or 5 years. The last time I got some 4 years ago they cost me less than 2 cents apiece. If you have friends that use the clips you can share the cost of buying them in bulk and divvy them up. I cannot reuse them anyway since a few months in our intense summer sun cause them to weaken too much. I tried reusing them one year and it was a disaster as so many of them broke causing loaded plants to fall and some were ruined right as they were starting to produce ripe fruits.

As to the twine a 9000 ft bale of square bale twine costs around fifteen dollars and lasts years even with me planting between 60 and 100 plus tomatoes each year.

I am certainly no spendthrift and save a lot of money by reusing my cypress mulch for years until it totally breaks down. I do spray it with a 10% bleach spray and that helps with disease prevention. The use of the mulch gives me the biggest savings through cutting my expensive city water bill.


jtjmartin October 22, 2018 03:31 PM

Thanks all. I'll wind new string on my tomahooks this winter, and use new clips. I did buy both in bulk - but childhood habits are hard to break! (I might still wind the old baling string up and use it for tying up newspapers etc.

All the clips I used this years were used last year - probably only 5 or so broke on 40 plants - none caused damage.


Nematode October 22, 2018 08:50 PM

Frugal old farmer died.
Family was cleaning out the house and found a box in the attic labeled "String too short to save".
Relative of yours?

jtjmartin October 22, 2018 08:52 PM

Huh. We all wondered what Uncle Ed! Oh, he was the spendthrift of the family.:twisted:

PhilaGardener October 23, 2018 07:01 AM

You mean the box behind the huge ball of tinfoil?:twisted:

Worth1 October 23, 2018 07:10 AM


Originally Posted by Nematode (Post 717762)
Frugal old farmer died.
Family was cleaning out the house and found a box in the attic labeled "String too short to save".
Relative of yours?

Some idiot at work I hope he is gone put labels on security wire going everywhere in a huge building.
Over 100 of them.
The labels read no label.
This is true I saw it myself.
Took forever to trace out.
Back to twine.
Have a nice day.


imp October 23, 2018 10:34 AM

I've re-sed twine, but usually not in the garden; for other smaller things, like tying up newspapers to recycle or to tie on xmas ornaments or to decorate a wreath ( rustic twine that is brown touched up with gold or silver paints can be pretty against a green wreath).

brownrexx October 23, 2018 12:34 PM

I do not disinfect anything. My tomato cages sit outside during our long, cold PA winters. Can't you people in the warmer climates utilize the freezer for things?

I put my dry beans in the freezer to kill any potential bean weevil eggs and I also use the freezer to kill wax moth eggs on beekeeping equipment. I leave them in the freezer for 4 days.

I use paracord to support my pepper plants and I just coiled it up yesterday. This is the second year I have used it. I don't have any pepper diseases that I know of but this thread has made me decide to put the cord into a zip loc bag and toss it into the freezer for a week or so.

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