Plant markers that last! Finally!

jaliranchr(z5 EC CO)September 23, 2013

Like many of you, I have sought a plant marker that lasts. I've tried everything everyone has suggested over the years. The wind out here on the plains, the hail, and the harsh UV rays of the magnificent sunshine don't like plant markers. I always map my garden just to ensure I have things identified and located correctly.

Then I came across this wonderful idea. It is aluminum tape for heating ducts. Fold it back over the item you use as a post (plastic cutlery in this case) and write backward. These have stood up to everything with my fall garden. I need to find a better post material, but this tape is awesome for a plant marker.

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david52_gw

Ah, but I bet you don't have a 5 yr old daughter who collects such stuff for her doll house. Which is what happened to all the copper tags I put on my fruit trees.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 9:57AM
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digit(ID/WA)

So, this is the stuff with the paper backing that you peel off to expose the sticky side . . ?

I think I've got some of that for the aluminum insulation board in the greenhouse!

Well, I've had the white plastic plant stickers. Some came from Harris Seed. I use either their or Johnny's, uh, marker to mark the markers.

Now, this works okay when they are in flats. As long as I don't catch my shirt sleeve on one and have it spring off to points unknown. Once out in the garden, I'm at a loss as to where to put them. With plants in rows, I'd manage to step on them unless they were close to the plants. So, I put them close but have gone thru an entire season without being able to find them! Frost-killed plants and there are the markers!

Tall stakes would do it - 18" to 24". And yes, attached securely. I don't like plastic in the garden. Aluminum is a common earth mineral. What's plastic?

Steve

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 10:56AM
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david52_gw

Is there anyway to clean off the markings from those thick white ones? Acetone, maybe?

I bought a bunch last year, and now there they are - marked up on one side, then the other, then turn them upside down, then flip again. Now I need to clean them off if I can, to repeat the process.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 2:32PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

I have several different kinds of the white ones, David, from thick and stiff to thin and flexible. If you use a permanent marker, alcohol will clean that off of some things (learned that when I was told to write "this one"--and "NOT this one" on my elbows when I was about to have surgery a few years ago!), but I don't know if the plastic is too porous for it to work with that. I'm pretty sure acetone would dissolve the plastic, but what do you have to lose in trying it on one of them!

I write on the white ones with a soft-lead pencil--graphite doesn't fade in the sun like even the "special" markers do. Then I take the ones that are still usable at the end of the year, wash them off in water, let them dry all the way and take a regular (big) pencil eraser and erase them. If they don't have too much written on them it's not too bad but if there's a lot it's kind of a pain! Sometimes, depending on their condition, I just cross off the one side and use the other side like you do. For things that I grow every year, like sweet basil, I just wash and save them and use them over till they fall apart.

I can't afford the really expensive ones (and I found a place online to get the plastic ones pretty cheap!), and I don't think I'd have the patience to do what you pictured above, Jali! But it does look like a good idea for those with more patience than me! Are you using regular duct tape, or something with a removable backing like Digit is talking about--which I've never heard of!!!??

Skybird

P.S. Now Digit! Plastic is a "common earth substance" too! It's made from petroleum! So, I guess, in about ten million years it'll all compress into a big mass and turn back into oil again! Ya think???????????

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 4:33PM
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jaliranchr(z5 EC CO)

Yes, Steve, this is the flat aluminum tape you use on HVAC ducts, not common duct tape. You find it in the HVAC section at the hardware store. It has a very sticky backing covered with tape on the roll. I can save these after this year, but I want a different kind of post. Skybird, it really didn't take too long and after you've written a few backward, you get quite good at it. hahaha David, I can see a 5 year old finding these irresistible as a full-length mirror in a doll house, unfortunately for you. ;)

Here is a link that might be useful: Where I got the idea

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 12:18AM
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greenbean08_gw(PNW)

I've made some from cutting a soda can & writing on it with a fine ball point pen to indent it. The tricky part is what to attach them to. I made some holders one year from some electric fencing wire with the top end twisted into a curlie-Q, but I'd like to figure out a simpler solution (and I don't know where that spool of wire is...).

The tape is a good idea.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 3:57AM
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popmama Zone 5

Write backward? That's way beyond my scope. But I do like the aluminum tape idea. I see that stuff at yard sales all the time.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 10:13PM
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littlelizzy123

I use the top of a juice concentrate can or canning lid. You can write whatever you want. I solder them onto a thick wire and they stick in the ground.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 11:55AM
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digit(ID/WA)

Solder?

