Return to the Winter Sowing Forum | Post a Follow-Up

Can you sow it inside house in milk Jug?

Posted by jaggudada 5A (My Page) on
Mon, Mar 17, 14 at 16:57

To jump start the entire process by 3-4 weeks. Can you sow seeds in milk jugs like you would normally do except place jugs inside house as the temperature is warming up. Let's say if I start in Mid March, by 3rd or 4th week in March I might be able to place jugs outside during day time and bring them inside at night. Mid april or 3rd week of April, you might be able to leave them outside.

What I'm not sure about is, as soon as the seeds germinate they will need light and putting them outside,may shock them. It is that initial 1-2 weeks after they germinate to the time they get acclimated is what is crucial.

This process can be started towards the end of March, thatway by the time it is time to put jugs outside the weather will be warm enough.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Can you sow it inside house in milk Jug?

Winter sowing is suppose to be an easy way to start seeds. Your way sounds way to complicated. I guess you could do it as described, but not for me. You may as well just start your seeds inside without the milk jugs, if you ask me.

RE: Can you sow it inside house in milk Jug?

Your process would then be nothing more than starting seeds indoors, but instead of using seed starter trays you are using milk jugs.

The whole procedure would entail the gentle moving seeds outside and then inside and do it slowly so that your seedlings could acclimate to the outdoors.
That's a very tedious job, but you could not just put them outside all day and all night once they germinate and/or it warms up outside.

There advantages of WS is that you sow the seeds, put them outside and then mother nature takes over and does "her thing", germinating the seeds generally at the right time, unless she wants to throw a curve ball at us in terms of weather.

Weather will take care of moisture, watering, light, warmth all for you and all you do is wait for germination to take place and care for your "new babies".
Water them as needed, take the container covers off and on as needed, and end up with the healthiest plants that one could possibly have.

Your method is not WS, it is starting seeds indoors in the method that has been used over and over again, is tedious to do, requires lots and lots of space, but I don't see where you would gain any advantage in doing what you want to do, but sure do see a lot of extra time spent bringing the containers outside and inside slowly increasing the time outside to get the seedlings used to the new environment.

WS is so much easier and healthier for the plants. Those small seedlings quickly catch up to the indoor started plants, but those indoor ones will never be as healthy and strong as the WS ones.

Fran, who has been WS since 2003 and would never attempt to start seeds indoors ever again.

RE: Can you sow it inside house in milk Jug?

You guys have a point. The growing season is so short I thought you could jump ahead by few weeks. I also thought you would have a better germination rate inside than outside, as outside weather fluctuates so much.

RE: Can you sow it inside house in milk Jug?

I think the container does give the seedlings something of a jump start on the season. It concentrates the solar warmth during the day and might protect the seedlings a little at night.

If you really want to get a jump start on the season, there is no reason you can't start seedlings indoors under lights in February. Or buy big seedlings at the nursery in May that were grown in a greenhouse down south somewhere!

Although wsing is a lot easier and cheaper.

RE: Can you sow it inside house in milk Jug?

Jaggudada, gotta put my 2c worth in. I always get a jump start planting warm season plants in the containers indoors. You can easily gain a couple weeks or more head start that way. When they are up, I take the lids off and put them in a protected spot with morning & late afternoon sun on the end of my back porch. The plastic jugs serve as mini-greenhouses in cool temps. I keep an eye on the forecast & bring them indoors whenever the temp is expected to drop below 32 at night. Our days now are 50's and 70's. So far I have only had to bring them in twice and take them out the next morning. I've got some decent sized plants coming along.

I never follow hard fast rules when it comes to sowing, WS or indoors. I use the information on this forum that is applicable for my specific purpose & ignore the rest. For instance, I've read a lot about putting pots out because snow is expected or waiting to sow during the solstice & other general practices on this forum. Not saying its a bad thing but, we don't get much snow as a rule, so there you go.

I have always "winter sowed" my shrub & perennial seeds that need a period of cold in early fall.

Since we have mostly sunny days in winter, I grow other perennials on a big table by a large sunny window from seeds sown in fall. I am able do that successfully here, so I do.

If I'd winter sowed them, they wouldn't even be up yet. I have 4" pots of agastache, Gregg salvia, Texas lantana, Salvia regla, Rosemary, Turk's cap and a few other hardy perennials with good root systems ready to plant. Basically, I treat different seeds different ways for reasons.

I don't treat warm season seeds in the same way as those needing cold stratification. Spring sowing is not winter sowing by my definition.

We get can hot and dry here as early as late spring so a head start is always a good idea. You really cannot set down rules that apply to all people in all places, so if you need an early start, go ahead & sow them inside in a warm spot & take them out when they germinate if you think your weather will work with you. Mid 30's haven't hurt me a bit here & I'm way ahead of the game.

