Jan HintzeSave the planet

If you are a gardener like me, half the fun is growing your own plants from cuttings or seed, and usually your shadehouse is full of little pots with a piece of this or that, or a few seeds, scrounged from other gardens, parks, or purchased on the internet. I don’t kid myself that I am going to remember in a few weeks time what that new little shoot poking up might be, so I have learned to religiously label everything, which brings me to my point.

Cut the top off the aluminium can

Cut the top off the aluminium can

Plant labels are expensive. Cheap ones about 10c each and fancy ones a lot more, and if you use them by the dozen it can cost a lot. And, to complicate the issue, a lot of the plastic ones are not UV stabilised, so after a few months they disintegrate into small pieces, and are totally unreadable. Which rather defeats the purpose.

Cut strips down to the bottom

Cut strips down to the bottom

A friend showed me how to make quite useable plant labels from beer cans. Now I know this means you might have to drink an extra can or two, but…. sometimes we have to suffer. After you have emptied it, you cut the top off – the kitchen scissors will do it since aluminium cans are as thin as paper, and then cut the barrel of the can into strips right down to the base. I make about ten strips around each can. Then cut the strips off the base, and voilà – plant labels. If you punch a hole in them with a paper punch, you can tie them on with a bit of wire.

Cut the strips away at the base

Cut the strips away at the base

You can write on these with permanent marker, pencil, or a dead biro which engraves into the metal, so you can read it forever. My friend gets a bit fancy and uses glass paint to write with, but he is a perfectionist. I guess you can use soft drink cans too, but is that in the Aussie tradition?

Punch some holes - and there you are!

Punch some holes – and there you are!

However or whatever you use – it is recycling, plus avoiding the use of plastic. And they do more or less last forever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jan Hintze

About Jan Hintze

Jan is a professional flower grower, horticulturist & consultant, specialising in tropical plants including fruit and vegetable production and cut flowers. Darwin, Northern Territory

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