plant label

Everyday Gardeners

blind sided

The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s window blind recall announcement earlier this week reminded me that I’m just about out of plant labels. How are the two connected? My homemade seed starting labels are made from recycled mini blinds. Although the current recall primarily involves roman shades and roll up blinds, old-fashioned mini blinds also have had similar problems with exposed cord loops that pose danger of strangulation to children.

BHG146706If you have mini blinds that you’d like to replace (for safety or aesthetic reasons), why not recycle them as plant tags rather than just throwing them away? I stumbled upon this idea years ago when installing new mini blinds. To make them the right length to fit our windows, some of the slats had to be removed. My frugal nature wouldn’t allow me to toss the extra slats. That’s when I hit on the idea of cutting them into 6- to 8-inch lengths to use as plant labels.

The vinyl slats were just the right width for marking in pencil the date I planted the seeds and the name of the plant. White or cream colored slats offer the best contrast between the pencil lead and the background color, but other pastel shades should work, too.wDSCF8910

Because I no longer have mini blinds in my home, I search discount or close out stores for mini blinds on sale. Because I’m just going to cut the blinds apart anyway, they don’t have to be in perfect condition. And one large shade makes enough plant labels to last a long time, even for someone like me, who starts thousands of seedlings every year in my greenhouse.

DSCF8911I find that these low-cost labels last at least a season or two in the garden–perfect for veggies and annual flowers. I use a different system for perennial flowers, trees, and shrubs, but that’s the subject for another blog post.

What do you use to label your seedlings? Do you have other ideas on how to save money by recycling unwanted items, such as recycled planters? We’d love to hear from you.