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Easy Inexpensive Plant Marker Stakes

As I added more and more diverse plants to our swales and food forest project, I started losing track of what was planted where. Part of my strategy to reduce damage from rabbits and deer is to plant a wide variety of things. Scattered throughout the swales are also many cover crops like oats, peas, fava beans, comfrey, and various wild flowers.

The end result is something that appears to be quite wild and disorganized. Don’t worry – that’s all intentional. Recently we had some deer come through and eat leaves from quite a few of our comfrey plants, but they left the fruit trees alone. The comfrey grows right back, so it’s doing one of its many jobs.

As I walk around the swales, sometimes it’s hard to tell the plants apart. Some of them can be stepped on while others are diamonds in the rough that need to be avoided. Take for example the sweet potatoes I scattered around last week. And the other day I found a cilantro plant that I wanted to keep track of.

I Needed a Way to Mark the Special Plants
I wanted a cheap way to mark the plants that need to be avoided. I didn’t want to buy flags at Home Depot. Those can get expensive. What I came up with is PVC pipe. I use the thin walled PVC that is designed for sprinkler systems. It’s about $1.50 for 10 feet at Home Depot. I cut it into 9 inch long pieces. You can use a saw, but it is much easier using a PVC pipe cutter. A 10 foot long piece produces about 13 PVC marker stakes for just over 10 cents each.

I pound them into the ground with a hammer next to the plants I want to watch out for. As I walk around, it is easier to spot them and avoid stepping on them. If you want sturdier stakes, you can use the thicker schedule 40 pipe which goes for about $2.50 for 10 feet.

I’ve thought about marking them with different colors of permanent marker or spray paint to color code some of the plants, but I haven’t found that necessary so far. Sticks you pick up from the yard can be inserted into the center of the pipe if you want something sticking up higher to make them more visible.

It’s that simple. Nothing complicated. Just a very inexpensive and easy way to mark the plants. Give it a try.

Tomato

Tomato

Sweet Potato

Sweet Potato

Cilantro

Cilantro

Several Stakes

Several Stakes

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