Two major issues, one is the label fading and two, the tags getting brittle all caused by UV. So what does one do? Well first, you need a good thick heavy duty tag, hopefully the exposed part won’t deteriorate in one year. The one shown above is about 1 mm thick. I’m sure it will still eventually have UV issues, but it should last longer than the flimsy tags I’ve been using up till now.
So how do you get the codes to stay undamaged and visible on the tag? Well I’ve learned a few tricks over the years. I used to use a black sharpie and write the code on the top of the tag and stick it in the pot so that the code was visible. I learned very quickly that Sharpies fade out in a year and that when the tags were exposed to sunlight they would get brittle and break, in many cases I’d lose the code, or it would break the code in half.
Then I learned to write the code on the bottom of the tag and stick it in the pot that way the writing is not exposed to the sun and won’t fade (as fast). If the exposed part of the tag got brittle and broke off the code remained unaffected… you just had to root around in the pot to find the tag. Then you just made a new one! I also learned pencil didn’t fade, so I made all my tags in pencil. That system worked great, but I found you’d have to replace the tags at least every second year!
This year, with my re inventory and re coding, I’m also re tagging with new thick tags (thanks Jay), hopefully these will last more than a season or two. Also, as you can see in the photo, I’m using a different writing utensil. This is a paint pen made by Sharpie. It is an oil based product and is supposed to be very resistant to fading and moisture. So, like before I’m putting the codes at the bottom of the tags and putting these in the bogs. I’m keeping the old brittle pencil written tags in there with the new ones, just in-case. Who knows, maybe being in a wet acid environment the paint will dissolve! Then I’m done! We’ll see next Spring.
Now, off I got to add these new tags with the my new codes out into my bogs. Its going to be long process I think. Updating the spreadsheet with the new codes takes a bit, but then going out into each bog and trying to find each plant… well that’s gonna take a while. On the good side, we are in for great weather for then next while – sunny and mild temps between 27C and 30C. Break out the tanning oil 🙂