Twine to unwind

Sometimes being a mostly vegetarian comes with extra benefits, such as when it was time this year to help the tomatoes and cucumbers in the garden grow up and climb.

Having been a vegetable parent in the past, I knew they’d do better with a little support and structure. The question was, where to turn for this guidance? The answer? My kitchen cupboard! (And my parents.)

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Cooking twine, waiting to be repurposed

It’s not all the time that I follow recipes when cooking, but at some point a few years ago, I had the thought, I should cook a whole (little, local) chicken in the oven and tie it up with twine like it says in The Joy of Cooking and other recipes. To make that happen though, I needed to get some twine.

So I went to the local Ace Housewares store.

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One of the great things about the Ace is that it’s only about a mile from my place. I also love seeing and periodically using the 20% off coupon they consistently print in the local weekly paper, sometimes double-downed with a $25 Ace gift card I’ll get for redeeming $20 of my credit card cash-back bonus. I’m not a big consumer, or much of one at all really, but I like new things like the next person, and particularly so when they’re food-useful and they involve bonus thrift.

When I got to the store, I saw I had two options for the twine – the little ball and the big spindle.

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Picture taken July 2014, looking just as I had remembered

Now, I was only making one chicken, and my mental math told me the little ball would be plenty, but then there was the unit pricing…can’t ignore that!  200 ft vs. 1,200 ft.  So I could get six times the twine, for only three times the price! Decision made. I walked out of the store feeling good about myself and with 400 yards of twine.

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200 feet…nice try

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1,200 feet, and comes with handy pictures…that’s more like it

I’m not sure how much twine it took to tie up that 3-pound chicken, but I can say that when you only do it once, there’s still a little bit left from the original 1,200 feet when you pick it up for the second time two years later. Which is to say, I still had a fair amount to work with when I brought the twine with me to the garden a month ago to work with the plants.

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The cucumbers, just after stringing, looking ready to climb

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Also involved: a bamboo pole, a plastic stake, a metal stake, and an unfolded  tomato cage. (Thank you Mom for the complementary, non-twine supplies.)

I treated the two rows of tomatoes to a similar setup, combining the twine with a few stakes and cages to web it up right.

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Sauce tomatoes, now happy with the new support

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A view from the other side too; I added more twine later as the plants continued to grow.

Though the cucumbers have now begun to wilt away with the summer, I was able to get a decent crop. I also picked some tomatoes for the first time last week. As for the twine, it’s now back on the shelf, looking the same as before or maybe just a little trimmer. It did after all get a little workout.

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