Monday, February 25, 2013

A Gentle Reminder: Are You Saving Your Milk Jugs Yet?


We got about three or four inches of snow at our house yesterday, but I'm telling you, I feel spring in the air. I can't explain why or how I've come to this conclusion, but I just can tell that it's around the corner. Punxsutawney Phil has my back on this.

This is the time of year when I start planning my garden and ordering seeds. The idea of ordering seeds makes me a little giddy (this is my favorite place online to order seeds) -- I love flipping through catalogs, checking out all the different varieties, consulting my Western Garden Book to make sure what I like grows in my area, and planning out where I'll put them in my garden. (insert sigh of contentment here)

And as if that wasn't exciting enough, I'm gearing up to start my tender crop seeds again with the help of empty milk jugs. That's where the gentle reminder mentioned in the title comes into play:  are you saving your milk jugs? If not, you still have time! Once you finish a gallon of milk (or, as it goes at my house, a gallon of vinegar), rinse it out, remove the cap (more on that in a bit), and set it aside (though you could start some of your seeds right now, depending on what you're growing and where you live).

Are you reading all of this and thinking, "What on earth is she talking about?"  Basically, with a tiny bit of alteration (emphasis on tiny), you can turn an empty gallon-sized jug into a mini-greenhouse. This allows you to start your seeds outdoors with minimal effort. No need for special lighting or seed-starting kits or finding the space in your house for a seed-starting operation. Besides actually planting a seed directly into your garden, this is as easy as seed starting gets!

Want to learn more? You can read the a couple posts I wrote last year about my experience with mini-greenhouses:  "In the Backyard: My Milk Jug Mini-Greenhouses" and "How Empty Milk Jugs Changed My Garden".

I must give credit where it is due -- I first learned about this seed starting technique (called winter-sowing) from the blog, A Garden for the House. It's a lovely blog, full of great ideas. (Plus he seems like such a nice guy. I want to tour his mid-1800s house, chat with him about gardening, and enjoy his charlotte almondine.) You can find all of his winter-sowing posts here.  I highly recommend it.

One last thing about saving milk jugs: if you have kids, save the milk caps!

Not too long ago, I saw this idea on Pinterest, about creating a simple activity with an empty wipes container and milk caps. I'll admit, I was a little skeptical at first since some of the other baby activities I've seen on Pinterest and tried with my little guy have entertained him for like 5-10 minutes, tops (it's bad news when even a baby thinks it's boring). Seeing as I had a bunch of milk caps and an empty wipe container, I thought I'd give it a try.  Guess what? He loved it. I was amazed how long it kept him entertained. Toys made out of stuff I'd normally throw away or recycle? Love it!  (For some more great ideas of ways to use milk caps with kids, look here. Who knew?)

So start saving those milk jugs (and caps!).  Start your own seeds easily. I can't think of a nicer way to usher in spring. It'll be here before you know it. Trust me on this.

Note: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have disclosed.

{This post is linked up to Your Green Resource, Simple Lives ThursdayLittle House Fridayand Homestead Barn Hop.}

5 comments:

imagrandma2five said...

I am so eager to try this. I have been saving jugs, have my seeds and even my potting soil. Now just waiting for the right time to get things started! I am tapping trees this week for maple syrup. Love this time of year!

Heather said...

May I just say how jealous I am that you're tapping for syrup?!? How cool is that?

Taylor-Made Ranch said...

Last year I saved milk jugs & filled with water, surrounding my newly-planted seedlings. It blocked the spring winds that usually knocks them down in no time flat, and the jugs held the heat when the sun went down "just in case" it got just a little too chilly for the tender seedlings. Right now I'm planting my seeds in my "indoor greenhouse". It's pacifying my need to get my hands in the dirt. LOL Thanks for sharing this post. (visiting from Homestead Barn Hop)

~Taylor-Made Ranch~
Wolfe City, Texas
www.taylormaderanch.com/blog

Amy Kampstra said...

I cannot wait to try this! I've been telling all of my family and friends about this idea. My basement is full of vinegar jugs, ready to be planted. I apologize if I seem overly excited, but I'm so sick of my husband filling our tiny house and any empty window spaces with seedlings in the late winter and spring. I think that this will save my sanity this year, hs! Thanks again!

Heather said...

@Taylor-Made Rance -- I LOVE the idea of using the milk jugs after you've planted seedlings! Thanks for the tip!

@Amy - No need to apologize for getting excited -- I felt the same way when I first found out about this method, too! :)

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