This is a photo of my plant markers for my herb garden. I made them when I was doing pottery and they are mounted on a galvanized heavy wire. These ones are more than 5 years old and have stayed outside in the winters for that time as well. I did have the bottom of one marker rust and break, but now it is just a shorter marker.
I also made some for my tomato plants so I know the different varieties.
Always put your eggs in one basket.........why would you carry two?
in my gardens I have found that paint pens seem to last longer and are more easily read than the pencils, etc..but i'd love to find some that write in a more fine point, most of the ones I've used have quite a wide point on them..
I find the zinc markers do last quite a while, the venitian blinds didn't last so long, the plastic cut up containers last a little longer, ever try painting on rocks or secitons of slate?
I also like tin labels but they might possibly be a little sharp edged and could cut you if they get knocked down and lost among the garden plants
Bloom where you are planted.
If you have a wood burning kit, get a box of Dr's tongue depressors (about $6-8 per hundred). Nice project for when you're snowed in, or internet is down for the evening.
Another way (even cheaper) is to cut up your used soda/beer cans. Fold them over, and seal sharp edges. That old ballpoint pen that no longer writes is perfect for "engraving" plant names onto them. The ones with metal (not plastic) refills are best.
paul wheaton wrote:As for a page or more: I've had success with getting some plastic buckets for free (with lids) and putting stuff inside the buckets. A sort of log. I would prefer being able to keep a page in view, so if you stop by, you can look at the message without having to fish it out of the bucket. But that solution seems to elude me so far.
Going all the way back to Paul's 2009 original post, well, I grew up in gold mining country in Alaska. The era of "staking your claim" was recently ended when I was a kid, but there were 100 years of staked gold claims all over the territory. A properly staked gold claim has blazed edges, marked corner posts, and documentation affixed to one corner post about the person making the claim. The traditional solution to keeping that documentation legible and "out of the weather" was to put the paper records in a screw-top jar, like a baby food jar or an Avoset (olde-tyme liquid non-dairy creamer) jar. Then bailing wire the jar to the post. I think if you used a wide-mouthed quart canning jar, you could get most of a page of larger print quite easily legible through the glass of the jar. Or scale up and put your whole manifesto on a paper wrapped around the inside of a gallon pickle jar?
The best way I have found to keep track of a plant collection is through assigning an accession number to everything you plant. This how botanical gardens keep track of extensive living collections. That way, all you need on the actual plant is the accession number; your software holds all the other data regarding that plant, and as has been pointed out can be looked at from a smartphone or tablet in the field. BG-BASE software, developed by Kew Gardens in the UK, is the international standard, but most any spreadsheet-type program can be adapted for the types of information you might want.
As to the tags, there are many small hand-held embossing tools that use rolls of stainless steel tape. These last for many years.
I use canning jar lids written/engraved into with a ball point pen and then also sharpie over that for legibility from a distance. The lids are just steel inside, so won't last forever, but are plated on one side and coated with an acid-proof plastic or enamel on the other. A nail is used to punch a hole for wire.
Obviously, what was written above about embossed stainless steel is the way to go if its very serious, but this works for me to know what variety of garlic I planted where the next summer.
I tried old venetian blinds and sharpie it does not work! Old plastic packaging is even worse and fades in a matter of weeks.
Double is better the map or simply write diary style.
I like the woodburning idea, however a lot of work if you want to include the latin name.