• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Cheap or no cost plant markers?  RSS feed

 
Leela Olson
Posts: 17
Location: Deering, NH
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Beginner farmer with WAY TOO MANY seedlings and not enough plant markers. I would like to use a sustainable marker that will hold up to the elements and not fade quickly. I need these mostly for my propagation seedlings, but some plants for sale as well. I would also like to mark the plants in my garden, but thinking I would like to use the tin type markers that are more permanent.

Any ideas are appreciated!

Leela
Kindred Hill Farm
NH
 
Rory Rivers
Posts: 14
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Just a thought: Any kind writing on wood will fade, but what if you etched it in by burning it? I used to write words into wood with a magnifying glass. That would probably be too slow though.
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
88
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I use mini Venetian blinds.
I can pick them up for free, or nearly.
One blind makes loads of markers; each slat can be cut to whatever lengths you like.
I use a soft pencil, which seems to survive the weather best. As a bonus, I can rub it off!
They're not pretty, but they work.
Outside slats have holes for tree-tag attachment...
 
Patrick Mann
Posts: 307
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I did the woodburning thing (using pieces of cedar shingle). It looks great, but the charred bits weathered away after a year, and it became very hard to read.
Now I cut up plastic milk jugs into strips and mark with waterproof sharpie for my transplants. I write on scrap pieces of wood for my bigger beds.
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
For your own nursery stock, learn your plants. Learn them so well that you don't need tags. Learning visually as well as with information you need like the Latin name. It helps to think of them as friends.

For selling now you need less tags. From there go the cheapest route that does the job where you are. We use the blinds cut up often they work well.
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5911
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
365
bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Leila Rich wrote:I use mini Venetian blinds.
I can pick them up for free, or nearly.
One blind makes loads of markers; each slat can be cut to whatever lengths you like.
I use a soft pencil, which seems to survive the weather best. As a bonus, I can rub it off!
They're not pretty, but they work.
Outside slats have holes for tree-tag attachment...


I use these too! I figure I am only a brief diversion on their way to the trash compactor though...there is a bit of useful cord in the works too. But I never considered pencil...I just tried it and it worked great... I have loads of pencils...great discovery, Leila! I have tried everything else from crayons to india ink and a brush and nothing weathers well.
I only label my plants in pots for sale and trade and give away and a few new ones tucked in the gardens here and there so they don't accidently get weeded or stepped on...I know everything out there but not everyone else does.
 
Patrick Mann
Posts: 307
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jordan Lowery wrote:For your own nursery stock, learn your plants. Learn them so well that you don't need tags.

Mostly agree, but that breaks down when you plant multiple varieties of the same plant. I have many varieties of tomatoes, multiple types of onions, etc.
There are some other tricky ones. Lovage and parsley are very similar as starts.
 
Leela Olson
Posts: 17
Location: Deering, NH
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you for the tips everyone! I put out the call to friends for free blinds!
I do have multiple varieties of many types of herbs, flowers, veggies...which are very hard to ID when young.
In terms of perennials etc, of course my intention is to know them like friends...but that will take me the rest of my life. In the meantime, I will be labeling the majority of things on my farm since I in part for educational purposes. An herb garden for visitors and workshop attendees would be near to impossible to navigate for a new gardener.

Thanks again!
 
Chris Kott
Posts: 823
Location: Toronto, Ontario
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I use popsicle sticks now, but I will be on the lookout for venetian blinds. Has it not occurred to anyone to use grease pencil? The only way the writing will be rendered illegible is if you handle it, and I'm sure that a little rubbing alcohol would take it right off for reuse.

-CK
 
Leela Olson
Posts: 17
Location: Deering, NH
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Chris Kott wrote:I use popsicle sticks now, but I will be on the lookout for venetian blinds. Has it not occurred to anyone to use grease pencil? The only way the writing will be rendered illegible is if you handle it, and I'm sure that a little rubbing alcohol would take it right off for reuse.

-CK


I was using some craft sticks cut in half (like tongue depressors, just smaller) I noticed they grew some fuzzy mold very quickly in the prop chambers. I'd love something I can re-use, so the blinds are a great idea!

Leela
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5911
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
365
bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here, anyway, the mini blinds are hard to find...I use the regular ones and cut a bit more...it's easy with scissors.
Chris, I have tried a grease pencil but it didn't hold up for me much better than crayon. I guess it all depends if the label is outdoors or not.
 
