Trying to keep track with nail polish

People give me stuff.  Good stuff though, like plants, seeds, and cuttings.  I promise faithfully, to put them in the ground – often with a bit of rooting powder – and raise them to be nice strong plants.  As a   result, I have a large collection of pots and planting bags with all kinds of things growing in them.

So, here’s the problem.  When I put them in the pot or bag, I always think to myself, “I don’t need to tag this plant.  I’ll remember what Mike (or Mary or Ruth) gave me.”

You can guess the result.

I have dozens of things growing in my nursery area, and I do not have a clue as to what they are.  Its worse of course, with seeds because they are so small and so easily lost.  [By the way, a great seed-starter container is an egg carton.  Just fill with dirt and plant your seeds.  Transplant to pots or directly to the garden when they are the recommended height.  I like to remove mine from the egg carton before planting.]

This is so embarrassing.  Friends will ask, “how is that cutting I gave you doing” and I just have to nod and smile and say, “Terrific, thanks!” when I have no idea what was given, or when, or where the heck I put it.  Shame on me.

So, I need to get organized.  (This is especially true because I have purchased some special seeds on-line, and I want to make sure I know which ones they are.)  The problem (other than being a bit lazy and absent-minded)?  The tropical sun fades ink, pencil, and markers so quickly that my old method (popsicle sticks and marker) only work briefly, then the stick rots or the marker fades, or both.  I needed something more permanent, and I found it!  Nail polish!  And a notebook.

I needed the notebook because it is difficult to write a long plant name with a nail polish brush (you try scribing “heliconia” on plastic), so I decided to code each plant.  One dot on a plastic plant marker, put a dot in the notebook, and write the plant name next to the dot. I can even make extra notes next to the dot.  Botanical name, English name, local name.  Next plant?  Two dots.  Too many plants?  Change the color of the nail polish.  And the markers?  I cut the markers out of plastic cups. 

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