It sure has been cold lately! On my farm, all unnecessary tasks have ground to a halt because of temperatures hovering around 0 degrees F and colder. It’s gotten warmer over the past few days, but of course that brought snow into the equation, and there’s plenty of it on the ground right now.
So to pass the time during this period of winter weather, let’s talk about one of my favorite items to use for all sorts of farming projects: zip ties. These simple strips, typically made of plastic, come in many lengths and feature a special ratcheting design. When you insert the pointed end into a slot at the opposite end, it latches firmly in place and creates a loop that can be tightened (but not loosened) to whatever size you need. You can combine multiple zip ties to create much longer zip ties.
The potential uses for zip ties are almost limitless. Here are a few ways I’ve used them around the farm.
1. Installing Mesh Wire Fencing
When installing mesh wire fencing, it doesn’t get much easier than securing the wire in place with large zip ties. The evenly spaced gaps in the mesh wire ensures that you can slide the ties through wherever necessary, securing them around metal stakes to hold the wire upright. They work equally well for installing deer netting.
2. Guiding Grape Vines
Last year, I worked on reviving some old grape vines by setting up a new wire fence and attaching the vines to the wires with zip ties. Eventually, the vines will curl their tendrils around the wires and be able to support themselves, but in the meantime, the ties effectively hold the vines in place.
Of course, this doesn’t apply only to grape vines—all kinds of vines and delicate plants that need support can be helped with zip ties.
3. Securing Chain Links
Sometimes, when setting up corral panel fencing, I want to ensure that the quick-release chains holding the panels together can’t slip loose. Attaching links of the chains together with zip ties guarantees that the chains can’t inadvertently come undone.
4. Repairing Fruit Tree Branches
Unfortunately, it’s fairly common for fruit trees to overestimate how much fruit their branches can support. Over the years, I’ve seen a fair number of branches crack under the weight of a heavy crop, but as long as the branch isn’t fully broken, it’s possible to support it with a stake and allow the tree to heal the crack. Zip ties are an important part of the process, perfect for holding everything in position.
5. Securing Tarps
Need to tie down a tarp to keep something dry? Loop some zip ties through the rings on the tarp and secure it in place. It doesn’t get easier than that!
How do you like to use zip ties on your farm?