When gardening one can never have enough plant tags!
You lose some, give some away, the weather has a go at vanquishing a few. All kinds of ways your plant tag reserves can easily shrink. Yet, if you’re like me and you grow all kinds of plants all over the place you need heaps throughout the growing season. Nowadays more sustainable options are becoming available, like wooden or recycled plastic plant tags. But they usually come with a price tag, and still need to be produced somewhere using some kind of raw materials…
Plenty of reasons to make your own free plant tags*! And that’s exactly what I want to share in this quick and easy guide: how to make your own plant tags for next to no money and very little effort. Part of the series on how to start a permaculture garden in New Zealand.
*Please note that a small investment might be necessary to purchase (Venetian) blinds if you can’t find them for free.
How to make your own free plant tags
In it’s most basic form all you need is some sort of Venetian blinds and something to cut them to pieces with. In this example I used wooden blinds and a drop-saw. However, the blinds can be any material you want them to be. One thing to look out for though, is whether you can write on them with pen, marker or pencil. Also check how easily this comes off.
Secondly, you need to be able to cut them with whatever you have available. I was lucky enough to be able to borrow a drop-saw from someone. If not, the wooden blinds would not have been a good choice. Scissors will work for most of the metal blinds (in my experience). Pruners or loppers can work. Anything sharp enough to cut the blinds into pieces should work.
Obtaining the blinds
This is where your creativity is the limit of what and where you can get the raw materials needed for this project. Once you open your eyes to the blinds, they seem to be everywhere (although mostly still in use)! Check your local op-shops first. They’ll often have some lying around. If not, ask if they receive them regularly.
Maybe talk to a local contractor or someone else who works in construction to see if anyone is getting rid of them. Look online to see if people are offering them for free to pickup, or selling them for a small price. Ask around. Neighbours, family, friends, you never know who might have a set of blinds lying around in the attic or somewhere!
Once you’ve found some, it should be rather straightforward to get the individual blinds separated from each other. Cut the ropes, pull em out. Maybe have a look at what materials you can reuse or save for a later project?
Making the plant tags
This part is pretty straightforward. The nice thing is, an individual blind is long enough to cut out multiple smaller plant tags. You can decide to make different sizes (and even shapes?) to suit your needs. Longer tags for in the garden, smaller tags for your seedlings. You can even punch a hole in some to attach them to a tree for permanent markings in your landscape.
Store them in a nice waterproof, sturdy container (which I still need to get, as you can see they are now still in a shoebox). This way they should last you ages. Depending on what materials the blinds are and how you write on them, you should even be able to reuse them multiple times! That’s it. Easy as, no more than an hour or two of work for an endless supply of free plant tags.
Disclaimer: I’m not the genius who thought of this concept for plant tags. I first found this idea here.