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Plant markers - for Sylvia or anyone who is interested

6 years ago

These are the markers I am making now.

I made the stake part from old fence slats - just ripped them on the table saw so they are about an inch square and cut the points with the miter saw to make it easier to get them into the ground. The sign part is from 1/4 inch x 3 inch poplar or pine from HD. I primed and painted with white exterior house paint, and then wrote on it with a toothpick dipped in black house paint. I screwed the signs to the stake with the smallest screws I could find, not sure what they are now. I've had them for two years and other than the wood cupping a bit, they still look pretty good.

I bought some pvc pipe caps from HD also. I can't remember if they are 3/4" or 1". I sprayed them with primer and then sprayed them either red, yellow, or green. I think the paint was Rustoleum.

I attached the sign part about an inch below the top of the stake so the pvc caps can fit on the part over the sign. The caps are to let me know how often the plant needs to be watered. Red is every day - for new plants or bog plants (although I try not to plant bog plants anywhere but the bog). Yellow is every other day or 3 times a week. Actually, I found that my memory is so bad, I have to do it Monday-Wednesday-Friday. Green is once a week, and no cap at all is never or when the plant shows signs of stress.

I didn't want to put the color on there permanently so I could change the caps as the needs of the plant changed.

Red when it was first planted.

No cap after a year.

I tried a lot of other marker ideas before doing this. I bought some aluminum markers where writing on them left a permanent imprint on the metal. That worked, but was really hard to read and the markers bent easily.

I used white aluminum mini blind slats. I wrote on them with a hard ballpoint pen but it didn't leave as deep an imprint as the aluminum markers I bought. I wrote on them with permanent marker and it faded. I wrote on them with house paint, and it flaked off.

I used white vinyl mini blind slats and I also cut up plastic tubs and lids from yogurt etc and had the same results as with the aluminum ones. I use these in my pond, stuck down in the pots and they work fine. It's the sun that fades the permanent marker. So if you want to stick the writing part into the ground, it will mark the plant, but you'll have to pull it out to read it.

In my veggie garden, I use pvc pipe to mark each row. I think it's 1/2". Then I used another piece of pipe that will fit over it, with a cap, to mark what is planted there. I sprayed the larger cap part with primer and wrote on it with an artist's pencil. I'm not sure what it's made of, it's wider and softer than a regular graphite pencil, and writing on it will last about a year. I did this so I can see what I planted the year before and not plant the same thing there again. Rotating the caps is easier than pulling up the pipe.

That will also work with flowers, but I like the signs better if there is much writing on it.

Before I decided to paint the signs, I just wrote on the wood with a hard ballpoint pen to make a deep imprint, and then went over it again with the artist's pencil. That worked all one summer, but the next spring was illegible.

I also used some metal garage sign posts and that didn't work long term either.

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