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Propagation: Good Long term labeling

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vnickdd
Orlando, FL
(Zone 9b)

November 16, 2011
2:56 PM

Post #8893202

Hello plant world.

I've been doing a lot of cuttings and growing from seed over the past few years. My labeling system frankly stinks, though. I had been using tape on the pots and a sharpie and now have 1/2 a greenhouse full of mystery pots.

How does everyone else label? Anyone out there have a good labeling system that will last 2-5 years until these guys start flowering, seeding or fruiting so I don't have to keep ending the relabels with question marks or maybe (as in: Date Palm - (maybe))?

Thanks!
Blueberry1264
McMinnville, TN
(Zone 6b)

November 16, 2011
4:02 PM

Post #8893294

I have found that a good quality white stick label written on with a #2 lead pencil or a lead pencil made for labels will out last the sharpie many times over. The ink in the sharpie will fade quickly when exposed to the sun and weather. I quit using the sharpie for labels years ago for this reason. You can also purchase thin metal tags that can be "written" on with a pencil. These are not good for small plants, but for larger ones they work okay. They must be tied onto the plant with a small wire that comes with the tag. Hope this helps.
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

November 16, 2011
6:01 PM

Post #8893399

Paint markers or markers specially sold as garden markers will also work--they won't fade in the sun like sharpies. You can use them on the white plastic plant tags or metal tags or popsicle sticks.
KayJones
Panama City Beach, FL
(Zone 8b)

November 20, 2011
5:13 PM

Post #8899128

Whatever you use, cover the writing with clear nail polish - they last a lot longer. Personally, I use the plastic stick-in labels, using a paint pen or a lead pencil, then cover with clear nail hardener.
vnickdd
Orlando, FL
(Zone 9b)

November 28, 2011
3:48 PM

Post #8909372

Ooh! Good one!

The greenhouse conditions (Florida sun and wet) tend to make even the pencil and paint pens fade on the white plastic labels, but with the varnish, i bet that will last. I'll try the clear varnish next summer.

Thanks!
Zen_Man
Ottawa, KS
(Zone 5b)

November 28, 2011
9:25 PM

Post #8909893

I now use a scheme very similar to the one Blueberry uses. I use white plastic stick labels and write on them with Ebony pencil. Ebony pencils write very dark. Wooden stick labels seem to rot within months in my garden. Last year I had a debacle, using wooden craft sticks (like popsicle sticks) as stick labels. The pencil writing didn't fade, but the soil "ate" the sticks by mid summer.

The plastic stick labels don't rot and they are reusable, because the Ebony pencil writing can be erased. At first I tried using regular pencil erasers, but found that a cleaner like Bon Ami or Bar Keepers Friend removes the pencil writing faster and leaves a slightly ruffed up surface that accepts pencil writing better the next time.

I use and re-use hundreds of labels each year, because a hobby of mine is breeding zinnias, and each of my "breeder" zinnias gets an individual code name that stays with it on a label from seed to seedheads. I keep a notebook with detailed information for each of the codes. This year my codes started with E1, E2, ... up to E91. Last year my codes started with D1 and ended with D124. Next year the breeders will be named F1, F2, F3, ... and so on. The codes are almost a necessity, because I use rather small labels, and I discover a lot of different breeder zinnias that appeal to me. The labels stay with the plants in their starting trays and go with the plants into the garden, and stay with them until I gather seeds from them in the Fall.

ZM

Thumbnail by Zen_Man
Click the image for an enlarged view.

plantsforpeg
Ventress, LA
(Zone 8b)

November 29, 2011
2:30 PM

Post #8910541

Zen, very interesting.
Garden_Sass
Central, TX
(Zone 8b)

December 6, 2011
4:31 AM

Post #8918334

I use the white plastic labels and HB (very soft, dark) leaded pencils for notations. When I'm ready to re-use the label I just rub the writing with a bit a damp potting soil - the pencil lead disappears like magic, no smear marks that erasers leave behind. For gallon pots I write on the pot sides using grease pencils (various colors) purchased from the local craft store (Hobby Lobby for example).

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

December 9, 2011
4:33 PM

Post #8923172

The cheapest labels to use are cut up Mini-Blinds...Any size or shape you wish.
Vertical ones work well also.
Go to your closest HD and ask them for the cut off ends of mini---or vertical blinds...
YES! Pencil writing will never fade!

