I like to think that I have a pretty good memory; I still have my childhood friends’ landline numbers memorized and I always remember which level I park on in parking garages. Oh, and I can recite every line of Jurassic Park – now that’s a talent.
I was pretty defiant about labeling plants at first. How could I not remember which seeds were planted where?! And even if I forgot, I figured I could sort things out pretty quickly as soon as leaves started showing. I think you know where this is headed. It is easy to mix up seedlings. You might be able to tell the difference between a pepper plant and an eggplant when full grown, but when those plants are baby seedlings with just their seedling leaves…. they basically look identical. And now that I’ve got multiple varieties of each veggie growing, it is nearly impossible to tell the difference between a Yellow Brandywine Tomato seedling and a San Marzano Tomato seedling.
So I’ve recently put a lot of thought into my garden journaling and plant labels. I don’t use actual plant labels. I simply use popsicle sticks as they are the same thing but considerably cheaper. I just bought 1000 popsicle sticks at my local craft store for $5. (My local home improvement store was selling 25 plant labels for $3 – a huge price difference.)
I’ve found it essential to give each seedling its own label as soon as I transfer it from my seedling flats to my 4-inch-starter pots. If the plant is container-bound, the label stays with it indefinitely. If the plant is headed to the raised beds I still keep track of things but with a different method.
When I go out to transplant (or plant) in my garden beds I always have a garden map planned out with where each plant should go beforehand. I plan out my garden online and in my gardening journal. And I bring that garden plan out with me when I plant. I put the outline in a sheet protector to keep it protected from the elements. And I bring a Sharpie marker with me so I can mark up any changes I make on the spot. I do the same thing when sowing seeds in my soil blocks.
If you are looking to change how you journal and label your plants I hope you find some inspiration in this. But either way… just remember… don’t make my mistakes and always label your plants. 🙂