Chris Kott
Posts: 823
Location: Toronto, Ontario
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Has anyone tried laying a piece of clear tape down overtop of ink or pencil?

-CK
 
S Carreg
Posts: 260
Location: De Cymru (West Wales, UK)
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I cut up plastic milk bottles and use indelible marker, seems to work well. The other thing for really permanent ones which works GREAT is old foil disposable baking trays (if you don't use them you can scour other peoples' recycling, or freecycle, or ask restaurants). Cut them into strips, wrap them around small strips of wood, and then use a blunt pencil or similar (chopstick maybe?) to 'write' on them (pressing the metal) - have a few tags like this on trees from years ago.
 
Cris Bessette
gardener
Posts: 816
Location: North Georgia / Appalachian mountains , Zone 7A
37
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Rory Rivers wrote:Just a thought: Any kind writing on wood will fade, but what if you etched it in by burning it? I used to write words into wood with a magnifying glass. That would probably be too slow though.


lol I thought I was the only one that did that.
 
Paul Cereghino
gardener
Posts: 856
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
S Carreg wrote: The other thing for really permanent ones which works GREAT is old foil disposable baking trays (if you don't use them you can scour other peoples' recycling, or freecycle, or ask restaurants). Cut them into strips, wrap them around small strips of wood, and then use a blunt pencil or similar (chopstick maybe?) to 'write' on them (pressing the metal) - have a few tags like this on trees from years ago.


Just a ball point pen works well for this. Also cut up pop cans.
 
Ken Peavey
steward
Posts: 2524
Location: FL
89
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've used mini blinds as well. Put em on the chop saw, cut 75 all at once. I can get 300-400 from a unit. I buy a new unit to replace an old dusty one in a window in the house. The plants don't mind the dust. A Sharpie does the job of marking. The ink will fade in a few weeks, but by then it has already served its purpose for the plant and is ready for the next use. If it has not faded, I turn it over, then upside down, giving me 4 different labellings. If I cant write on them any more, I toss em in a cup, use them when I start the same plants again.

Pencil will work on these blinds. Wet your finger, give it a rub, the old pencil is erased. My eyesight lately calls for the sharpie and BIG letters.

In the greenhouse, I used to put one of these mini blind markers in the front pot in a group on a tray. When people buy plants, they take the one with the marker. This left me with no idea what type of tomato is growing on that tray. I tell ya, they clean me right out - a couple dozen plants, there go all my markers! The solution was to mark each pot. I use disposable 16 and 20 oz plastic cups because the price is right and I can reuse them several times. A Sharpie does a fine job of marking on the cups.

Perhaps the cups would be useful to you. Use it once, give it a rinse, save on dishes. Cut it up for markers.


 
Johan Thorbecke
Posts: 40
Location: The Netherlands
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Those white plastic disposable knifes work perfect for me.
 
Kelly Smith
Posts: 715
Location: In a rain shadow - Fremont County, Southern CO
17
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
we use regular (horizontal) window blinds.
they can be cut to any length, and sometimes we cut them lengthwise also.

here is a picture of what im referring to:


 
Kitty Leith
Posts: 143
Location: Oakland, CA
11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
here's an idea ...don't have land so can't try this, but...
how about stakes with canvas flag/ties on them? mark on the canvas w/ pencil - maybe a carpenter's pencil would be easier to read.

both bio-degradable but should get you through a growing season fine. seems less labor intensive too.
 
Chris Kott
Posts: 823
Location: Toronto, Ontario
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Suki, I think one of the underlying ideas behind some of the suggestions is that the markers be reusable. I think that if you're going to take the time to construct markers, they should be reusable over many seasons. I don't like plastic because it breaks down into tiny pieces in the sun, and can enter the food you're trying to grow.

On an individual level, I like just learning what plants look like and using my memory and some companion planting-based patterning to lay out and remember where things are placed. Where you're dealing with perennials, this becomes easier over time. But when you're constantly introducing beginners/unskilled labour, without labels, their help is rarely more than you teaching and them destroying things.

I think education is the answer. The more you learn, the easier it is to learn more (it's dumbed-down, but that's a basic explanation of how brain plasticity is thought to work). Like muscles, and plants, for that matter, the more you use and feed your faculties, the more they grow.

