Plant Markers or Tags

Nothing is worse that looking at a plant in your garden and saying “What is that?”.

Next worse thing is to plant thinking that you’ll know what that plant is next year.

I’ve taken to labeling all of the plants in my gardens so that I always know what they are. This also benefits visitors in that they can easily see what the plants are, and they don’t have to ask me! It also helps me when my memory slips a little. I know, I’m giving away my age.

There are a lot of things that can be used for plant markers. One that I use frequently when I’m sowing seeds in six-packs is cut up plastic containers. The big tubs for margarine are ideal. Just get a large pair of scissors and cut the bottom off and then cut it up into sticks one to two inches wide. Write on them with a permanent marker and you’ll know what’s in those six packs when the begin to sprout … or don’t begin to sprout.

They work OK in the garden too, although they are certainly not the most attractive markers you could make. Look around your house, there are no doubt a lot of things you can use for plant markers. One very elaborate item I read about was old spoons. This person actually said to use “antique spoons”. I’d think they would be a bit pricey, but certainly you can find “old” spoons at a flea market or tag sale. Their method was to hammer the spoon out flat and then use steel punches to spell out the name. The punches are available, but again, to assemble an entire alphabet is going to run up the bill. Of course technically they will last forever. I like the free, or next to free, things around the house to use.

I’ve used paint sticks, you know, those paddles they give you when you buy paint. They work great although outdoors they tend to weather fairly quick. Wedges used by carpenters to level cabinetry and fill in spaces in doorways and windows work well too. They also will weather.

I saw someone using clothes pins. They wrote right on the wood handle of the clothes pin and then pinned the tag to a stick or rod pushed into the ground. I read of another who printed the name out from their computer and then taped it onto the clothes pin with clear tape. That is a nice idea although it won’t weather well either.

A new idea came to me this past year and the timing could of of been better. Use old venetian style blinds as plant markers! I was painting the house and replacing the blinds we had. I had a mix of both aluminum and plastic. They both work perfectly. Simply cut the strings and remove. Then you can cut the slats down to whatever size you need. Cut them long enough to go all the way into the pot you will use it on, and then long enough to stick up far enough to be seen, and to hold the name you will write on it. I cut most of mine in half making them about the right size to use. These are great in the garden too. One set of blinds will supply you with a lot of plant labels! This is one of those great ideas for recycling that come along from time to time.

I ran into this while going through gardening information online. This looks great and like a lot of fun, with great results, although it must be a bit time consuming. Have a look at these plant markers. Does this lend itself well to your backyard garden? Wood branch and sticks plant markers

Homemade Natural Bug Spray

If you surf around the net much you’ll probably stumble onto a recipe like this one to repel mosquitoes, and other insects. Fact is, there are many oils that can be applied on their own to deter mosquitoes. See the list after the basic recipe included here for more options and other oils to try. This is a recipe but simply rubbing the oil onto your skin is said to be very effective.

1/2 Teaspoon Eucalyptus Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Citronella Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Lemon Grass Oil
3 1/2 oz. of Witch Hazel

Combine all in a suitably sized spray bottle.
Shake before use.

Also try:

Castor Oil
Cedar Oil
Cinnamon Oil
Citronella Oil
Clove Oil
Geranium Oil
Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
Lemongrass Oil
Peppermint Oil
Rosemary Oil

Learn more:

How to Get Rid of Ants

Someone sent this idea in for getting rid of ants. I like that it is basically all things we have around our house anyway … no heavy duty chemicals or things that can hurt my family, or the environment.

You can get Boric Acid at many grocery stores, big box stores and even some pool supply stores. I use it in my pool!

Don’t let the name Boric Acid scare you. Don’t inhale it and eat it or drink the mix … no of course not! Here is what has to say:

Boric acid, also called hydrogen borate, boracic acid, orthoboric acid and acidum boricum, is a weak acid of boron often used as an antiseptic, insecticide, flame retardant, neutron absorber, or precursor to other chemical compounds. It has the chemical formula H3BO3 (sometimes written B(OH)3), and exists in the form of colorless crystals or a white powder that dissolves in water.

Boric acid was first registered in the US as an insecticide in 1948 for control of cockroaches, termites, fire ants, fleas, silverfish, and many other insects. The product is generally considered to be safe to use in household kitchens to control cockroaches and ants.[16] It acts as a stomach poison affecting the insects’ metabolism, and the dry powder is abrasive to the insects’ exoskeletons.

You’ll need:
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons Boric Acid
3 cups warm water

Slowly mix it all together in a suitable container, large enough so you can stir it up and not spill.
Store the mixture in a glass or other suitable jar, sealed tightly.

The person who sent this in used cotton balls pulled apart enough to cover and fill a shallow dish or jar lid. Then poured the solution in to fill the lid, and saturate all of the cotton. Place this lid in the area of the ant hill, or where you are finding the ants.


Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts, cultivar unknown
Species Brassica oleracea
Cultivar group Gemmifera group
Cultivar group members Cabbage

An old adage is to “plant Brussels sprouts in mid to late spring, after the last frost, and then do not harvest until after the first frost.” Frost enhances it’s flavor.

Cutting off the top of the stem makes for larger sprouts, but leaving it to grow as tall as it wants, 3 feet or more, makes for sweeter, albeit, smaller sprouts.

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 179 kJ (43 kcal)
Carbohydrates 8.95 g
– Sugars 2.2 g
– Dietary fiber 3.8 g
Fat 0.3 g
Protein 3.38 g
Vitamin A equiv. 38 μg (5%)
– beta-carotene 450 μg (4%)
– lutein and zeaxanthin 1590 μg
Thiamine (vit. B1) 0.139 mg (12%)
Riboflavin (vit. B2) 0.09 mg (8%)
Niacin (vit. B3) 0.745 mg (5%)
Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.309 mg (6%)
Vitamin B6 0.219 mg (17%)
Folate (vit. B9) 61 μg (15%)
Choline 19.1 mg (4%)
Vitamin C 85 mg (102%)
Vitamin E 0.88 mg (6%)
Vitamin K 177 μg (169%)
Calcium 42 mg (4%)
Iron 1.4 mg (11%)
Magnesium 23 mg (6%)
Manganese 0.337 mg (16%)
Phosphorus 69 mg (10%)
Potassium 389 mg (8%)
Sodium 25 mg (2%)
Zinc 0.42 mg (4%)

Percentages are relative to
US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

All Natural Snake Repellent

Snakes, like any other animal, are attracted by a food source. Mice are a common source of food for snakes so you want to rid your property of mice. Start by getting rid of everything that is excess or debris. Basically clean the property up.

Go around your house and block up all the openings to crawl spaces or entrances to your basement. You may still have some openings that are required, sometimes around plumbing, oil fill pipes, electrical etc. Use steel mesh screening to completely block all open spots around these utility entrances. Spraying with a foam sealant is also a good idea, but mice may chew right through that stuff.

This will also keep any curious snake, or one looking for a hiding place, from entering your home. It will keep the mice, as a food source, away as well.

You can also mix up some snake deterrent. Use clove oil and cinnamon oil as a 50/50 mixture and spray everywhere that you want snakes to not be.