Attractive winter sowing containers?

olivesmom(7b)January 17, 2013

I want to get started winter sowing, and I have a lot of milk jugs to use already but my husband will think I've lost it if I cover up our back patio with junky looking containers. Or small backyard and patio is very visible from our living and dining areas and we have over a dozen neighbors who can see into our backyard. I'd like to keep this project somewhat nice looking if possible while being fairly economical at the same time.

Do you think I could do the milk jug method and then place a bunch of the jugs into a clear storage tote (ventilated and with drainage holes)? I have a lot to sow, over 120 squares in my square foot garden so I'm going to need lots and lots of containers. Any other ideas or suggestions as to how to winter sow in an attractive manner? Thanks!

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Just remind everyone that come summer they will appreciate what the milk jugs did to your yard and they EVERYONE will enjoy the beauty! Actually I don't see anything ugly with the milk jugs all lined up in a nice arrangement. Beats going out and dropping couple thousand on plants each summer! Thats what my neighbors do. They actually have the yards done for them. How boring!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 4:46PM
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The milk jug method is really the easiest and you can fit more seeds in the area. I put mine in milk crates so I can move them around the yard especially when the sun gets higher in the sky. You can buy pretty color milk crates at one of the box stores !! I agree with Mary-max. Ignore the husband and just plant !!! That's what I do. Get other people involved and soon he will realize this is a good thing.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 5:05PM
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Matthew Condon - Indiana.Matt - IN, Zone 5/6(Indiana Zone 5/6)

I like to use clear, 2 liter bottles. They don't stand out quite as much as the milk jugs. The newer Coka Cola bottles with the curved shape are difficult with work with. I like to get the ones that have straight sides.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2013 at 8:47PM
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caryltoo Z7/SE PA

My husband's not crazy about the look of the jugs, either, but he stopped complaining when he saw the results. Do the math for him -- depending on what you're growing you could be saving anywhere from $4-10 per plant, or more. That's math most men like.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 6:23AM
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kiskin (5/6 in EU)(5/6 in EU)

You could put them in milk crates and spray paint the crates to match the colour of your house or fence or foundation, etc.
Or you could use those white translucent storage boxes and fill them with different smaller containers, like styrofoam cups, plastic plant pots or the lower halves of 2L bottles and milk jugs. The neat rows of identical plastic storage boxes are much less of an eye sore, at least until the snow melts :)

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 6:28AM
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There are several WSers in HOA communities and must follow their restrictions. The seeds don't know what they are sown into--get some nice patio planters and sow in them. Uniformity is very appealing so choose a container that looks nice for the property and get several of them--they have the benefit of being both attractive and reusable for several years. You can cover the top with clear vinyl which you've punched several vent holes in, cut it large enough that it will sufficiently overhang the rim and hold it in place with bungee cords.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 6:30PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

I've seen someone mention using paint bucket liners as a cover for larger containers. They are something like an overgrown shower cap with elastic around the opening. Something like that would fit over a large ceramic planter. I think they can be found at most hardware big box stores. I hate to think of anyone dragging large containers full of potting mix over icey sidewalks or decks. Please be careful, whatever you decide to do.


    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 9:14AM
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I wonder if those re-usable plastic-elastic salad bowl covers with some holes punched in them would work over a planter pot?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 1:07PM
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A long time ago, I also struggled with how to keep jugs tidy and attractive on the deck. I went "vertical" - - shelving units from yard sales, discount stores, etc. I've never gone back (even though I no longer have them on the deck, but have created a whole WS holding area in an unobtrustive part of the yard). You can hold so many more jugs in the same "footprint" by using vertical space. The rain/sun/drainage distribution has never been an issue - - everything germinates just fine. Something to consider....

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 8:45AM
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I have come to really like using large yogurt containers and the clear deli containers. With the yogurt ones you could spray paint the sides to make them more uniform looking. With the deli containers they are already clear and therefore fairly innocuous looking to me. If they were then arranged in totes or crates and arranged uniformly, I dont see why it would be an eyesore.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 12:52PM
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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

If you have time to spare, you could 'podge' attractive colourful cutouts from seed catalogues, old seed packets, etc. on the containers, up to earth depth, allowing light to come in. That would provide good camouflage and a few coats of that stuff would waterproof them...but that's a lot of work and won't work for immediate use. I had my neighour make me few crates (2X2's and lattice), I put my containers in them and they look quite tidy on my deck. The wood matches that of the deck and they tend to blend in.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 4:37AM
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