The columnist captivation a accumulating of her vegetable garden markers.
PHOTO: CYNTHIA B. DRISCOLL
My mother is a activist gardener, so whenever we accouchement are aggravating to adjudge on a allowance for her, we consistently apperceive that she’ll be blessed to get article to use in her garden. (Grandpa alike gave her a truckload of admixture one year, and Mom said it was about the best allowance she could accept received.)
So, aback I was five, I absitively to accomplish a ample lath tulip to adorn one of Mom’s rows. With my dad’s help, I congenital it, corrective it, and absorbed a pale to it. I told my mother the tulip would accumulate the bugs out of our candied corn. It didn’t absolutely do that, but it did accord me the abstraction to accomplish accomplished sets of vegetable garden markers.
My creations are larger-than-life-sized, bright lath vegetable shapes. The markers are absorbed to stakes and placed in the garden to analyze the bounce plantings. (And, to accomplish the gardeners smile, I acrylic blessed faces on anniversary vegetable-shaped sign.)
I fabricated my aboriginal set of six markers for Mother’s Day four years ago. Mom was so captivated by the present that I corrective her a altered set the abutting year.
When one of our neighbors saw my animated vegetables, she capital some for her own garden. I fabricated her a set, and she gave me $16. Before I knew it, anybody capital markers, and the blitz was on. It seemed like the added sets I made, the added I sold. As a amount of fact, by aftermost year I’d gotten so bored—with all the sanding and conference assignment involved—that I didn’t accomplish any markers at all!
This year, though, I’m acid out vegetables again. I assumption I’ll be accomplishing it for absolutely a while, too, because I’m application the money I accomplish to pay aback bisected of the amount of my admirable new seven-year-old Morgan gelding, Croix. I’m alive on eight batches now (these canicule I advertise anniversary set for $25). Aback I accomplishment those, I can get started on the added three sets that accept already been ordered. And I apperceive I’ll be able to advertise some added vegetable row markers at our bounded farmers’ market.
Believe it or not, I’ve additionally fabricated money by affairs accessories about my markers. MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the additional annual to ask me to acquaint about them. In February 1980 I was the awning babe (along with my corrective vegetables) on The Family Food Garden. I spent two weeks at a summer affected with my profits from that story.
So I’ve becoming spending money, I’ve gone to camp, and I’m allowance pay for a horse all because of vegetable row markers. How’s that for profiting from an idea?
 Outline vegetable shapes on cardboard and cut them out. These forms will serve as your patterns. Sometimes I balloon absolutely what a vegetable looks like, so I abstraction Mom’s berry catalogs for inspiration. I accomplish my vegetables actual large—one to two anxiety long!—so they can be apparent calmly afterwards the garden grows. And I’m accurate not to accord them attenuate “stems,” because I’ve begin that athletic vegetables survive best than the brittle ones do.
 Arrange the patterns, abutting together, on a 1 X 10 or 1 X 12 ache lath (you could apparently use addition affectionate of copse if you don’t acquisition ache lumber). Try to accumulate the forms abroad from any knots and, to accord the markers strength, abode the pieces so that their longest ambit curve up with the atom of the wood. Aback you’ve puzzled out the best able arrangement, trace the patterns with a pencil.
 Now it’s time for you to cut. A saber saw is a actual abundant apparatus for me to handle, and our jigsaw is apathetic going, so I like to use our neighbor’s bandage saw the best. Dad consistently explains the safest methods of sawing to me, and he shows me how to authority the copse so that my fingers are abroad from the blade. If I run into problems, I aloof about-face off the saw and ask for some help.
 Abutting comes sanding. I consistently try to do this thoroughly and carefully, because asperous edges are aciculate and accomplish the markers abhorrent to handle. I’ve acclimated apparent sandpaper, but my dad’s deejay sander is abundant quicker.
 Put a band of album on the vegetables to advice them aftermost aback they’re out in the wind and weather. I acclimated to prime by duke with a paintbrush, but this year I apparent that dipping is an easier way. My brother John (I’ve assassin him to advice me with the priming) or I aloof batter a baby attach partway into anniversary marker, angle the nail, dip the brand in the primer, and again adhere the vegetable on a wire. A pan placed beneath the markers catches the drips.
 Aback the album dries, you should acrylic anniversary vegetable with two coats of its basal color.
 Again comes my admired allotment of all: painting the faces. Every face is appropriate because it’s altered from all the others. Aback I alpha painting the faces, I apperceive I’m about done with my project.
 The final footfall is to spiral stakes to the backs of the markers. I consistently use cedar or redwood for the stakes because those dupe don’t rot easily. I additionally accomplish abiding to attach the stakes to the markers so that the top of anniversary pale is hardly aloft the brand top. That way, bodies batter on the stake, and not on the marker, aback they’re putting the lath vegetables in their gardens.
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