On the beginner scale, it should not be too hard, even with dozens of interplanted species, to distinguish between them, especially if you fill all the vertical space within the planting space by combining taller plants, vining plants, mid-level/low plants, groundcover, and tubers. One can also go to hierloom varieties of seed to find tasty and visually different (usually in colour, with some veggies in shape and size, too, and wide varieties of taste) plants that you can use to find your food plants among other greens, as well as for visual appeal.

-CK
 
Kitty Leith
Posts: 143
Location: Oakland, CA
11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I totally agree with you about learning your horticulture, etc. But like a lot of people said previously, it's difficult to identify a lot of the related annuals when you're a beginner.

But I also can see that a lot of these re-usable tags wouldn't really, not really, be re-used; (that variety which didn't take, the one you didn't really like, the ones you sold to people who just threw the marker in the trash etc., etc.) which is why I thought a one-season bio-degradable option would be more green.
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5911
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
365
bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Suki and Chris...I avoid plastic ordinarily but I need labels for the plants that I sell, trade and give away and it is a pretty large variety of plants....I can't expect my customers to remember plant name and genus and species until they get home. I guess I consider the plastic blinds trash to begin with (I dont use them for my windows) and I am just a diversion on the way to the landfill from the thrift store. I don't think they are in the soil long enough to break down much but see some irony here because I am usually on the other side of this debate. BUT, our own plants are totally unlabeled...sometimes a stake or a plle of rocks...sometimes I use a temperary marker until something gets big enough to see well. We know our plants very well...it is when we have others here helping that unlabeled can be a problem
I need hundreds of labels for market plants sometimes and would love to find a cost effective and green way to do that...I have tried different ideas and the good ones would double the cost of the plant. Reuse isn't an issue for me...I need something that will write on easily (I am so happy to find that pencil works on this plastic).
 
allen lumley
pollinator
Posts: 4154
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
58
books fungi hugelkultur solar wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
One more vote for the, mini blinds, As a veteran, I volunteered for years to replace the old tatter'd flags on veterans graves, after respectfully retiring the Flag
I was left with a lot of the little sticks that fit in the Grave Marker/Flag Holders, for years I used them, as row markers now its a ix of those sticks and pieces of
mini blind, though I was never smart enough to cut them at an angle.

For the Craft, and its Future ! be safe, keep warm ! PYRO Logical Big AL ! - As always questions/comments are solicited and are Welcome ! A. L.
 
Jen Shrock
pollinator
Posts: 363
Location: NW Pennsylvania Zone 5B bordering on Zone 6
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I use mini Venetian blinds too. I put a small strip of the duct (the kind that seals heating ducts) on the end and then use an embossing tool to "write" the name of the plant on it. So far so good. I don't have to worry about them fading. The labels from last year look the same as when I made them.
 
                    
Posts: 238
Location: AR ~ozark mountain range~zone7a
9
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I take a roll of orange surveyor's tape with me when I'm in the field marking various plants for seed. Many plants will not look the same by the time all the other plants have also matured, if you don't mark the location, the ones you want, I would never be able to find the seed heads upon maturity, except for luck & some experience. I think I will use the venetian blinds in the future, as these will mark the location quite clearly, and can be seen in the jungle. The markers become invaluable for seeking the blooms of some orchids that literally only have one leaf, the leaf disappears~~~then the subtle bloom arises quite some time later. I think if you mark the location of certain plants in the woods or jungle, be responsible enough to remove all traces of plastics once your done with your task.

james beam
 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
289
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If you just need to mark smaller plants in pots (say for resale), you can get either pop-sickle sticks (Hobby/Craft store), or tongue depressors (medical suppliers) relatively cheaply.

Indelible marker, or a wood burning kit, & use it for winter entertainment...make 'em by the dozens.

 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
paint pen will last longer than permanent marker
 
Dave Miller
pollinator
Posts: 416
Location: Zone 8b: SW Washington
15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I too have settled on cut-up aluminum mini blinds written with pencil. I have some that are 3 years old and have not faded a bit. I get my miniblinds from craigslist, usually for free (ugly/beat up) or very cheap. The only way I can get the pencil off is with a good pencil eraser.
 
Hang a left on main. Then read this tiny ad:
Permaculture Playing Cards
https://permies.com/wiki/57503/digital-market/digital-market/Permaculture-Playing-Cards
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!