By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter
I am one of those gardeners that plants my vegetables and swears I will remember the variety but….
It never fails that I know what I planted but can not just pick out which variety is which unless it is a unique type.
So this year I have come up with a plan to avoid this situation.
First, I always mark my varieties in my gardening journal. Doing this, one may think, would allow me to remember the varieties but when I plant tomatoes I plant tomatoes.
Last year, I topped 65 plants so keeping track of the varieties, when asked, is not always easy. While the garden journal is an excellent tool and a necessity to a successful gardening season, it is not really conducive to those quick gardening questions.
I have also used plastic plant tags that are pushed into the ground but these tend to break off for me. I have also made my own plant name stakes from new paint stirrers but by the end of the season they look worn and hard to read. Another technique that I have used that works well is to attach the seed packet of the variety to a new paint stirrer. I then cover the paper seed packet with clear shelf liner. The liner is plastic and protects the seed packet from moisture and sun damage but this approach only works for varieties planted in rows.
So this year, I am going to know every variety of tomato plant I have planted without having to pull out my lovely garden journal. But the question remains, how?
Since I plant tomatoes inmy mulch garden, in containers and even in flower pouches, I am going to have to have several different techniques for labeling the plant material. The first approach I am going to use is only for my determinate tomato plants. Since I do not stake these plants, I can come up with a decorative while functional type of plant label. To solve this problem, I pulled out my roll of copper I had bought for my copper punch projects.
I cut the copper so that I have a nameplate along with a copper stake so that I can force it into the ground. Once this is done, I simply write onto the copper with a pencil. While the pencil mark itself does not show up the indention of what I have written does. I then place the nameplate in front of my determinate tomato plant and push it into the ground. Now, I know what is in my container garden.
Another approach I am going to try is to create a hanging nameplate for my indeterminate tomato plants or those I have to stake. To do this, collect the plastic clips that one gets when they buy bread. Next, on both sides of the clip write the variety of tomato plant. Due to their size, one may have to abbreviate the name. After this is done, simply cover with clear shelf liner. At this point, one can poke a hole in the clear shelf liner to create a hanging hole that can be strung or just cut out the center of the clip.
After the clip has been finished, it can simply be hung on a tomato cage, tomato stake or on a trellis.
So this year, give some of these nameplate designs a try. It will allow you to become one with your garden by knowing beyond the fact that the plant in the garden is a tomato.
So until we blog again, it is just as important to know your plants as it is to know your friends.