Planting a row of seeds in the garden is an act of faith: Faith in nature, faith in the seed itself, and faith in your memory to remember what it is you just placed in the ground and when you did it. As I get older, my memory needs more assistance. What I need are trusty row markers.
For years I have been using cedar shims that I purchase from a DIY home store. Just label them with what it is you just planted—using a reliable marker, of course—and when you planted them, and they are reliable enough to get you through a season.
This year I went in a different direction. I ordered garden labels via Amazon from a vendor called YSLF. The 100 labels even came with their own pen. Here are my thoughts on the product:
- Made from plastic, these labels are flexible enough to bend without breaking—well, to a certain extent. When you’re stepping about in the garden, the possibility of landing on one of these and snapping it are low—you’ll sooner give it a permanent bend then break, and I like that.
- The stake portion of the label is about 2.5 inches—long enough to secure properly into the ground, no matter how stony the soil.
- The writing surface is roughly 1.5 inches high by 2.5 inches wide. I can get a bunch of information on that area—and in a horizontal manner! Not just vertical like I would do with a shim.
All well and good so far. And those three points are important attributes. However, the “notes” section of the product description says this: “The words you write with this pen can be wiped off.” What this means is exactly that: What you write with the included pen comes right off, no matter what. It’s not waterproof ink.
The picture above includes writing made with a red Sharpie marker, NOT the pen that came with the product. Luckily I had written out just two labels that were washed clean by the very next rain event.
My opinion is that the labels themselves are okay—and I would say just okay, nothing spectacular. They’ll do. It’s the pen you cannot rely on. In this case, the pen is certainly not mighty.