You can also buy "Commercial Plant Marketer pens" available at
Office Supply stores. These are like Permanent marker pens--BUT---UVA resistant...

Gita

FlaFlower
Miami Dade, FL
(Zone 11)

January 31, 2012
3:05 PM

Post #8989734

For my perm. plants I cut used soda cans into the length of the can into many tags.
I then use an old ballpoint pen that no longer works and push hard into the metal to create an indentation of the name into the metal, I can also use these as hanging tags for my vines on the fence with a zip tie, I just use a hole punch for the end to make the hole, they never fade and I rarely have an issue reading them. Only problem is they can be a bit sharp on the edges, but they never fade, easy to spot and if it's a bit hard to read like the first ones I made using a large nail to scratch the name into them I use a pencil to highlight the name into view.

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

January 31, 2012
5:14 PM

Post #8989935

Florida----

Seems like a lot of extra work...The UVA resistant pens never fade---and cut up Mini-Blinds seem a lot easier.
You can get the cheapest mini-blinds for abut $4-$5 for a whole window. .

Cut therm up as you desire, angle the ends---and you have a marker.

Gita
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

January 31, 2012
10:38 PM

Post #8990297

you can get a mini blind in a thrift shop for a buck or 2 and get enough labels for a season. I like the marking pen idea.

FlaFlower
Miami Dade, FL
(Zone 11)

February 1, 2012
9:44 AM

Post #8990746

I've never come across the marking pen you speak of, the regular sharpies fade the laundry markers fade, anyway while sitting in front of the TV I cut up the cans and haven't lost a tag yet to fading so it works for me and I can put them in the recyling bin if I need to if and when something goes to the compost...

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

February 1, 2012
9:48 AM

Post #8990749

The other option is to use a pencil on the mini-blind markers. It never fades...
CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

February 3, 2012
6:36 AM

Post #8993110

I'm experimenting with a Sharpie industrial permanent pen, supposed to be more resistant to fading, etc. Just got it from Territorial Seed so not sure yet how well it will stand up to fading. Last year all of my white plastic labels with a regular Sharpie faded to nothing and couldn't keep my tomatoes identified. Also have a "grease" pencil to experiment with but won't be good for small printing.

Celene

Celene
Columbus, OH

February 3, 2012
6:48 AM

Post #8993121

I have Sharpie industrial labels that are three years old and have been outside and I can still read them clearly. Pencil washes off for me, but it looks like I might need a softer lead, I'm sure mine was a #2.

I use mini blinds for the actual label. Since I have cats, I frequently need to replace mini blinds. lol

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

February 3, 2012
9:20 AM

Post #8993259

I have also found that, if you use a regular Sharpie on your tags--put a strip of CLEAR scotch tape over the
writing and it will keep the writing from fading.

just thought of this--I wonder if you painter clear nail polish over the writing--it might also work.
Depends how many markers you make. This could become too labor-intensive.

Just have to get resourceful here...Gita
KayJones
Panama City Beach, FL
(Zone 8b)

February 3, 2012
9:34 AM

Post #8993272

Dip them in varnish!
CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

February 3, 2012
2:42 PM

Post #8993603

I did read just recently that a paint pen with solvent-based paint is supposed to hold up well. Problem might be how fine a tip is available for writing on the tags/markers.
Thanks Celene for the encouraging comment on the Sharpie industrial. There may be hope that I can read the tags by August.
KayJones
Panama City Beach, FL
(Zone 8b)

February 3, 2012
3:55 PM

Post #8993738

Cindy, I use a paint pen - no problems so far.
Texasgal77
Baytown, TX
(Zone 9a)

February 3, 2012
4:15 PM

Post #8993764

Thanks for all of the great ideas. I too have a lot of mystery plants!

I still have some old mini blinds and some plastic markers that the sharpie faded off of...will try with the paint markers or pencil and polish or varnish!

