DIY Garden Markers (plus a roundup of other ideas)

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap  —  February 9, 2012 — 12 Comments

After I was finished planting two different varieties of tomato in my new veggie garden, I realized they looked a lot more alike in the ground than I had realized. Maybe I’ll still remember which is which come April or May, or maybe not. I’d rather not be stalking the wrong plant for signs of that first tomato though, so I figured some sort of identification system was in order. And of course I wanted it to be cute. I turned to my two internet BFF’s, google and pinterest, for ideas and inspiration. Here’s what I found.


Martha Stewart

Clothespin + bamboo skewers. I actually have some bamboo skewers lying around so this one appealed to me.

Glue and Glitter

While we’re on the topic of supplies I’ve got lying around, add half a quart of chalkboard paint to the list (leftover from this project). It would be so easy to slap some on those free paint stirrers you can pick up at any hardware store. A china marker/grease pen would stand up to rain better than chalk.


And check out these rocks. Totes adorbs. Except I am not nearly so artistically gifted as this person clearly is, so maybe I could use some of that chalkboard paint. Or a sharpie.

Flickr user Reebert

And OMG, even after selling several hundred wine corks in my Etsy shop I still have plentyl eft in my stash. Corks, skewer sticks, and a sharpie. All necessary components for this project. All items I already have. Can’t beat that.

My Chic Life

So many inexpensive and adorable solutions to my little horticultural conundrum. I didn’t feel like gathering rocks, though, and I wasn’t sure where to hunt down a grease pen, and I knew there was an abundance of wayward sticks hanging out in my front yard. So Martha’s twigs won my favor.

I grabbed a stick from beneath my oak tree and brushed off the excess dirt in my kitchen sink.

Then used a pair of garden snips to break it into four pieces.

It was really easy to scrape some of the bark off of each with a vegetable peeler.

I had a fine point sharpie, but I think it ran out of ink. So I used an especially inky pen instead to write the name of each variety on the little sliver of exposed wood.

I kind of struggled a bit with writing it nicely. Penmanship has never been my strong suit and bare wood isn’t exactly a forgiving medium. They do their job in the garden, though!

They bring me an obscene amount of joy.

So for those of you who are still weeks or months (or years, if you are just not at a “gardening” place in your life) away from having any need for garden markers, put this in your pocket for that warm spring day when your soil has thawed and the sun is shining and you want to add a bit of cute functionality to your horticultural adventures. They’re 100% free, given you’ve got sticks lying around, and easy to whip up in 15 minutes or less. Can’t beat that with a stick (ha!).

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap


12 responses to DIY Garden Markers (plus a roundup of other ideas)

  1. You would be pleased to know that the shared space at my new condo includes two square-foot gardens! Although they looked pretty full and I don’t think I’ll make it in this year. Maybe next year! Or maybe I’ll steal my neighbors’ fresh veggies :)

    • Charlotte | livingwellonthecheap February 9, 2012 at 5:51 pm

      That’s awesome! Maybe if you befriend some of your new neighbors you’ll end up getting fresh veggies without the work. I know I had more tomatoes than I could eat last year, even with only a few plants.

      • One nice thing about greens is that they can be harvested at any stage, and the less mature, the better! Did you plant any chard? That seems to be a lot more tolerant of the heat but doesn’t mind the cool temps either.

  2. Great ideas! Thanks! We’re a ways off from planting but cool weather crops can go in a few weeks from now.

    • Charlotte | livingwellonthecheap February 9, 2012 at 5:53 pm

      Very exciting! I think I may have actually missed the boat on cool weather crops this year. I put in some spinach and lettuce the other day but I don’t know of they’ll make it to maturity before it gets too warm.

  3. I will indeed put this idea in my pocket for later. If spring ever comes to Illinois, I hope I will get a chance to use it.

    • Charlotte | livingwellonthecheap February 9, 2012 at 7:15 pm

      Yay! I’m sure spring will make its way to you eventually. In I guess about 5 more weeks according to Punxsutawney Phil.

  4. Oh I like this. I’ve just used popsicle sticks in the past, but this looks like an even cheaper (free) solution. I won’t be able to plant anything up here until Mayish. It frosts so late up here sometimes!

    • Charlotte | livingwellonthecheap February 10, 2012 at 4:13 pm

      May! That’s when I harvested my tomatoes last year! Then by June or so it’s too hot down here to grow much of anything, unless you want to be out watering it twice a day.

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