Starting seeds in milk jugs? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 01-19-2016, 10:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Starting seeds in milk jugs?

I just read on a gardening blog that you can do this. You cut open the milk jug and put in some potting soil, then plant a seed set it outdoors and grow your start that way, with the top closed like a hinge. It's like a mini-greenhouse. Then you can open it up to transfer to an outdoor garden when it's warm enough outside.

Has anyone tried this? I'm really intrigued, but at the same time the idea of starting my plants in a plastic jug is slightly off-putting. Would a bunch of plastic leach into the soil, or am I overthinking this?
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#2 of 4 Old 01-20-2016, 04:28 PM
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That is a really good question about plastic and seedlings, though it's a pretty short exposure time for most plants, depending on species and region. What would be your other options?

Depending on the region, this could be great, but with drawbacks. In our area, light for seedlings is at a premium, so the mini-greenhouse would be great if you didn't have a full-size one. I would be watchful, though, for damping-off, which can be a problem in soggy regions (make sure all drainage is perfect). We would have to bring the pots back inside at night anyhow, because night temps are too low here.

Plus, the milk jugs would need to be clear, which is harder to find these days.

I have had great success in planting seeds straight in the ground and topping directly with a cut-off jug.

Anyway, it sounds like it's worth a try! Depending on what you start, when you start it and where you live and where you store the jugs at night (etc. etc. etc.) you could have great success.

I would not overthink the plastic (though, wow, yeah, I never thought about it).

Good luck! And do report back!

"She is a mermaid, but approach her with caution. Her mind swims at a depth most would drown in."
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#3 of 4 Old 01-20-2016, 07:08 PM
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I saw that idea last year and tried a slightly different version of it. We saved (clear) plastic juice bottles, cut off the bottoms, and placed over the seeds planted straight into the ground. This way I didn't have to fill jugs with potting soil or transplant later. On warm days I could take the lids off, or even the whole jar out of the ground and put it back for the nights we might get frost. Or if we had a hailstorm heading our way.

It worked fairly well; I was experimenting with how early we could plant using that method, trying to extend our growing season. The only problem was pulling the jugs out of the ground- they had to be carefully wiggled so as not to pull up all the packed dirt around the edges.

I didn't worry about the plastic in the soil all that much, as they were only about an inch into it and just for a few weeks.
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#4 of 4 Old 03-11-2016, 03:29 PM
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I haven't used milk jugs before but I haven't ever had issues using egg cartons
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