John Lonsdale
Wed, 24 Aug 2005 07:49:24 PDT
I've used a method for two years now that is great for 
both maintaining a record of accessions and also printing 
highly legible labels which are permament and contain a 
lot of information.

I enter my accessions into a column of an Excel sheet then 
use mail merge within Word to create labels.  Save your 
Excel data, open Word and select mail merge.  Choose your 
label template sheet - I use Avery transparent return 
address labels, 80 per sheet, for standard 5" or 8" 
plastic labels.  For larger aluminum lables I use a bigger 
Avery label.  Select the data you want to merge then 
complete the merge and format the labels as you need to 
get them to fit all the information.  Generally Arial at 
8, 9 or 10 point works best.  Print them on a laser 
printer - essential because it is the carbon toner that 
bonds with the label that is responsible for the lack of 
fading (same as the Brother method).  You don't have to do 
a full sheet each time - the sheets happily go through the 
printer at least 3 times.  Stick the printed labels on 
your label of choice and put them in the ground/pots. 
 Before doing a lot I iteratively microwaved, dishwashed, 
froze and thawed the labels a number of times and the 
adhesive never deteriorated.  After a couple of years in 
the garden not a single label has peeled or faded.  You 
don't even have to type a lot of the information into the 
Excel sheet if it is electronically availbe lesewhere, 
e.g. when you order or on a web site.

The only marker I use that is guaranteed not to fade and 
fine enough for plant labels is the DecoColor black paint 


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