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So, I was thinking this morning (uh-oh, there she goes thinking again!) How does everyone label all their containers? I've seen some pics of containers, neatly labeled.. and it occurred to me that I don't write on mine. The way I keep track of what's what is: I "identify" each container by type of seed sown with different items. For example: This year, my Veronicas are all in plain, unmarked gallon-size milk jugs. The Columbines have yellow caution tape tied around each handle. Daylilies have green gardening twine tied around each handle. Then, in my journal I keep a legend, telling me which one's which. A legend entry might look like this:
"Blue Columbines, 6 - gallon sized milk jugs, yellow caution tape."
That way I don't have to buy anything new (like mini blinds or knives, special pens et al), I just use what I have on hand. Some containers might get a little orange spray-paint (from the upside-down can) dot, some might get a clothes pin snipped to 'em... you get the idea. Each time I start, I decide how many, of what sort of seed, I'll sow, set out the number of containers I'll fill, set out my "markers", THEN write it all down, THEN fill and sow. (so my journal has a minimum of grubby little finger prints in it). =) You can let your imagination run wild with things to 'label' each type of seed sown, from green plant-support tape to kabob skewers. (I've used both of those too!)
So, what do you guys do and what new stuff can I learn today? =)
I use mini blind pieces with a hole punched in the end. I paint numbers on with black acrylic paint. I put the same number with the empty seed pack in a binder. They don't wash off or fade. I have been winter sowing for seven years. I use knitting yarn to tie on the milk jug handles. On two liter bottles I just punch a hole above the opening and tie the number on with a piece of yarn. That is what works for me.
Don, I see "windows" cut into your containers, and I've never seen that done before. Would you mind telling me why you do that, please?
Once upon a time I thought about using mini blinds... then when I looked for the old ones we'd had stored, I realized they'd gotten thrown out and it was "the 11th hour", so I had to devise another plan. < =/
That is the way I learned to cut the jugs seven years ago. Up four inches and cut two windows on the two opposite sides of the handle. After the soil and seeds are added, I put a plastic bag over the whole thing leaving a hole open on the top of the jug. I tried cutting them the "new" way and it is too awkward for me.
Everybody finds their own way that works for them. That's the first time I've seen the way Don does his. He is always very helpful and generous to newbies..I'll never forget my first year. and always willing to share his WS experiences with others. Do you have a thrift store near you or even a K-mart..you can buy a min blind cheap. I bought a brand new still in the original package the first year I wintersowed. It was only like a 30 in. mini-blind and I still have a few of those markers that I made from that one blind. I cut mine 5 in. and kind of make the marker pointed at the end that goes into the potting mix. You need to invest in a paint pen or some people swear by a #2 pencil and say it never wears off. Mark the name of your flower seed on that mini blind marker and put it inside your milk jug or container you are using. Most people write the name of the flower seed also on the outside of the jug. You are the one who has to read it, don't worry about it being neat, you are not graded by any teacher. Some people keep spreadsheets on their computer and instead of writing the name of the seed on the outside of the milk jug or container used, they will write a number on the outside of the jug or container, then it must correspond with the name on the spreadsheet. I don't know how to make a spreadsheet via computer so I make up my own handwritten record of seeds planted, the date I sowed them, and keep tabs of the date I first see germination in each jug..Any other pertinent information that is important to me, I add to the notes on the handwritten record I keep. Some people keep track of where they got their seeds(online co. or trade or what brand of seeds it was. Everybody does it differently but anybody that is on the wintersown forum will be glad to share how they do theirs and sometimes be able to share their spread sheet so you can get an idea. I have seen some people use plastic silverware inside the milk jug or containers with the seed name on it. Make sure it is a permanent maker so it doesn't wash off or fade from the sun. You can buy paint pens at any craft store like Michaels, Joanne's or ACMoore. They cost about $3 or $4.. I prefer the Deco brand but last year Michael's went to selling only the Sharpie brand. I don't care for it that much. Wooden popsickle sticks can be used but they have a tendency to rot I understand.
This is my 3rd. year wintersowing and you can ask anybody how insecure I was the first year. Many people held my hand through the process from afar and I will never forget their kindness. We were all newbies at one time. Good Luck and if there's anything I can do to help you, all you have to do is ask or email me. No question is too stupid, only the one you don't ask!
Do you belong to Dave's garden also? If so, one can keep track of their wintersowing records on the garden diary/blog over at Dave's garden. Dave's Garden is a paid subscription where Garden web is FREE. There are pros and cons of each website. You may find some of the same people on both websites. This year I didn't make up my handwritten WS spreadsheet. I'm keeping it on DG in my garden diary/blog. So far I have only wintersown 16 gal size milk jugs but I would like to sow maybe a few more. Last year I did 83 (1/2 gal. milk jugs)and it was overwhelming trying to plant that many out and I gave away about half of them to the community gardens here where we live.
Haahaahaaa, Pippi you crack me up! At first I was wondering who you were talking to, LOL! I'll be honest though, I'm far too lazy to actually take the time to write down all that info on ALL those markers. Makes me tired to just think about it, HA! Those of you who do that, my hat's off to you folks! :)
Don, that's really cool, I'll have to try that with my next Winter Sown babies.. which, while I've
said I was all done, will be tomorrow. =) But, but, but, I need mooooore!! < =D
OK, so, you fill the jug via the windows, right? And then, are there drainage holes on the bottom too? (I would think so). Then also, how do you remove the seedlings when it's planting time? Thank you in advance, I do love learning new things! =)
Ok Don, I put one more jug out yesterday using your "window" method. I hope I did it right!! I've got a gallon-sized zip-lock bag over the top with a hole cut out to line up with the opening of the jug. Question: How far down is the bag supposed to come? Far enough to completely cover up the 'windows'?
The only difficulty I had was getting my hands in the windows to sow the seeds, but thankfully I have rather small hands, so it wasn't too big of a problem! =)
Okey dokey, that's what mine looks like... except for a slightly smaller window. Not much smaller though. I also decided to try out what someone else said ... somewhere (I don't remember where), and cut slits in the sides of the bottom for drainage, that was MUCH easier than how I was doing it before.
Now, with the windowed jugs, how do we get the babies out when they grow up? =)
Thank you, too, by the way, this was really easy! =)
Most people write on the outside of the milk jug or whatever container you are using with a permanent marker or paint pen and still stick a plant label inside. I went to a thrift store the first year I tried WS and bought a brand new mini blind for $3 still in original wrapper. Cut the strings that hold the slats and the slats will fall out. It makes many good plant markers..Use a paint pen to write name of seed planted in that container. Some people use a #2 pencil on their label and say it doesn't fade..I never had the paint pen(get from craft store for under $4)fade on me. Those mini blinds, you can cut with your scissors or even break with your hands. Collect for next year when you see one.