homemade garden markers

Use it up, wear it out,
Make it do, do without.

If you’ve ever bought those white plastic garden markers to label plants or rows, you know that by the end of the season, they generally disappear into the mulch or weeds, to turn up a few years later, snapped in two by a tiller or shovel.

That’s why I love these homemade garden markers. They’re big, to hold lots of information, they’re easily spotted in the mulch and vegetation of late summer, and they’re indestructible. If you buy laundry detergent in these large, handled, pour-spout containers, you’re in luck.

recycled garden marker

The markers look like this…

recycled garden marker

You can create 12 markers per container using a pattern I made. Just download it and print it out…

Garden marker pattern

Cut out the pattern (as a block; you’ll cut them into individual markers last).

Wash out the detergent container well. Tape the pattern to one side of the container and trace the outline of the whole pattern.

garden marker pattern

Make three ticks with your marker at the tops of the vertical lines that delineate each marker.

recycled garden marker

Remove the pattern and connect the lines with a ruler and marker.

Repeat on the other two flat sides. Then CAREFULLY cut around the marked sides of the container with a utility knife (these things are lethal) to remove the marked sections. Finish cutting them up with a pair of sturdy scissors. (You could alternately knife out the three flat sides of the container first, and then transfer the patterns to them.)

Finally, get yourself a permanent laundry marker if you don’t already have one. Those gray Sharpie markers labeled ‘Permanent’? Nope, they’re not.

I also punch holes in a few of the markers with a hammer and large nail to hang on my tomato cages with a twist tie. There’s plenty of room for the tomato variety and any experimental information I want to remember.

Direct recycling.


6 thoughts on “homemade garden markers

  1. What a great idea. Do these stakes maintain flexibility in all weather? You could collect different colored jugs from friends and color-code if you wanted to get nuts about it. Then recycle the scrap material, of course.


  2. Nice idea. I bought extra big plastic markers this year because – as you say – the littl’uns disappear all too easily.

    Great tip about the pen. I’ve long been meaning to blog-ask if others have the annoying problem of careful annotations disappearing within weeks. Even the pen that’s supplied with the markers is rubbish!

    However, I’m not sure I know what a laundry marker is. Might be US/UK linguistic differences?! Is this a pen you use to write on clothing???


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