Jeanne
CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

February 4, 2012
7:15 AM

Post #8994323

Kay - thanks for your input. Good to know for future reference if the Sharpie fades on me. I don't normally leave markers in the garden (they always get "lost" in the fall leaves) but it was frustrating trying to tell the tomatoes apart this past season.
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

February 4, 2012
9:21 AM

Post #8994410

I agree. I had the same problem with tomatoes last year. I bought some of the last ones from a grower and I know they were mislabeled. But, never did know which were which. So, don't know which ones I would like to get a repeat of. I like to try some new tomatoes each year.
Zen_Man
Ottawa, KS
(Zone 5b)

February 4, 2012
9:51 AM

Post #8994429

Jnette,

"I like to try some new tomatoes each year."

I don't know if they would be to your liking, but my favorite tomato is Burpee's Seedless.

http://www.burpee.com/vegetables/tomatoes/slicer/tomato-sweet-seedless-hybrid-prod001016.html?catId=cat90054&trail=

I have been growing them since they were first introduced a few years ago. The seeds are expensive, and obviously you can't save seeds from them. Incidentally, you can grow tomatoes from cuttings rather easily. And some people graft fancy tomato varieties on specially powerful rootstock tomato varieties, that are bred especially for that use.

http://www.johnnyseeds.com/c-711-rootstock.aspx

That is sort of like rose growers and many fruit tree growers do. I haven't tried it myself, because all of my tomatoes seem to develop awesome root systems in my sandy loam. Last year my Burpee's Seedless tomatoes grew much taller than the "normal" amount, and grew out the top of my 5-foot tomato cages. Of course, I had started them indoors under fluorescent lights, so they got a good long growing season here in Kansas. And they are indeterminate, which I guess means they could keep growing indefinitely.

ZM
(not associated with any product or vendor mentioned or linked)
CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

February 4, 2012
1:27 PM

Post #8994634

Zen - very interesting about growing tomatoes from cuttings. I wonder if one could use the suckers that are removed (sometimes).

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

February 4, 2012
3:03 PM

Post #8994736

Jeanette-----

You want heirloom tomatoes--and you never told me that...I have 3 kinds. Bah--Humbug!!!
Could have put in some seed in the package i sent you.

Cindy----

You know how tomatoes grow 'suckers" between their stems and leaves--in the axils? The ones we are always told to pinch out?

Welll--Pinch away--and then root them. They are not, exactly cuttings, but they do all root.
Sort of, like, accomplishing two good things at the same time...
Besides--this way, you will get a later crop of Tomatoes...

Gita
CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

February 4, 2012
3:48 PM

Post #8994799

In retrospect, sorry to have caused a tangent in a totally unrelated thread. Yeah, I figured it would have to be the suckers but later isn't always better here. If I had a longer growing season, it would certainly be fun to play with rooting tomatoes.
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

February 4, 2012
5:38 PM

Post #8994897

You know guys, that was exactly what I was thinking. What Cindy M (Just noticed both of you named Cindy) LOL, said about the short season. By the time I get the suckers we are well into our season.

Can't remember where it was, maybe Burpee's website some time ago, they were selling a lot of grafted tomatoes. I'm sure they were directing their sale to the folks in Texas and the rest of the Southern states. But really thought that interesting.

I just looked at the site with the seedless tomato Zen. They really look good. I bet it was where I saw the grafted plants. Have you ever gotten any plants from them? Are they good ones, and packaged good? Their growing time is about 2 weeks more than I normally shoot for to get a good crop. Might try the plants. Wonder what the s&h is? Probably expensive.

Will have to look into it when we get closer to planting time.

That is ok Cindy., It sounds like you sent me more than enough.

Jeanette



Zen_Man
Ottawa, KS
(Zone 5b)

February 4, 2012
8:33 PM

Post #8995056

Jeanette,

I have never ordered plants from Burpee -- just seeds. Burpee says they do a good job of shipping plants, but of course they would say that.

http://www.burpee.com/gardening/content/service/shipping-live-plants/liveplants.html

I sow my tomato seeds a few weeks earlier than they recommend, and they are usually in bloom and with small tomatoes on them when I set them out in the garden. The same with peppers and eggplants.

ZM

This message was edited Feb 4, 2012 10:41 PM
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

February 5, 2012
11:12 AM

Post #8995586

I would do that too if I had room for them. My kitchen is not that big. I can just barely do 8 or maybe 12 trays of 3 inch pots. But you see, I not only do tomatoes, all of the annuals for my containers on 2 decks have to be in that space too.