Well littleLizy, you bring up the idea I have had twice on this thread: brazing rods. See, you get your oxy acetylene tanks out there between the tomato plants and . . . . okay, just kidding!

Brazing rods: they come in all thicknesses and either coated or not. Copper isn't the most toxic substance to most garden soil, I suspect. Bronze and I think there's even stainless steel. But anyway, Dad used to use them for all sorts of things and that idea of a "curlie-Q" with stiff wire 'Bean had, brought them to mind first.

Steve

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 11:46AM
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bloomingranny(5b)

Wire coat hangers make excellent stakes for garden markers and they're practically free...

This site shows how to easily shape the coat hanger: http://thegreendivas.com/2013/03/21/garbage-to-garden/

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 10:30PM
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littlelizzy123

Here are a few options I found.

My favorite it the clothespin one. Fast, easy, changeable, and cheap.
http://robj98168.blogspot.com/2011/06/diy-plant-markers.html

For more lasting, permanent structures, I like the popcan markers. However, they look a little time intensive. http://greylustergirl.com/diy-garden-plant-markers/

The juice can lids are cool, but seem a little time and equipment intensive. I would probably solder the lid to the fork if I wanted it to be permanent. These would also work well for tree tags. I'm not sure how they would hold up against rust though. http://pinandpaper.blogspot.com/2010/05/recycled-can-lid-plant-markers.html

For funsies, I like the bead markers. I would probably hang these up on bloomingranny's wire hanger stake, just so they can swing in the breeze and make me smile. http://www.meaningfulmama.com/2013/05/diy-garden-markers.html

PS, I cannot for the life of me figure out how to imbed URLs on this thing. Apologies if it doesn't work. If you can't get to the website, just google "DIY plant markers" and you'll get all sorts of stuff.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 2:43PM
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littlelizzy123

Steve,
I'm not a welder by any means! That makes me giggle just to think about, me with a big welding helmet and gloves on. I'd start the whole block on fire. I only have a flimsy, little, soldering gun because we did a little pipe fixing in our construction zone of a basement! I always wanted to try to weld though...

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 3:41PM
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digit(ID/WA)

Very good Little Lizzy!

Of course, the easiest way to provide a link is just by pasting it in the "Option Link URL" below the Message box. That's only good for 1 link at a time . . .

To imbed links in your text you can use this:

[a href="http://www.google.com";]search[/a]

Replace the brackets with the symbols . It will then look like this:

search

Steve
(GardenWeb uses html markup language :o)

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 4:11PM
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littlelizzy123

To imbed links in your text you can use this:

[a href="http://www.google.com";]search[/a]

Replace the brackets with the symbols . It will then look like this:

search

"What dark magic is this?!" That's cool. You really do learn something new every day!

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 4:31PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

For some reason your "search" isn't clickable, Lizzy. Not sure why--it looks like it should have worked to me! Here's how I do it--see if this makes sense to you!

~ a href= insert URL ~ insert description */a*

Replace the two "~" with and replace the two "*" with
Then where it says "insert URL" paste in whatever URL you want to link to, and where it says "insert description" type in whatever description you want to use.

So, starting with the above code, if I do this:

~a href= http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/rmgard/msg0900324011862.html?14&rnd=Xf8i0 ~ Plant Marker Thread! */a*

and replace the two ~ and the two * it will show up in the post as:

Plant Marker Thread!

I can't remember all that html code stuff so I just keep a copy of what I pasted above (WITH the , which are what makes the computer recognize it as a link) on a Word document and when I want to imbed a link I copy it and replace the URL and the descriptions with whatever I want. That's the brain-dead way to do it for the Intellectually Challenged! But I use copy/paste links all the time since it's quicker! And with the links you did in your post above, if I highlight them, then right click on them, I can click either open or open in a new window without actually copying and pasting them into anything. I don't know for sure if you can do that with all browsers--I use Safari.

The clothespin idea you linked above is kind of cute, but that seems like it would be even more expensive than most of the "real" tags you can buy, and I don't see how you could reuse them since you're "permanently" writing on them--unless you use them for the same thing every year. And, like you already said, the rest look pretty time consuming. The bead one looks like it would be a great project with kids for folks who garden with their kids.

Skybird

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 8:10PM
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