Gardening tip – The Versatile Milk Jug

One of the most versatile garden tools in my garden and yard is the plastic milk jug!

I start saving them in late fall. Rinse them out very well and leave the caps off to make sure they are dry and clean. There is no worse smell than sour milk. Put the caps in a separate container and run a string through the handles of the jugs to keep them in some sort of order. Tie a knot in the end of the string and hang the milk jugs up until you need them.

When it’s time to start seeds cut the bottom out of a milk jug about 3 inches up. If you poke holes in the plastic container for draining you can use this for a seed starter. The top of the jug I cut into strips and can use later for plant markers.

I also use the tops of the milk jugs for small mini greenhouses for my seedlings once I set them out. Peppers and tomatoes do not like cold winds so until I feel the nights are warm and the plants have adapted to their new home I cover them. To make sure the jug does not blow off run a string through the milk jug handle and attach to a stake put into the ground: your jug will not blow away.

If you fill a milk jug with water and cap it you can set these into cold frames to keep them warmer in the fall and spring. It’s amazing the heat these jugs will give off and if the sun is out during the day the water retains heat and will again warm your cold frame.

I have used several of these around tomato plants and pepper plants if I get one of those later cold snaps after I set my plants out. Tomatoes and peppers have a very low tolerance for cold nights. They may not show sign of damage but their growth will be slowed down and their blossoming or crop size may be affected later in the season.

I also like warm water for many of my plants so I will fill milk jugs and place in my vegetable garden in the morning and let the sun warm the water. In the later afternoon I will water the plants.

One last use I have for milk jugs is a slow watering method. Some plants benefit more from a slow drip watering. It enters the ground and soak in deeply instead of running off. I will punch holes near the bottom set by the plants and fill with water, It takes a few hours for the water to be released so it all soaks into the ground right to the roots of the plant. One suggestion I will make is to mark these jugs well and keep separate from the others; otherwise you will end up with a wet leg.

I get several years use out of the milk jugs.

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