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