1st milk jug constructive comments please

mickiNovember 20, 2011

I've completed my first milk jug.

Please comment on

1 Hole size as illustrated by first picture

2 drainage

3 prper hinge

4 soil depth

5 side and top holes

6 holes for pipe cleaners

7 depth of bottom section

If you run your cursor over picture it will describe the picture.

Basically just metnion anything I should improve on. If its fine thats all you have to say, I didn't mean comment on aeverything, just look for anything I can improve on. If this is good I'll make more like it.

I live in zone 6,

Western PA

TY so much,

Having fun,


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kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)

Looks good except for soil depth- shoot for at least 3" of soil.


    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 1:31PM
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Will do,
Thank You Karen
I also have a more gritty mix on the bottom layer of soil and a finer mix on top.
Don't know if you saw the Almond containers I was trying to make containers out of but the plastic is so thick it is harder to work with.
Will stick with the milk jugs for now. Does it matter if they are white or clear? Thought clear might be better.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 2:20PM
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If they are opaque enough to see your fingers/hand thru, then they are fine.


    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 2:42PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Clear is better, and that goes for tops too. I'm not sure, was it your almond containers that had the solid light blocking tops? (OT - Often those are treated by cutting the center out of the tops, putting plastic over the container, using the 'ring' left from the original lid to secure.) That's one more step I dont wanna do ;)

If your containers are tinted or solid white like some milk jugs, can you put a hand or finger in and still see it or its outline through the plastic...if you cannot, too much light is blocked for healthy seedlings.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 2:47PM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

You don't have to mess with different textures of mix, regular potting mix works just as it is. Also, I like to dampen my mix before adding it to the jugs as once it is wet it reduces in depth quite a bit. Or you could just add more mix before adding water so that it will still be 3-4" in depth once wet.

For labeling the jug I use paint pens as many permanent markers fade away from the sunlight. Is that a regular pen in the photo?

Everything else looks good.

If you use 2-3L soda bottles the green ones work as well as the clear ones.

Sounds like you are having fun already!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 11:14PM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

I don't use pipe cleaners but I think you only need to have one hole in the center area, top & bottom, to close the top.

Hope someone else comments on that. If you do many containers you will be glad not to have any extra holes to make or extra pipe cleaners to close.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 11:19PM
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bakemom_gw(z6 Central Ohio)

more soil
i just slap a piece of duct tape to hold the lid on.
keep it simple.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 7:07AM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

I also don't think it's worth your time to make all the extra holes in the top. I don't know of anyone else who does that in any zone, and most people have excellent success. Just trying to save you some time and arthritis in your wrists and fingers. Hope you're having fun.


    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 4:02PM
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TY for all your comments. I've all but given up on the Almond containers for now and will keep the milk jugs a bit more simple. I'm still seperating seed from chaff.

Question: Is there a problem with using foil baking pans with clear plastic lids? I found large roating pans with clear lids at dollar general for $2.50. It was easy to make holes through two complete sets at once.

Another variation I've considered is using other roating pans with plexiglass on top with holes in plexigalss. How do these ideas sound?
Yes my soil really ahrunk when I got it wet.

Is there anyway I could use the Almond containers directly over the soil? Could I press it down on the ground with good soil on the ground and make holes in the container? Would there still be the greenhouse effect?

I am working on the milk jugs but won't have 25 done this yr but have a lot of seeds. Any other suggestions with all those seeds? As in getting more planted in larger containers?

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 1:28AM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

The roasting pans will work fine. They are a bit shallow, so plan on getting the sprouts planted out early, if possible. Try wandering around a neighborhood on garbage day. You can find tons of milk jugs in the recycling bins. Even if they're crushed, a bit of warm water restores them to like-new condition. Some people even go directly to the recycle center. Or let friends/family/work/church know you want milk jugs. You'll find more if you put your mind to it. It also gives you a chance to talk about your new addiction and spread the word about how great winter sowing is.

I also use the plastic jugs that cat litter is sold in. They're very sturdy and tall, and I've used several for multiple years.


    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 6:54AM
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I know the cat liter containers you are talking about. Aren't they a solid white bucket? I have several buckets that are similar and have run into plexi-glass that I am cutting for other contaienrs. I've taken some pictures here.
Yes, I thought about the shallowness of the containers.
If you run cursor over pic a description should show up.
Noticed a problem with 2nd pic. The demensions are 20 by 5 1/2", the format got lost in the copy.
I also have roasters that have higher tops.
I also thought I could prop the lid up at an angle after awhile to vent air and provide height if needed.

I'll keep looking for milk jugs, no problem for me to walk around during recycling day. I would have collected more but thought the Almond containers would have been perfect.
Even if I invert the Almond contaierns there is alot of work and the milk jug plastic is very easy to work with.
Thanks Martha,
What do you think about these, anyone?


    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 7:34AM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

Those look good. You can use plastic wrap or plastic bags instead of plexi-glass to keep costs down.

While many like to use the al cake/lasagna pans I do not as find they bend when picking them up to move around. So be careful when they are filled with mix and seeds and seedlings.

You can still use the almond jars. Either cut out the center of the lids and place plastic wrap/plastic over top and then place cut lid back on to hold plastic or use string or something else to hold plastic on or a plastic bag over top instead and throw the lid away. Be sure to put holes in the plastic for moisture and air. When you are ready to plant out you can use a spoon to dig out seedlings or cut the top off of the almond jar.

I don't use hard plastic containers as they are harder to cut and when preparing hundreds of containers I want an easier way. My favorite containers are milk jugs and 2L/3L pop bottles because they are so easy to cut. I use a utility knife to start a slit then finish with my B & D electric cutter. Holes are punched in with an awl. Both very quick and easy.

I also use those clear plastic salad boxes with holes in tops and bottoms to hold the styrofoam cups which I use for morning glories and others that I want only one or two seedlings. Others may use them as flats for mass seeding.

No info shows up when I run my cursor over the photos.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 1:05PM
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nan-6161(Zone 7 Long Island, NY)

I have very deep aluminum lasanga pans with high clear dome tops that I have used successfully for years (at least 4)They are from Walmart and at the time cost 2.50 or so for a set of 2 bottoms and tops.

I still like the milk jugs best - I think it is the handle! I invested in a Black and Decker electric scissor for cutting the jug open a few years ago, got over my fear of electric drills in order to drill the drainage holes and now can prep a jug very quickly.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 10:24PM
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Micki, You don't have to have all your containers now. You can keep collecting and prepping as you go.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 10:59PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

suggest you browse the faq. Lots of hints & ideas there. Check this for recycling containers.

Here is a link that might be useful: recycling containers

    Bookmark   November 24, 2011 at 2:35PM
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Thanks to Karen, PV, Bakemom, Morz, Martha (Docmom) Mnwsgal, Nan, Mevalena and Jean for all of your help and suggestions.

I thought I read most everything but found your link (Jean) to be most helpful especially the FAQ's by Trudi_d. Trudi has really been able to clearup specific problems and how to have more success.

I will continue making containers as long as I can.
I will try not to ask questions that can be found on the FAQ's page.

I think I'm definately making too many holes.

Happy Thanksgiving,

    Bookmark   November 24, 2011 at 3:36PM
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