Making Labels, Monica-style

So I was sent this totally cool label maker back in October last year. As you know in Autumn there’s not really much sowing going on so I only managed to break it out of its box earlier this year. I did look at its crazy-looking interface and it did cross my mind that it might be a little complex for My Tiny Plot’s needs. But actually, as it turns out, I was wrong. If it’s growing then I’ve made a label for it.

I do love my wooden seed tags. And I do like to give my garden that ‘Victorian kitchen garden’ look. Call me old-fashioned but that’s the way we roll here. So I’ve found that I don’t use the printer to make labels for the main garden. But what I do use it for is to label all the seedlings in my coldframe, indoor sowings, and in the seed bed. And it’s brilliant!

It works like a typewriter, you type in the type of vegetable and then the variety. You can even opt to date stamp everything if you like. Then you choose a text size and hit the print key. The label comes out as a sticker and you can then add it to all kinds of different plant labels: the stick it in the soil type or even the wrap it around a branch type that you get on fruit trees.

And…I’m sorry to say that the poor old label maker has spent the whole Winter in my dark and damp potting shed but it still functions! I was actually in shock when I switched it on.

The printer itself is quite affordable (£24.95 ex VAT) but it looks like the plant labels are quite expensive (similar price!). You could cut up a milk bottle to make strips of plastic and stick the labels to that I suppose.

Anyway, in an effort to be transparent I will say that I’m not being paid to say this – although I think I should :) But the printer was sent to me for free. And hey, if you get something for free then you’re always a bit more inclined to like it aren’t you.

Anyway, I thought I’d let you see my new toy and ask you how you label up your seedlings?

20 Comments on “Making Labels, Monica-style

  1. Oh I’d love one of those for the gardening club….oh, actually maybe not. Might result in lots of arguments.

  2. Ed made me about 100 lovely wooden plant markers last year. The unfortunate thing is that Ernie (our Border Terrier) pulls them up and runs around the garden with them! He then shreds them to pieces.

    I have had to give up with labelling this year and have gone for a ‘try to remember what I planted where’ approach. I guess if and when things surface I should be able to tell what they are!

  3. I use wooden spoons for my veg, and my memory for seeds (that’s a flowed system by anyone’s measure) but I’d love one of these for labelling all my jars of flour/sugar/tea etc. It’s my Anthea Turner/Martha Stewart type of gadget.

  4. For seeds, wooden lolly sticks bought by the 100 on Ebay, written on with a ‘Lyra Garden Pen’ which I bought 2 of in Bailey’s Home & Garden Shop and wish I’d bought about 20. For the veg plot, chopped bamboo canes and a black marker which I can sandpaper the writing off if need be in the future.

  5. Wooden spoons! That’s a brilliant idea. Love it.

  6. I write in felt tip on the plant pots to remember which seeds are in which pots and then list them on my scrappy garden plan when they go in the ground.

  7. I’m really curious to know how the ink holds up!

    I learned that the slats from old mini-blinds make good labels (except, what to do with the other 100 slats?) but our permanent markers (Sharpie is the best I’ve found) do wear off over time. Works fine for annuals though.

  8. I have wanted a label maker for about a year now but as I am not the best organizer home make I have had no excuse, thank you for giving me one! :-)

  9. I got one of those, it’s brilliant, but uses quite a lot of tape..
    I used to work at an experiental farm, and found good old pencil to be the best for writing on rough/textured plastic labels. ‘Permanent’ markers faded or washed off in a coulpe of months.

    Wouldn’t do without my Brother now. Get a mains adaoter off E-bay, £10 covers the price of a few batteries. Labels can be bought online, 1000 for £15. In different colours too..

  10. I’ve got a label maker, but the tape for them is really expensive. I’ve gone back to plant markers and pen.

  11. I have highjacked my husband’s one of these and have bought some plastic tape which I stick to waxing spatulas (v cheap for 100s from ebay and bigger than lolly stick). Seem sto work so far but I wonder if they will saty stuck – probably some varnish would be good but then would take time.

    best regards

  12. Saved wooden forks from the fish & chip shop,lolly sticks, and posh coffee stirrers from lovely cafe’s…..take ages to collect, but its great recycling and they look lovely in little terracotta pots! Hate to think that they will be thrown away when they will have another life labelling seedlings. I do like ‘the earlier suggestion of chopped bamboo canes with black marker and will be trying that this summer for the outdoor plot. Many thanks for the tip!

  13. It certainly looks worth trying – permanent pen disappears within days in the propagator, and pencils go blunt. I’m not organised enough to have a pencil sharpener in the greenhouse.

  14. I’ve wanted one of those for ages; they look dead good. I worry that it’s a bit obsessive but then I’m a bloke so would it make any difference?

  15. Hee hee! I’ve got one of those at work – remember when I first got my hands on it, spent an afternoon labelling up all sorts of boiler valves etc – and it was FANTASTIC for that! Not sure I’d want to use it on the plot tho’ – not keen on introducing plastic stickers up there.

  16. I like your labeler. I notice that you have nice nails for a gardener. Congratulations on wearing your gloves. If only I could remember where I put mine last fall……..

  17. About markers, my wife obtained some soft copper labels mounted on galvanized wire that is soft enough to write on with a pencil, which leaves an embossed writing in the copper. Reusable if you don’t need to change the wording. I have no clue as to the cost, but I would assume a moderate cost. I like the old embossing masher which imprints on the strip of plastic. Staple that to a stick and it will last until the staple rusts out.

  18. Oh my god I need one.
    Although, if I had one everything would have a label…