Saturday, March 10, 2012

How to Do a Milk Jug Seed Planting in the Winter

Recycled milk jugs have many uses.
When the weather outside is frightful, the gardener's thoughts turn to spring. If counter space is limited, or children and pets knock over seed flats, dedicated gardeners can find alternate methods of starting seeds. Milk jugs can be reused as mini greenhouses to start seeds early. For Winter sowing, however, you can also use milk jugs as planters. Some seeds, such as alpine strawberries or violas, require winter chilling before planting, for successful germination. By planting cold-tolerant seeds, you can place your milk jug planters  on the patio or in the yard when snow is on the ground

o    1
Select seeds that require stratification, or chilling, before planting. This information is usually found in the planting instructions on the seed packet.
o    2
Cut the milk jug in half by inserting the scissors through the plastic 4 to 5 inches from the bottom and cutting in a horizontal line around the milk jug. Leave the handle attached; it becomes the hinge. Remove the cap.
o    3
Punch four to six holes in the bottom of the milk jug for drainage.
o    4
Pour 3 inches of potting soil into the base of your milk jug planter. Add water and mix until the soil is moist.
o    5
Add 1 inch of sterile seed starting mix to the milk jug.
o    6
Place the seeds on top of the seed starting mix. Use tweezers to place the seeds 1 to 2 inches apart. Sprinkle seed starting mix on top of the seeds, covering to a depth recommended on the seed packet.
o    7
Mist the seed starting mix until moist.
o    8
Close the top of the milk jug planter. Use duct tape to hold the top down.
o    9
Label the milk jug planter with the name of the seeds and the planting date, using a permanent marker.
o    10
Place the milk jug planter in the yard, in a location that provides the type of light recommended on the seed packet instructions. For example, if the instructions say "shade," place the jug in the shade of a tree, shrub or the house.
o    11
Open the lid when the weather warms and the seeds sprout. Transplant when the seedlings have at least two sets of leaves.

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