Recycled Plant Labels (aka “The Sleepless Gardener”)

In a fair and just world I’d be sleeping right now, but for some reason when my 4y.o. son wakes me up in the middle of the night, he gets straight back to sleep while I don’t. If I’m still awake half an hour later I get hungry, which leads me to early breakfast. This might explain why we go through yogurt at the rate we do (and yes we could be making our own but that’s a project for another day). Meanwhile, what to do with those empty plastic tubs?


Well, apart from making perfectly good plant pots if you put holes in the bottom, they are also ideal for labels to put in the pots – or in the garden beds for that matter. It’s this simple:


  • Wash out the container (if it’s greasy it will be more difficult to write on)
  • Snap the top edge at 2cm intervals by bending it with your fingers
  • Grab each segment and tear down to create strips
  • Snip off the strips with scissors
  • Write on it! (e.g. plant variety, date sown)


I’ve used texta here for clarity, but in fact plain old lead pencil is the most durable medium I’ve found to stay legible through all weather. If you want to make it colourful though, crayons or oil pastels are pretty good too.

And while we’re on recycling waste into the garden, a timely use for beer dregs… if slugs and snails are getting to your little green seedlings, it might be worth trying a beer trap or two! I don’t have a beer about me just now to demonstrate (maybe I should – might sleep better!) but here’s the general idea:

  • Use a small glass jar without the lid (e.g. jam jar)
  • Make a little depression in the soil near the victim plants
  • Do a dry run, pressing the jar on its side into the soil, just angled slightly so that the lip of the jar is close to the soil surface for easy access and the base of the jar is just deep enough to hold 1/4 jar of liquid
  • Add beer! Stale beer, flat beer, cider, your best home brew, they all work and they still work if you dilute them 50/50 with water. Some say Coke works too, and I tried it once when I wanted to save the precious home brew – but it didn’t work for us.
  • The little beggars slime on in for a drink and just don’t find their way out. After a week there should be a collection of plump little floaty slugs for the compost and you just top up the trap with more beer.

Now if I was really keen, I’d take a torch and go hunting for the slimy rotters now… but the mere thought of going out in the cold has me yawning – nighty-night!   🙂

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