Gallon pots of tomatoes just don't cut it. Even tho I only do about 10 or 12 tomato plants. They would not get enough light and end up being very leggy.
Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

February 18, 2012
9:43 PM

Post #9011663

Where do you buy paint pens? Staples only carries silver and gold. Do they come in black?

Thanks,

Pam
Jnette
Northeast, WA
(Zone 5a)

February 18, 2012
10:43 PM

Post #9011681

Also Zen, my sister has a greenhouse and she always has small tomatoes on hers when she plants them out the end of May. Those ghs do make a difference.
CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

February 19, 2012
7:32 AM

Post #9011920

Pam - my local craft store (Hobby Lobby) carries paint pens (even different colors and tip thicknesses). If you have a large craft store in your area, I'd try there. I didn't have much luck at our local office supply stores.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

February 22, 2012
3:08 PM

Post #9016228

I agree with Gitagal:

>> cut up Mini-Blinds
>> Pencil writing will never fade!

The only paint pens I've tried all had tips that were too wide, and were expensive.
But then, wooden pencils always seem too blunt to me, a few letters afetr sharpening.

I bought a 0.7 mm mechanical pencil, and a 0.9 mm mechanical pencil, to go along with the 0.5s I already had. and was delighted.

They're always sharp, even if you break the lead.
I use the 0.9 for bold letters, and if I want "fine print" I use 0.7 or 0.5

I can cut a mini-blind into 2-3 slices the thin way, and STILL get two lines of print if I want (e.g. for labelling rows in a propagation tray.

I've tried some extra-soft lead (BB), and it MIGHT be a little darker than HB.
But maybe it smears a LITTLE easier if I rub on it hard with my thumb.

Both kinds of lead look exactly the smae after being outside in the "sun" for two years. Of course, we have so much cloudy weather and we're so far north that our "sun" may be like your "shade".

I just bought some COLORED 0.7 mm mechanical pencil lead, but that seems like gilding the lily, and I expect they WILL fade in the sun.

At the peak of my enthusiasm, I tried throwing a free cheap mechanical pencil and some cut-up mini-blinds into seed trades, but it turns out that most people already have their own favorite method of labelling.

If I push enough short, narrow mini-blind labels into a prop tray or tray of 6-packs, they serve as tent-poles for supporting an 18" Saran Wrap humidity tent as if designed for the purpose.

Rhapsody616
Long Beach, CA

March 25, 2012
7:36 PM

Post #9056957

I use a pen called the garden marker. It works great. Also a china pencil works well. I picked it up at Lowes!
Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

March 26, 2012
3:21 PM

Post #9058087

Cindy thanks! I'm in NYC for the winter and it had never occurred to me to try an art supply store. Your suggestion nudged me in the right direction and thanks to you and Sam Flax I now have a good supply. I like pencil too, but it doesn't work on the smooth plastic labels that come free or bundled with some orders. Sharpies vanish by midsummer, so my plans to compare similar cultivars during the season have been somewhat thwarted.

Happy planting!

Pam

CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

March 26, 2012
3:39 PM

Post #9058096

Pam - hope you're enjoying NYC. Is that an annual thing/winter home? Lived there briefly many years ago - lower West Village.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

March 26, 2012
5:28 PM

Post #9058264

>> I like pencil too, but it doesn't work on the smooth plastic labels that come free or bundled with some orders.

Consider cleaning glossy plastic (hard) with Comet cleanser. Rub it in with something solid, like another label, not a soft sponge or nylon scrubber.

If you scratch up the surface, pencil "takes" a little better.

KayJones
Panama City Beach, FL
(Zone 8b)

March 26, 2012
6:18 PM

Post #9058348

Rick, a Magic Eraser is excellent to rough up a mini blind label. I use these for nearly everything, and when written in pencil, then covered with clear nail polish, they last a couple of years for me.
Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

March 27, 2012
11:48 AM

Post #9059264

I'm midtown east. We're here for the winter- very old house, leaky insulation means it's
$$$ to heat. But I've been very busy already, 3 shelves up with lights in the kitchen window, all full. Next week 1 flat of various colors and heights snaps go to the country where it stays cooler, especially when we're not there during the week.

