The growing season in Southern Quebec has been officially underway for the past 3 weeks. Unfortunately, two of those weeks were plagued with massive amounts of rain, not giving much time to do any kind of anything in the garden - until now. The long weekend and shining sun above are more than encouraging enough to get outside and into the garden again - so I took advantage of some spare time to create some new plant markers for my gardens, rather than plain old sticks and wood. Here's how:
First, you have to amass a small collection of mismatched and unused silverware. Knives, forks and spoons all work for this project, as does any other random service piece you might find at a garage sale or church bazaar. Also, the pieces don't actually have to be made of silver, as I have had success with just about any material - it just might take a little more elbow grease to get the project completed.
Other tools required for this project include a couple of clamps, a hammer, needle-nose pliers, a workbench and safety glasses. To complete the plant markers, you'll also need a fine-tipped permanent marker.
Essentially what you are going to do is clamp the utensil to the workbench and flatten it with the hammer to create a suitable surface for writing. To flatten a spoon, first clamp it down using one clamp inside the bowl of the spoon. Hammer the handle until it is flat against the surface of the workbench. Turn the spoon upside-down and clamp it down at both ends of the handle, leaving the bowl exposed. Hammer the bowl of the spoon until it is flat. If the edges begin to turn up, unclamp the spoon, flip it over and hammer the edges back flat. You should now have a very flat spoon in your hand - no good for soup. This method had proven to be the easiest, and requires nothing more than a little bit of brute force to coax the spoon flat - unless you have some awesome Matrix-style spoon-bending skills. That would be even easier.
To flatten a fork, the method is even simpler. For some reason, forks are much easier to coax flat than spoons are. First, hold the tined end in your hand, and use the hammer to flatten out the handle. Clamp the fork face to the work bench, then give it a couple of good whacks where the fork curves up, at the base of the tines. This should completely flatten the utensil. To add a little flair to the fork, clamp the handle to workbench at both ends, leaving the tines overhang. Using the needle nose pliers, gently bend and curve each tine outward, into the design of your choice.
To flatten a knife. clamp it down by the blade to the workbench, then stare at it really hard. If you've done this part right, the knife will be completely flat.
Once the utensils are all flattened, you can use a fine-tipped permanent marker to write the names of your plants and flowers on them. Write on the top of the fork and spoon, but on the handle of the knife, as it is larger than the blade and therefore harder to push into the earth. Now you can use your new plant markers as accents in potted plants, or to avoid confusing weeds with your heirloom tomatoes in their early stages of life. Either way, enjoy, and have fun out there all you green thumbs! Don't forget the sunscreen!