RE: Can you sow it inside house in milk Jug?


You're in zone 7, that may make a huge difference when it comes to putting jugs out when seedlings sprout. In 4/5, the weather is still cold at least until end of April.

When you says when they are up you take the lids off.

Does that mean as soon as the seeds sprout, you take the cap off (i.e. if you have sowed it in milk container), that means you plant seeds with closed cap. Is this correct?

Doesn't the baby seedlings get shock when you move them from inside to outside? at least for first few days before they get conditioned.

what is rule of thumb you follow for moving them inside. Even if the night time temperature is let's say 30 degrees, inside the jug it may be few degrees more. right? So technically you may not have to move them inside unless the night forecaste is going to be below 28 or 25 F? What do you think?

RE: Can you sow it inside house in milk Jug?

It doesn't make any difference about the zone. Plan it about 4 weeks before the time it typically warms up where you are. In zone 7 we can start earlier because spring comes earlier but its the same principle.

Assume for example, the seed pkt indicates 7 to 14 days WARM for germination. Thats 2 weeks you can gain in just getting them germinated indoors in a warm spot. When they are up, wait about a week or 10 days if its still cold and then put them outdoors in a bright spot with morning sun with the lids OFF.

if its forecast to stay above freezing, take them outdoors as soon as they germinate where they will get morning sun with the lids OFF.

Thats about a 4 week jumpstart which is what you asked about. NO. They do not suffer shock, you just get a 3 to 4 week head start in germination.

If the temperature threatens to drop below freezing, bring them in overnight and then take them back out the next day when it is above freezing.

There is no time gain waiting for your soil to warm up outside in the cold shade if the seeds don't need that for germination.

Just use common sense on the temps and lids. You don't want to steam the seedlings in too much sun nor do you want to freeze them. If its forecast to be warm, you can take the tops off and place in more sun.

RE: Can you sow it inside house in milk Jug?

Way too complicated. The joy of WS is in its simplicity. Just prepare the jugs in December, put them outside for the rain/snow/sleet/etc. to harden them off just as it would happen if in the ground. Then at exactly the right time, nature will help them sprout.

Also, with the WS method, you don't need to worry about hardening the seedlings off once they sprout.

RE: Can you sow it inside house in milk Jug?

The OP was asking if it was possible to get a jumpstart I don't see complicated here.

WS lacks versatility and is sometimes confusing in some regards from my perspective.

For instance, I would never consider winter sowing vegetable seed or any seed needing only a brief period of warm in damp soil to germinate but thats just my own reasoning. Frankly, it is beyond me why people do this & seems a bit over-kill, involving too much time collecting containers & sawing jugs in half and doing hole punch preparation in December no less. Thats complicated in my book but I don't like to meddle with how other people sow seeds.

To be more accurate, I actually just use recycled 4" pots or styrofoam cups, a baggie slipped on top with a corner cut out and zip, its done. I get them going much earlier this way.

I tried to keep it "simple" and "in line" here by describing what I do for a spring jump start by saying I am using a jug (which I actually would never mess with) for seeds commonly sown in spring. When someone says "jumpstart" I assume that this is what they have in mind since the time for winter sowing is over. Its now spring.

I hope this isn't upsetting to loyal followers of WSing. I do use the method, just not for everything.

This post was edited by TexasRanger10 on Mon, Mar 24, 14 at 2:07

RE: Can you sow it inside house in milk Jug?

I agree that each will interpret and experiment making winter sowing their own personal experience and am happy to encourage that.

Spring, ha! The calendar may say spring but it is still winter here in MN with daytime highs still below freezing, in the 20s, and the only ground I see is a tiny strip along the edge of the driveway. But tonight I wore my sneakers and not boots when I went to a meeting--the first time since November so spring is coming.

RE: Can you sow it inside house in milk Jug?

mnwsgal, yea, its been a doozy of a winter. I did notice on other threads people are saying they have seeds germinating and they go out to cover them if the temperature drops as it tends to do during early spring, especially this year.

Wasn't someone just speaking of mother nature and seeds germinating at just the right time?

I fail to see any difference in the level of complication of procedures in running out to cover jugs or bringing them indoors or into a garage for protection on a cold night if the temp drops. Either way would work & it depends on how cold what I would do.

As far as I can see, sowing seeds in a jug is actually a somewhat artificial way to sow since the plastic is serving as a kind of little greenhouse no matter when its done.

Sometimes I like to live dangerously & experiment, and even think that every now and then its OK to bend or even break a rule, especially if I have a certain goal in mind.

This post was edited by TexasRanger10 on Wed, Mar 26, 14 at 23:53

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Winter Sowing Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here