This year will be my fifth year as an urban food grower. It will also be my fifth attempt to create plant markers that are still legible at the end of a growing season. With 52 varieties of annuals planned in addition to the handful of perennials that live in my garden, knowing who is who can be important. This is particularly true when it comes to saving seed.
In previous years I have tried cheap plastic tags labeled with sharpee, which faded after just a few short months followed by the same plastic tags using pencil after reading the graphite would weather better than ink. They did not fade quite as much or as fast as the sharpee had, but were still hard to read after a few months of sun and rain. Next up was wine corks with sharpee thinking that the porous nature of the corks would absorb the ink better than the hard plastic had but which also faded into illegibility by mid season.
For this year’s garden I was determined to find something more lasting and attractive for my plant markers since the majority of these varieties will be planted year after year. I spent some time researching permanent plant markers and found these copper plate markers that can be inscribed with a pen and a bit of elbow grease.
To inscribe the markers I printed out my varieties list in a nice, easily readable font. I laid the variety name printout over the copper plate and gently traced out the letters. I then removed the printout and used the pen to go over the letters directly on the copper plate until satisfied with the depth and thickness of the letters.
Each year my garden gets better and better #kaizen