Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Miniblinds Garden Markers

We've learned this gardening year a new trick:  mini-blinds make great garden markers.  I know, who would have thought, right?!  Well, it wasn't me who thought of it, that's for sure.  We picked up the trick from one of our fellow gardeners at the community garden.   We picked up a related tip from another gardener that is so simple I can't believe someone actually had to tell me.  Use pencil when writing on your garden markers.  Not a Sharpie.  Not a pen.  A pencil.  It doesn't run or fade during the course of the season.  Genius. 
Soon after acquiring this knowledge we spotted a couple sets of mini-blinds sticking up out of our neighbors garbage can and took them home with us (under cover of darkness because we don't really desire to build a relationship as the neighborhood dumpster divers...even if we in fact are).  They are also pretty regularly for sale at Goodwill I've noticed if you prefer that to dumpster diving.

The thing is that one set of blinds makes just loads of markers.  I doubt you need more than one blind unless you have a garden of epic size and variety. All you have to do is take a pair of scissors (or better yet a rotary cutter like used in sewing) and cut them up into the desired height for plant markers.  We used the strings that raise the slat as a guideline when cutting.  See the caption on the photo below for more detail on how we cut our blinds.
I borrowed this photo from the wikipedia commons.  So, there are two strings that draw up the slats.  They are visible on either side of the plants.  We cut to the outside of these cords resulting in plant markers about six inches tall.  We then cut on the inside of the cords to liberate the center section which we then cut in half resulting in markers about 10 inches tall.
Then the only step left is to nip one end of each marker into a point so that they are nice and easy to insert into the earth.  Tada! 



I think we are set on plant makers for years now!  But we also plan on sharing the bounty of them with a few gardening friends.  I thought I was on to something with re-purposing margarine tubs for plant markers, but this is so much better.    They are taller, more stable, more uniform, and easier to write on and insert into the ground.  These were also free.  Thank heavens for gardeners with more experience than me!  They are a wealth of useful knowledge.  That alone would be reason enough to take part in the community garden (and then there is the free corn and herbs, the sense of community, and the fresh goodness donated to the poor).

11 comments:

  1. Pencil? Aaah. What a wonderful idea. I have tried Sharpies, but they faded completely before the end of the season.

    And I like the idea of the blinds too. But the pencil idea is simply brilliant. And a lot cheaper than those specially made markers that are "Guaranteed Not to Fade".

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    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one who'd never thought of this before! It makes great sense once you do though, doesn't it?!

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  2. Thanks for sharing this great idea. I've previously used wooden 'lolly' sticks (stirrers) but they are too small and easily get lost in the garden beds.

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    1. It was one of those things where I learned it and thought "I have to tell everyone!"

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  3. I would have to rip it up each time I wanted to see what was planted because I would not be able to see pencil markings! I could do that..lol. However, the is a brillliant reuse.

    Where on earth did you find Little Black Sambo, and why do you have Shawshank Redemption marked as a children's book?

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    1. I think garden markers are large enough you could write large and dark and be able to see it. As you can see we certainly had room to write larger. But maybe you're blinder than I give you credit for! : )

      The * indicates an audiobook, which in some cases might be a children/young adult book, but not always. That is the reason Shawshank is starred. I listened to it on my mp3 player. (I think I've mentioned that our public library has this incredible program for free audiobooks.)

      As it happens, our library owns Little Black Sambo.

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  4. hi
    what a great idea!!!! thanks for sharing.
    blessings regina

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  5. I use paint markers - they don't fade one little bit and come in all kinds of colors, but I just use black

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Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and ideas. I value the advice and friendship that you share with me!