Pam
CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

March 27, 2012
2:27 PM

Post #9059496

Pam - Sounds like you're having a green spring with your seed-starting. I missed green in NYC. Not enough green for me in the city, even Chicago. Chicago in March is the pits.
Texasgal77
Baytown, TX
(Zone 9a)

March 29, 2012
6:18 PM

Post #9062488

I need to get some seeds started! Brought some shelves home from Mom's old house so have plenty of space. It's just getting it done.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

March 29, 2012
8:07 PM

Post #9062661

KayJones,

>> Magic Eraser is excellent to rough up a mini blind label.

Thank you! I never heard of that but will try it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melamine_foam

Someone told me that I could REMOVE pencil marks by just scrubbing vigourously with "green scrubbing pads", but for me that only lightened the pencil marks, I still had to use a pink rubber eraser to get the last off.

maybe "Mr. Clean" Magic Eraser will reomve all the old marks, and abrade it well for next year's marks!

>> when written in pencil, then covered with clear nail polish, they last a couple of years for me.

Cool! I had heard about spraying with a clear varnish, but never bought any. Nail polish sounds less messy!

I don;t think I've had any fade toi illegibility on me, and some have been outside for at least two years. if UV is a factir, we don;t have strong sun! I'm almost at the Canadian border, fairly far North.
Dean_W
Central Texas, TX
(Zone 8b)

April 30, 2012
5:31 PM

Post #9104581

[quote="Blueberry1264"]I have found that a good quality white stick label written on with a #2 lead pencil or a lead pencil made for labels will out last the sharpie many times over. The ink in the sharpie will fade quickly when exposed to the sun and weather. I quit using the sharpie for labels years ago for this reason. You can also purchase thin metal tags that can be "written" on with a pencil. These are not good for small plants, but for larger ones they work okay. They must be tied onto the plant with a small wire that comes with the tag. Hope this helps.[/quote]

True, a pencil works best. Sharpies just fade away then you forget what it was. I used to buy vinyl mini blinds for cheap and cut them up to make tags. Then I splurged and bought some white plastic markers from a greenhouse store. They've lasted me a long time now. I've reused the old ones by scratching names out and using the reverse side.
CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

May 1, 2012
8:28 AM

Post #9105445

Dean - I do splurge on the white labels as well. Don't have miniblinds so that's not a source for me and I have to constantly edit all the stuff I collect for propagating in the name of recycling. As long as I can reuse the white labels, I hold on to them. Still experimenting with the Sharpie industrial strength pen but it's only been a month or two so no conclusions to be drawn yet.

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

May 1, 2012
8:47 AM

Post #9105482

Cindy--

You can buy a whole mini-blind for under $5. Cut away!

That would be many year's supply of labels.

Gita
Dean_W
Central Texas, TX
(Zone 8b)

May 1, 2012
8:51 AM

Post #9105493

Good luck Cindy. Thanks Citigal!
Zen_Man
Ottawa, KS
(Zone 5b)

May 1, 2012
11:19 AM

Post #9105728

I re-use the commercial white plastic labels by erasing the pencil, either with a pencil eraser or with fine sandpaper. I have many labels that have been refurbished and reused for as long as 7 years now. The sandpaper erasing technique has the added benefit of making the white plastic have more "tooth" to accept pencil marks better.

Eleven

Eleven
Royal Oak, MI
(Zone 6a)

May 1, 2012
11:37 AM

Post #9105750

Zen, that's a great idea on the sandpaper. I think I'll try that whenever I trade plants. I certainly have a bucket full of white tags from buying new plants! For my own hostas, I'm going to have a go at painting river rocks with their names. That way, I can find them in the spring before they emerge =) Plastic and even wire labels don't work in my garden due to a horde of pernicious squirrels.
CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

May 1, 2012
12:05 PM

Post #9105805

I used to label everything with those fancy zinc/wire labels but would curse myself every fall/spring when cleaning up leaves. Many have ended up in a compost pile. Now I only label when seed-starting or keeping tomatoes correctly id'd in the summer. Wonder if a Mr. Clean sponge would work as well as sandpaper.
Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

May 1, 2012
12:17 PM

Post #9105823

I'm slowly switching to the plastic labels that are easily written on with pencil. Last fall i put dozens around after moving and dividing at least that many plants.
This spring they were all still perfectly legible -luckily, since some beauties have not yet condescended to show themselves, and could have been damaged without the trusty marker to protect their location. I also found a few from over a year ago, also still clear. To re-use, I erase them and rinse the dirt off.

