Garden Lines or Reel and Lines started to become useful in the C18th alongside the growth of gardens and gardening.
As much to do with the allotment as formal planting in the garden, they allowed gardeners to sow seed in straight lines Many plant seeds look familiar when they first come above the soil level. This is because the original seed leaves grow to the shape within the seed pod. It is ater this that the ‘true’ leaves show and plants can be identified. As leaves successfully shoot, if they are sown in a straight line, with a label bearing the name of the plant at the front of each section, then the need to hoe the small weeds away is easier because you can follow the line, removing out of place seeds (weeds!)
It also means that the correct spacing for each plant can be pre measured, ie carrots do not need to be spread as far apart as say savoy cabbages. Also by using a line, veg such as parsnips which take up a lot of room for most of the season, won’t be put next to lettuce which is quick to grow.
Also, by planning ahead the sections can follow a crop roation plan keeping lots of pests and diseases away.
Nige has, as ever taken the example of an early C19th line, and forged some lines with a few improvements for use now. Instead of using jute of a brown hue which may get lost in use, we are putting other colours such as red and turquoise on so that they will be seen whilst being used.
Once the desired length has been reached it should be tightened enough to hold the straight shape and then pushed down firmly.
Lots of elements in the garden can use this device to measure ponds, frames or seating areas, grass or wild flower areas (which only need mowing a couple of times a season) round beds for underplaning large shrubs and trees and hedges; hedges need lots of plants set alternately to produce a full, lush look. They never just grow straight!