By Nan K. Chase
Spring has just about sprung, which means we are all planting seeds and bulbs like crazy. It’s way too easy to forget what has gone into the ground and where, so I’m happy to report that Sow True Seed has come up with a foolproof way to mark seedbeds.
I used to be the world’s worst gardener in terms of keeping track. My method for a long time was just to hope that I would recognize seedlings as they appeared. Then I started marking rows by putting the empty seed packet upside down on a stick. The results were predictable: after a few rains the envelopes were sodden and unreadable. In winter they simply disintegrated. On the other hand, I could always tell kale from lettuce once everything had sprouted.
Now that I am growing lots of different kinds of onions, garlic, and potatoes, it has become essential to do a better job of labeling. With garlic, for example, planting takes place in autumn and harvest not until the following summer. Which is hardneck and which is softneck? Need to know.
The Sow True Seed plant labels, available in large or mixed sizes, are fantastic. Simple and totally weather proof, they withstand an entire winter’s worth of rain, snow, and ice. The system uses either large or medium size wooden paddles – like big popsicle sticks – and an industrial quality Sharpie pen.
It has been great to keep track of my garlic seedlings over the winter…and now they are set to put on their big growth, both hardneck and softneck.
I especially like the mixed sizes of labels, as I can plant two crops at once and label them both, for example shallots interplanted with lettuce.
Try the plant markers and see if they don’t make a big difference in organizing your garden and tracking plant progress.