Sunday, March 28, 2010

Make It! March : DIY Garden Markers

Today, our baby nephew was dedicated at church. (Yes, he was the cutest, thanks for noticing! He took off one of his shoes, and then chewed on it like a champ.) The pastor talked about planting seeds - which is perfect, because our dining room table has turned into a nursery. The table gets better light than the rest of the apartment, so that's where we set up our three flats of seeds: four kinds of tomatoes, three kinds of basil, four kinds of peppers, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, thyme, chives, parsley, cilantro....

I had hoped to have rows and rows of tiny plants to show you. But the hard truth is that without a professional photographer (cough -Ben- cough) or a camera with a microscope to work visual magic, a seed doesn't do anything to brag about in just three days. I admit that I ran out of time/became too lazy after planting all those peppers to change my craft at the last minute. So this week, we have pictures only thanks to my parents, who let me dig random holes in their yard with very little notice.

Let me introduce the final craft of the National Month for them, just in time for your own spring seedlings:*
5 ways to make your own garden markers

1. Pottery shards are perfect to label your herbs and veggies. (If you don't have any broken pots, I recommend Goodwill, or our cats would be happy to come over to break some for you.)

2. Find some children to collect flat rocks for you. Wash them thoroughly, and then use paint or markers to decorate them and mark them with veggie names. Use a couple coats of polyurethane or clear spray paint to seal.

3. For artsy garden markers, raid your local thrift shop for old silverware. Find some with cool, mismatched handles, and write your labels with a sharpie on the metal. In scientific testing I performed, permanent marker holds up to water but not hard scrubbing, so you should be able to reuse your cutlery again and again. (Good. I don't know how to grow mulch.)
This at least is truth in advertising.
If you prefer something simpler, use white plastic cutlery. It looks neat, photographs much better, and stands out in a garden.
4. Use scissors to cut the top and bottom off of an aluminum soda or beer can. Cut the can into strips. You can either cut these into regular-shaped garden markers (rounded on one side, pointy on the other), or you can create whatever shape you want, hole punch it, and hang it with wire.
Chances are, this sign is too illegible to mislead you.

You can try to "engrave" your plant names on to the aluminum, but I had limited patience/success with that, because even using a nail, the words didn't show up very well. But permanent marker looked fine.
5. Oh, your cats also chewed and destroyed your blinds? Before you throw them away, salvage what you can! Scissors and a permanent marker will make these into perfect plant markers.

*Did I intend to photograph all of them? I did, until I remembered that my blog photographer returned to Haiti and anyway, haven't your imaginations been dormant all winter? And gotten flabby?


  1. This is SUCH a great idea. We have tons of pot shards from the pots that broke in the earthquake and can never manage to keep track of what we've planted where.

  2. Oh good, you can tell Blog Photographer Ben that's his next assignment. Tell him to do a poor job, so that my pictures don't look too bad in comparison.

  3. I love the idea of silverware from the thrift store. Looks so classy. I think I'll have to try that for my first garden ever this year.

  4. Thanks for the idea,lots of old cat torn blinds.