This year I also bought paint pens, which I've been using on some I bought by mistake that are too smooth for pencil. I'm not sure yet how that will work out.

Pam
CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

May 1, 2012
12:30 PM

Post #9105839

Pam - did the paint pens have a fine enough tip for writing on small labels? I hadn't purchased any yet and was curious.

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

May 1, 2012
2:03 PM

Post #9105998

Since I work at a HD---the Blinds Dept. saves me a lot of the ends they cut off
when trimming the blinds.
This is especially good when they trim off about 18" from the length of a vertical blind.
SOOO many pieces! A nice, mundane chore cutting these up as I watch TV.

Mini blinds are already the perfect width. Just cut and shape and you are done.

Gita
Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

May 1, 2012
9:40 PM

Post #9106603

They come in different point sizes. I got the fine one, and it seems just like a regular sharpie. I haven't had any trouble writing clearly, but it's definitely thicker than a ball-point pen.
CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

May 2, 2012
6:23 AM

Post #9106901

Thanks, Pam. Good to know. I did try a grease pencil of sorts, recommended by a gardening mail order company but the point is too broad to write legibly on small labels.
Rhapsody616
Long Beach, CA

May 6, 2012
11:33 AM

Post #9112718

A china pencil and a grease pencil are the same thing. They work great and they are inexpensive. I also use T labels. Any other plastic labels it brittle too fast and creak.

Thumbnail by Rhapsody616
Click the image for an enlarged view.

CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

May 7, 2012
10:16 AM

Post #9114052

Rhapsody - do you "sharpen" the point of the grease pencil?
Rhapsody616
Long Beach, CA

May 7, 2012
10:33 AM

Post #9114072

CindyMzone5-
No. The grease pencils I use have a fairly fine tip!

Thumbnail by Rhapsody616
Click the image for an enlarged view.

CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

May 7, 2012
10:35 AM

Post #9114078

Ohhhh. The one I have is "mechanical". Maybe I can rub it to a point before using it. Or look for one next time I go to the hobby store.
Rhapsody616
Long Beach, CA

May 7, 2012
10:52 AM

Post #9114094

YES! The hobby store, a home improvement store, a office supple store. They all should have it! Comes in lots of colors... I buy black, white, green and red pencils!
CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

May 8, 2012
7:21 AM

Post #9115443

Heading over to the store some time this week so will have to check out the pencils.
lilypad22
(tish) near Atlanta, GA
(Zone 7b)

May 8, 2012
8:30 PM

Post #9116618

Someone told me awhile back, that they write on a label with a permanent marker and push the marker down under the soil line and it will not fade...don't know if this works or not but I will be trying it the year. I've been using the mini blinds for labels for a couple years now...I like how I can make they as long or short as I want. I will be making them longer, writing on both ends of the label and half will be under the soil line...see if this works. tish
Rhapsody616
Long Beach, CA

May 8, 2012
9:14 PM

Post #9116654

It fades... not as fast but it fades..!! I hase so many plants in my yard that I have no idea what they are!!
KayJones
Panama City Beach, FL
(Zone 8b)

May 9, 2012
4:11 AM

Post #9116773

The magic marker DOES fade - they last about 6 months.
Rhapsody616
Long Beach, CA

May 10, 2012
12:10 AM

Post #9118068

KayJones... what you said!
CindyMzone5
Hobart, IN

May 10, 2012
7:19 AM

Post #9118390

Checked out the china pencils yesterday but decided that the tip is a little too blunt for my writing. But will keep on checking around.
KayJones
Panama City Beach, FL
(Zone 8b)

May 10, 2012
8:34 AM

Post #9118476

Write your labels with a paint pen, available wherever craft supplies are sold, and paint over the writing with clear acrylic - done and done. It won't fade for a long, long time, if ever.
Pfg
(Pam) Warren, CT
(Zone 5b)

May 10, 2012
10:17 AM

Post #9118594

I finally started using paint pens this spring- good tip about the acrylic. Thanks!

Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

May 10, 2012
3:09 PM

Post #9118918

Did we all forget????

Pencil writing NEVER fades. Pencils are dirt-cheap!
Zen_Man
Ottawa, KS
(Zone 5b)

May 10, 2012
7:31 PM

Post #9119273

I use pencils for that reason. Ebony is my favorite brand, because they write extra dark.

