Winter Sowing in Milk Jugs

I am a few days late this year starting my winter sowing.  Usually I try to put out the tomato seed containers on the first day of March.  Here’s the intended schedule:

  • March 1–Sow seeds and set containers outside
  • April 1–Seeds usually show germination
  • April 30–Transplant into individual containers
  • May 14–Ready to put into the ground (or sell at market)

I don’t think it will matter, though, because the seeds will germinate when the weather warms up even if they were put out in the middle of March.  So here is how to prepare the gallon milk jugs shown in the earlier post:

They have already been washed out and cut around the middle, leaving an uncut space just under the handle to act as a hinge.  Now it’s time to drill holes in the bottom.  Using the kind of handheld drill that will grasp a nail, I made several holes in the bottom of the jug.  For stabilization, and to make sure I didn’t accidentally slip and damage the counter, I put the inverted jug over the open mouth of another container:

Drilling holes in jug bottom

Invert Jug Bottom Over Mouth of Another Container

You can use whatever method you choose to make drainage holes in the bottom.  Then flip the jug over so that it is right side up, and put in about 4″ of moist potting mix.   Sow the seeds according to the package instructions.  Label the container with a paint pen (permanent markers fade).

Jug Bottom with Seeds Sown

Jug Bottom with Seeds Sown

Punch two holes on the front corner (directly opposite the handle), one on the top section and one on the bottom section, near the cut edges.  Insert a twist tie and use it to tie the jug closed.

Twist Tie Threaded Through Holes in Top and Bottom

Twist Tie Threaded Through Holes in Top and Bottom

Now wrap packing tape around the entire cut edge to seal it.  Throw away the cap (you don’t need it) and put it outside–no matter how cold the temps are!  Snowing?  No problem!  The seeds will germinate eventually in their little “greenhouse”–when the weather warms in the spring.


About Nana's House and Garden

I am a retired baby boomer who was born and raised in New Jersey. Had a lovely, happy childhood in a surburb that was similar to what you would see in "Peanuts." Went with family EVERY YEAR to the Jersey Shore and believe me the people in that TV show..and in the Sopranos...are NOT representative of most NJ residents. Married a widower with three boys and then had two daughters. All are now grown, and I have several step-grandchildren and one biological grandson. I worked out of my home doing medical transcription while my daughters were growing up. Now that my husband is retired, I quit the part time transcription business to stay home and keep him company. One of our daughters is still living with us and we enjoy her company, also. I have started a sideline business with my college classmate. We discovered that we each had once had an elderly relative who was called "Nana" so we decided to name the business "Nana's House and Garden." We sell items on eBay that are related to home, gardening and crafts. This blog and our website "" will be companions to our eBay store. We hope they will be informative and entertaining.
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