Without labels for your seeds, you’ll likely forget whether you planted forget-me-nots or cilantro. Then, how will you know the best spot to place your seeds when it comes time for transplanting? Come on, you know you’re not going to remember what you planted after the weeks it takes for your seeds to sprout. Label them now (or when you start your seeds) to avoid frustrations later.
Labeling your seeds doesn’t mean you have to go with the usual blah-blah plastic inserts. These five seed label ideas using repurposed materials will add some character to your growing seedlings.
Scour thrift stores, secondhand shops, garage sales and flea markets for cheap forks, knives and spoons to use as labels. Write the type of plant on the handles of your silverware using a permanent marker, and then stick your fork, knife or spoon in the soil next to the corresponding seeds. Or, do it vice versa. Label your seeds on the base of the fork, knife or spoon and then stick the handle in the soil. Once you transplant your seeds to your garden, you can also relocate your mismatched silverware to give your garden an eclectic feel.
Gather up a few good-sized stones from around your yard (or hunt around your neighborhood alleys and parks for some good pickings) to use as seed labels. Rocks with smooth faces make excellent canvases for detailing your seedlings’ names, care instructions and date planted. Simply write the deets on them with a permanent marker and place the stones near your growing seedlings.
Have a stockpile of clothespins? Snag a few to repurpose into labels for your seeds. Use a permanent marker to etch the particulars onto the wood of the clothespins and then stick them in the soil next to their corresponding seedlings. When it comes time to transplant your seeds, also transfer the clothespins. A row of clothespins will add a touch of whimsy to your garden.
While you won’t be able to fit a novel’s worth of information on pencils, you can at least mark a few pencils with the names of your plants. Inscribe your repurposed pencils with the names of your seeds using a permanent marker, or give the wood a rudimentary engraving with a knife. (This method will also work with popsicle sticks.)
Say what? Egg seed labels? Well, sort of. You can start your seeds in empty eggshells and write on the shells to label your seeds. Simply fill some empty eggshells (make sure they’re mostly intact) with organic fertilizer and one seed per shell. Then, use a marker to write the name of the seed you planted directly on the eggshell. When it comes time for transplanting, simply stick your seedling—egg and all—into the ground. The egg will break down and provide additional nutrients for your plants.
Even if you plan to solely use pre-grown transplants for your garden, you can still use these repurposed label ideas (except the egg one) to gussy up your garden.
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