Starting Seeds in Milk Jugs

I’ve got the itch as anyone who follows my Gardening Pinterest Board very well knows. It’s the beginning of March and I want to be outside, in the dirt, enjoying the sunshine, hard work and noises and smells of Spring.

But it isn’t that time in NE Ohio.  Instead the forecast still includes snow, the temperatures are still in the 30s and getting the rototiller out is no where in site.  Sigh…

That is why I LOVE starting seeds this time of year.  I get my hands dirty.  I get to watch my plants start.  I get to dream about what my garden will look like this year.

A good friend of mine told me about starting seeds in milk jugs!  What a novel idea.  Not only am I ‘reusing’ milk jugs (which we go through at about three or four a week), I am also saving money not having to buy as many seed starting trays (although I do save those from year to year too) and I am renewing my mind as I get to play in the dirt.  (Dirt plus me equals love!)  OH and once they are started they go right outside into the cold and snow.  Therefore leaving more room for more seed trays inside leaving more room in my otherwise very busy kitchen.

Starting Seeds in Milk Jugs: Step by step instructions

Step 1: Rinse your empty milk jug. It only needs
a good swish of water and dump.
Step 2: Cut around your jug about 4 inches from
the bottom.  Leave the jug connected, or hinged,
by the handle.  You do not want to cut your jug
in half.

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Step 3: Using a utility knife poke about 8
holes on the bottom. I did one on each of
the four sides and then one in each
corner of the bottom. These holes allow
moisture to drain, preventing seed or
root rot.
Step 4:  Fill the bottom with dirt. This is
your chance to get your hands dirty!
My favorite time of year…

Step 5: Plant seeds and add some warm
water to dirt.  I added about three seeds
per jug knowing they won’t all
germinate one or two plants per jug is
ideal. You don’t want your dirt sopping wet
but enough moisture so its damp.
Make wet dirt, not mud-pies. 
Step 6: Seal your jug with packing tape
(any laying around from your last PCS
or care package?) or duct tape. You
want it closed tight.  Label your jug
with the plant type and date. The date is important to me because I
plan on making a new greenhouse-jug
with each milk we finish.  Therefore,
staggering my plant size and hopefully
the fruits of my labor won’t all produce
at once this way.
Step 7: Place your jugs outside in a sunny location,
preferably not the north side of your house. Rain andsnow will water the plants through the jug opening.Sun will warm the dirt and your new plants through the
plastic jug. As the weather warms up, peel the tape and flip back the tops on nice days but close them again at night. When evening temperatures stay above freezing you can leave the lids open permanently.  When your dirt is warm enough to transplant carefully transfer move dirt from jug to ground and watch your plants flourish! – Leanne from   
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