Know Your Garden
The seeds are sown—now what exactly did you plant? It’s a problem that plagues gardeners every year. Using repurposed materials such as craft sticks and wine corks, you can solve this dilemma by making custom plant markers that are just as lovely as your garden. The benefits of identifying plants are straightforward enough: you’ll be more likely to avoid weeding the seedlings as they emerge, and you’ll be able to answer those pesky harvest-time questions of “is it a squash...or a pumpkin?”
Here’s a rock you actually won’t want to to dig up from the garden bed! Turn stones into painted markers to set by the crop rows. Choose rocks with a flat, smooth surface and wash them. After they’ve dried, decorate with acrylic paint. Use a clear acrylic coat to help your markers last through summer storms. These painted rocks add a burst of color to the garden long before any blossoms emerge.
This may be the easiest idea in the bunch. These plant markers are made with two things you probably have left over from summer entertaining. Push a wine cork onto a wooden skewer, then use a ballpoint pen or permanent marker to write the plant name on the cork. At the end of the season, they are compostable.
Many styles of garden markers can be made from leftover Popsicle sticks or the jumbo craft sticks designed for children’s projects. Using acrylic paint and permanent marker, try black on white (and vice versa) or paint something that resembles the plant. They needn’t be highly accurate--you’re making a garden marker, not illustrating the Farmer’s Almanac. A few brush strokes that resemble a flower of an appropriate color will do. If you’re intimidated, enlist a child to paint it for you. Children are delightfully unencumbered by the expectation to draw realistically.
Herbs and Succulents
Plant markers are useful for more than just seedlings. I mark my succulents so I don’t forget their lovely names. Identifying your herbs indoors or out makes for easy harvesting when you’re in the middle of preparing a recipe.
You may choose to use the Latin names of plants, though common names are shorter to spell out on plant markers. One type may be best referred to in comic Latin, however. That would be plantus unknownus, for when you just don’t know!