Cheap DIY Plant Tags

I don’t usually bother with plant tags. I hate plastic in the garden, so the tags that come with plants are not an option for me. Besides, I keep those in a binder so I can occasionally flip through them and mourn the vast number of plants I’ve managed to kill.

As for the metal ones, I always, always manage to trip over them, mangle them, occasionally slice open a leg on them. And given that the Fraudulent Farmstead is not a botanic garden, mostly I just don’t bother.

But I do like to label the plants in the front garden. Those vegetables often look a lot alike when they first start coming up.

So I decided to create cheap, DIY plant tags whose names would not be likely to run, bleed, or completely wear off by the end of the season.

Garage sale silverware + paint pen = cheap plant tags
Garage sale silverware + paint pen = cheap plant tags

I bought a bunch of silverware at a garage sale. It was rusty and pitted, and $5 for about 5 pounds of knives and fork. SCORE.

(Silverware in the kitchen garden. Revel in the synchronicity.)

I used a spongy sanding thing to scrub the rust and any shellac/varnish off the knives. I’m sure the spongy sanding thing has a name, but I bought it about seven years ago to clean gunk off my pruner blades, and I’ve slept since then.

I wanted to use a grease pencil, but I couldn’t get one at either of the two craft stores I tried. So I settled for a paint pen. Not a Sharpie, because that ink fades like crazy.

So I wrote the plant names on the handles of the knives, then stabbed them into the ground.

Plant tag reminding me where the beets are.
Plant tag reminding me where the beets are.

Total time invested: 15 minutes.

Total cost: $5 for knives, about $3 for paint pen. (I did eventually find a china marker, so if the paint pen wears off, I’ll try the china marker next time.)

Fraudulent Farmgirl
I teach garden and homesteading skills—the stuff your great-grandmother knew how to do. But if there's a faster, cheaper, or easier way to do it, I'll find it!By day, I design earth-friendly gardens for Spotts Garden Service. By night, I don my Wellies to become the Fraudulent Farmgirl. On my small urban homestead, I've ripped out the front lawn to plant vegetables and fruit trees, turned the garage into a chicken coop and grown enough strawberries to feed half the neighborhood.

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