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

May 11, 2012
11:50 AM

Post #9119968

Yup, I bought a dozen cheapo mechanical pencils from Wal-Mart with 0.7 mm or 0.9 mm lead (so I could lose several but always have plenty around).

The 0.7mm lead is so fine I can cut mini-blinds in half lengthwise, or even thirds, and still read my handwriting. I use very thin markers in 72-cell or 128-cell prop trays.

Then I "splurged" on two $6 STAEDTLER drafting pencils from JetPens.

http://www.jetpens.com/Staedtler-925-65-Drafting-Pencils/ct/1181
http://www.jetpens.com/Pentel-Sharp-Drafting-Pencils/ct/1437 (cheaper)

Pencil never fades.

Mechanical pencils are always sharp.


Gitagal

Gitagal
Baltimore, MD
(Zone 7a)

May 11, 2012
1:42 PM

Post #9120067

Haaa...Haaa...Rick----

Mechanical pencils also always break the lead with any pressure.
I only use them for Crossword puzzles...

The good old wood-pencils, that you sharpen, are the best--and the cheapest.

Gita

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

May 11, 2012
1:55 PM

Post #9120081

>> Mechanical pencils also always break the lead with any pressure.

I agree, for the colored leads that are 0.7 mm ...
or the 0.3 mm graphite, even "super-polymer graphite" ...
and with my clumsiness, some 0.5 mm graphite leads ...

but the 0.9 mm leads are strong, and the 0.7 mm fairly strong.

I haven't used wooden pencils since grade school, when I used to grind and grind whenever I sharpened one - they didn't last long for me.

I always assumed that a tube of replacement leads was cheaper than a similar number of wooden pencils, but it must depend on whether you snap the leads often, or sharpen like a mad-man.
Rhapsody616
Long Beach, CA

May 13, 2012
5:34 PM

Post #9122496

I harvest at night. I can not read pencil in the dark! The letters are not thick enough to see... even with my glasses. Paint pens harden quickly.

Rhapsody
happy_macomb
Chevy Chase, MD
(Zone 7a)

May 26, 2012
10:44 AM

Post #9139386

You have inspired me with many questions.

I have definitely had pencil writing fade; maybe I'm not using the right pencils.

Is this the "Ebony"? http://www.amazon.com/Prismacolor-Premier-Graphite-Sketching-Pencil/dp/B00006RVSK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1338053708&sr=8-1

Doesn't it get costly to use clear nail polish on every label? Is varnish the same thing? Acrylic?

Rick, with a mechanical pencil can you choose the softness of the lead? Which do you select? How are the STAEDTLER drafting pencils from JetPens different?

Is this the garden marker some of you have referred to? http://www.gardeners.com/Permanent-Paint-Marker/37-559,default,pd.html?SC=XNET8033&utm_campaign=cse&mr:trackingCode=39484790-0479-E111-929E-0019B9C2BEFD&mr:referralID=NA Or http://www.burpee.com/Seed-starting/accessories/marking-pen-prod001224.html?CAWELAID=931583667? There seem to be lots of brands. Maybe they are just paint markers.

Final comment: I love using the miniblinds. There is something about the stiffness and slight curvature that I prefer to the purchased labels.



darius

darius
So.App.Mtns.
United States
(Zone 5b)

May 26, 2012
11:18 AM

Post #9139410

I recently attended an apple grafting class, and one of the instructors had fashioned tags made from vinyl siding, with a hole punched for a wire. He used a soft graphite pencil to mark the varieties. They look good and he says they last several years, so I bought a pack of soft graphite pencils that also included a few 2B graphite pencils.

It just so happens I have a single hole lever punch, and a piece of vinyl siding that was left under the porch when a previous homeowner sided the house. It cuts just fine with tin snips. I just made a few tags for some elderberry cuttings I started this spring (and hope to sell).
Zen_Man
Ottawa, KS
(Zone 5b)

May 26, 2012
8:38 PM

Post #9139996

Hi Happy_Macomb,

"Is this the "Ebony"?"

