We’ve All Been There – Inadequate Plant Markers
Every gardener has been there. You plant your garden with love, choosing each variety with care. To keep everything organized, you insert plant markers into the soil with high hopes of clarity. But over time, these markers become your source of frustration as they deteriorated and leave you guessing at what you planted. We’ve spent years working through different solutions to label our plants long-term and are excited to share what works best for us.
- Fading Away: Many of us have experienced the heartbreak of watching those meticulously written labels slowly fade away under the relentless sun. What was once a vibrant, legible marker becomes an illegible ghost of its former self. Faded labels can lead to uncertainty about the identity of your plants.
- Deterioration Blues: Beyond fading, some markers are prone to deterioration. Rain and humidity can turn them into mushy, rusty, unreadable remnants. You may find yourself desperately trying to piece together fragments of disintegrated markers to figure out what you planted.
- Breaking the Budget and the Spirit: To make matters worse, replacing these markers can become an ongoing expense. The constant need for new markers not only hits your wallet but also breaks your gardening spirit. Not to mention the countless hours you spend rectifying this issue – rewriting labels, tracking down lost plant identities, and the frustration of dealing with unclear markers.
Quality Matters- Embrace the Durability of Stainless Steel Plant or Plastic Markers.
The durability of your plant markers starts with the markers themselves. Choose materials like thick plastic or stainless steel for your markers, as these substances can withstand the changing seasons for many years. We use both plastic and stainless steel plant markers in our gardens.
Brother Label Printers with Extra-Strength Adhesive Laminated Tape
Brother offers several different label printers to fit your budget and requirements. We selected the Brother P Touch Cube XP Label Maker for it’s larger label printing capabilities and the more advanced features it offers for customizing our labels. We used the free software Brother provides to create custom labels that allowed us to generate large quantities of labels in batches, from structured data describing our plants. We even automated the creation of QR codes on the labels which link to our website for that specific plant when scanned from a mobile device.
The Extra-Strength Adhesive Laminated Label Tape is the secret behind long-lasting labels. This tape is designed to adhere to various surfaces, from plastic and metal markers to wooden stakes and more. It can withstand harsh weather conditions and resist peeling, ensuring your labels stay intact.
What’s the Finished Product Look Like?
Using the P-Touch Editor Software
The software is very capable and will allow you to create templates for your labels. The software can also process multiple labels at a time. We store all of our plant data in a database, you could do the same or even simply setup a spreadsheet with all the details you want included. One of the fields we include is for the website URL of the plant on our website. We use this link to generate the QR code you see on our example.
While setting up your label template you will need to add an element that will be the QR code. You can do this by selecting INSERT > BAR CODE… from the main menu. This will bring you to the BAR CODE PROPERTIES for this new element. Select the PROTOCOL tab and from the PROTOCOL list select “QR Code”. Next select the INPUT tab and in the DATA field enter “test”. This value will be temporary and ultimately will be mapped to the Database (CSV) we import. Next press OK and you will see the new QR Code element on your label. You can resize and position this where needed now.
Data Setup – Mapping Fields
Assuming you want to print multiple labels at once you will need to import your CSV data and establish it as a database for the software to read from. Select FILE > DATABASE > CONNECT. This will prompt you to select a database. You have two options here, we’re going to focus on the CONNECT DATABASE FILE option. Select the BROWSE option and select your CSV file. Click the NEXT button. Now you can go through each of the elements you’ve setup, including the QR Code, and map them to the corresponding field from your new database [ LAYOUT OBJECT : DATABASE FIELD ]. Your QR Code field will be mapped to the website URL you want the user taken to when scanned.
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