Don’t get all worked up over the quality of this image, I clipped it from the video that is posted below. In short, Roger Higgins from Roger’s Backyard Nursery in Cranesville, Pa makes these homemade plant tags out of used Pepsi cans.
I often use Aluminum Plant Tags in my nursery because they are very permanent but I buy a box of tags that last me a really, really long time since I only use this type of tag to tag stock plants or rooted cuttings in the Propagation Beds.
Roger’s method is great for the home gardener who only needs a few permanent tags and Roger makes these up during the winter when he can’t do much outside.
The Biggest Plant Tagging Lie in the World!
Permanent markers are not permanent all at all, no matter what it says on the marker. Trust me on this, they fade to the point of being completely invisible. Very frustrating. A common #2 pencil actually holds up really well when used on white plastic tags. Make a note of that. That’s a great thing to know. Nothing more frustrating than taking the time to properly tags your plants only to find that every last tag faded over the summer or winter.
In this video Roger shows us how he puts these homemade tags on a wire stake to mark the many different kinds of hostas that he has in his hosta bed.
And there you have it, a very simple idea from One of Our Members, Roger Higgins from Roger’s Backyard Nursery in Cranesville, Pa which is very close to Ohio and Erie. Not only do Roger and his wife Venice sell a lot of plants locally from home, Roger also sells a ton of rooted cuttings and liners in the members area. Roger is a great member, very helpful to the other members, very well liked.
Questions, comments, mean things to say? Post them below and I’ll respond.
Candace Alcoser says
I would LOVE to watch this video, but it’s giving me a 500 internal error? Please let me know how I can watch! Thanks y’all!!
This is a standard youtube video, it plays for me.
I was watching your soil mixture recommendations. Just wanted your opinion on the medium I am using in my new raised beds. I located 5 year old leaves, it appeared nice so put a soil test on it it and the ph was 7 the p- was good and the K was good. .my question is as those leaves decompose will I have to amend it. I remembered you did not recommend compost ? Was I just lucky?
Now, that mix should be fine without ammending. Compost is okay for a grow bed as long as it’s not too sticky, holding too much water. Some compost is okay in a potting mix, but rarely is compost good enough to be used 100% in potting mix.
Okay, let me see if I can make the important points.
My most recent video on potting soil, this one is about pine fines or pine bark mulch; https://mikesbackyardnursery.com/2018/03/potting-soil-can-use-make-potting-soil/
Just in! This mix is actually pretty good, https://www.amleo.com/berger-bark-growing-mix-3-cu-ft/p/BM7/. If nothing else gives you an idea of what a good mix should be.
1. First of all, it is confusing because there are so many options that make for a good mix. A lot of it has to do with what is available to you in your area.
2. Pea gravel. I used to add pea gravel to my well rotted hardwood bark mulch but I’ve learned that adding pine bark is really a better option. In small quantities pine bark is often sold by the bag and called soil conditioner in the box stores.
3. Rotted hardwood bark mulch is still a good option, I used it for years with great success. It only failed me when I tried to really stock up (50 yards worth) then it rotted too much and didn’t drain well. That’s when I started mixing in large amounts of pine bark.
4. Growers actually use pine bark fresh because even as it ages it really doesn’t change a lot.
5. So right now my ideal mix is very heavy in pine bark and to that I add either commercial compost or well rotted hardwood bark mulch.
6. But what I really do is buy a load (90 yards) of pine bark then I start working that into the potting mix that we are current using. I think it’s important for me to stay ahead of the wave by adding more pine bark before I am out of soil. Right now I have a large pile of pine bark that’s been sitting here since ???? early summer I think. And there is a part of my potting soil pile that is far too aged and compacted so on my to do list is to blend these two piles together before spring.
7. Yes, I now have a front end loader that makes this easy. But at this place, https://mikesbackyardnursery.com/2016/03/mikes-first-backyard-nursery/, I used a shovel, a wheelbarrow and a rototiller. I usually kept about 10 yards on hand and always replenished my pile before it ran out using the old to mix with the new.
8. But back then I never turned the entire pile. That would have been crazy. I’m too lazy to turn compost! Or as I like to think of it, I value my time more than that.
9. Instead when I added fresh material, bark mulch, commercial compost or pea gravel to my pile, I simply put it on top. I’d use a two by twelve as a ramp to get the wheelbarrow up on top of the pile. I built the pile like a “Dagwood Sandwich”, you might have to Google that. Layers of materials. Then when I needed soil I would simply rototill one corner and get an awesome mix that I’d shovel on to the bench by hand.
10. And that’s where the legless potting bench came in. I’d rest one end on the pile so it would be nice and close for shoveling, then the other end on blocks or a saw horse. https://mikesbackyardnursery.com/2014/01/homemade-mobile-potting-bench-it-has-removable-wheels/
11. So yeah, today I do things very differently, but I started exactly where all of you are today.
No matter what you use, it doesn’t have to be my mix, just pick a potting soil that somebody else here is using with great success. Bagged soil? Sure if that’s what you want to do. I have no idea how much it costs to fill a one gallon with a bagged mix but I am curious about that if anybody wants to share than number with us.
Here are some tips on getting good potting soil;
Looking online for mulch is probably not the best place to look because many of the dealers who sell mulch really have little to no web presence at all. I’m sure there has to be some hardwood bark available in New Jersey.
I’d pick up the phone and start calling around. Garden Centers, landscapers and excavators will know who sells bulk hardwood bark mulch. These dealers are often hidden away on some side street.
I’d take a full day and visit as many garden centers and nurseries in your area that you can. Browse, ask some casual questions.
1. Do you know of anybody in the area that sells bulk mulch.
2. Do you know of anybody in the area that sells bulk potting soil.
3. What do most growers around here use as a potting mix.
Bulk potting soil is available, usually around $55 a yard, but worth it. But it’s not readily available in all areas and in most cases you need to send a truck to get it.
But it won’t cost anything to ask these questions. You’ll either get really good, answers, might get the brush off, or you might find somebody who loves to talk about growing plants and will bury you in valuable information.
Good info here about potting soil, https://mikesbackyardnursery.com/2014/12/mike-mcgroartys-secret-bed-building-and-potting-soil-recipe/
Nurse Nancy Davis says
Another idea for plant tags, especially when you need a lot of them is to take an old vinyl mini-blind and cut each slat up into the length needed. I cut one end pointed (to stick into the potted soil) and the other end rounded. I do this when watching TV news in the evening. They hold up in weather. They resemble the typical ones you pay $ for elsewhere but much more economical.
I love Mike’s suggestion of using #2 lead pencil for labeling instead of the “supposed” permanent marker. I will test out the lead pencil on my mini-blind cut tags.
Irene Nevins says
You’re laughing about the calorie content of the Hosta. Turns out Hosta shoots are edible. Taste like asparagus.
Didn’t know that.