Yes, that is it. They are also usually available in local arts and crafts stores. They are wooden pencils, so you have to sharpen them "the old fashioned way". I have never had Ebony fade on commercial plastic labels. If the plastic labels seem too smooth to take pencil well, I lightly sandpaper the label with a fine grit sandpaper. That, combined with bearing down hard, produces very dense, dark marks.
happy_macomb
Chevy Chase, MD
(Zone 7a)

May 26, 2012
9:10 PM

Post #9140015

Perfect -- thanks -- though I'm not looking forward to sharpening "the old fashioned way..."

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

May 29, 2012
3:05 PM

Post #9143769

My major reason to like mechanical pencils is "they're always sharp". And you can get them sharper and finer than I ever want: 0.9 mm is good for a bold mark, and 0.7 mm is plenty fine for me. But you can buy 0.5 mm or even 0.3 mm if you have a light touch and a magnifying glass!

>> Rick, with a mechanical pencil can you choose the softness of the lead? Which do you select? How are the STAEDTLER drafting pencils from JetPens different?

I'ved tried HB and B (B is softer). The difference is slight and may even be imaginary! But I imagine that the B is very slightly darker, but also very slightly more willing to smudge if I rub my thumb on the wsiritng, hard. So now I don't care. (I never tried 2B).

I happen to buy a brnad that cliams it has "Super-Polymer lead". Who knows, maybe it does break less pften!

Here's another subtle or imaginary difference: I started with very old, rather dirty and greasy mini-blinds. I tried washing them with Comet cleanser, which is slightly abrasive.. I IMAGINE that makes the surface slightly rougher and slightly better for taking a dark pencil mark. Or you can scrub them with a green nylon scrubber, which by the way takes some of the pencil mark off, if you re-use the blinds. VERY slightly abrasive, maybe.

Or you can put them through the dishwasher ... but don't use the heated-dry feature! Even very hot water may encourage them to get twisty. I made the mistake of winding some through the "pins" in the dishwasher rack, then washing. They may have had a few m inujtes of heated drying as well. The bends became permanent.

I also finally found a source of COLORED leads for mechanical pencils (0.7 m m, not 0.9 mm). They break much too easily for my clumsy fingers, and the colored mark is faint. So I don't use those.

Staedtler (or any classy mechanical pencil) has metal parts and is just better made than the dozen-for-a-few-bucks plastic cheapy pencils from Wal-Mart. One batch I bought was so cheap that not all of them held the lead firmly ... when you write, the lead is pushed back into the tip, so you have to keep twisting it out every few words. So I threw half of those away.

happy_macomb
Chevy Chase, MD
(Zone 7a)

May 29, 2012
3:11 PM

Post #9143783

Thanks, Rick. I wonder where I went wrong -- the pencil I used way-back-when definitely didn't last, so of course that makes me nervous to try again -- but it would be so much easier to use pencil! Maybe I'll do a controlled experiment and report back in a few years (don't hold your breath!).

RickCorey_WA

RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA
(Zone 8a)

May 29, 2012
3:23 PM

Post #9143804

My theory is: "Gardening = experimenting". Invariably, what works for one person doesn't for someone else.

Maybe try pencil on one side of a mini-blind, and something else on the other side?

I've also found it handy (when I took the time) to make a "map" of the bed. Of course, then I have to avoid losiing the map!
happy_macomb
Chevy Chase, MD
(Zone 7a)

May 29, 2012
3:54 PM

Post #9143838

Oh I've tried that -- I lose the map; I move the plants on the bed and don't record the changes; the plants on the bed seem to move themselves; I can't read the map; plants die; I plant more plants; plants reseed. Etc.

A guy helps me with outdoors stuff -- he's been painting our house, and mows, work like that. And he doesn't charge much, and he works hard. But he HATES the plant labels I labor over. I don't think he tries to up-end them, but every day a few more escape their rightful place. Sometimes he just sticks them in a nearby pot -- I don't think he realizes that I will know a hosta is not an astible, etc.
Azalea
Jonesboro, GA
(Zone 7b)

May 31, 2012
7:39 PM

Post #9147026

This may have been covered, but I find the mini blinds are easy to cut on a paper cutter.
happy_macomb
Chevy Chase, MD
(Zone 7a)

May 31, 2012
8:38 PM

Post #9147089

That's a great idea! I wish I had one! But scissors work quite easily.

Also mini-blinds often can be found on freecycle.

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