How to Plant Seeds in Milk Jugs During Winter


Instead of cluttering up the landfill with more and more plastic milk jugs, why not be green and employ them as planters for tiny seedlings? Gallon milk jugs are the ideal size, lightweight and, best of all, an efficient and inexpensive way to get garden plants or flowers off to a good start. Save the tops of the jugs to use as miniature greenhouses to keep the seedlings warm on their first few days outdoors.

Step 1

Insert a sharp paring knife or a craft knife about 3 inches from the bottom of the plastic milk jug and cut around it, removing the bottom. Draw a cutting line with a marker if it helps. Set the top aside and wash the bottom of the jug with hot, soapy water.

Step 2

Poke a few small holes in the bottom of the plastic milk jug and fill it about 2/3 of the way with commercial potting soil. Plant the seeds in the soil as directed on the seed packet. If more than one type of seed is being planted, a separate milk jug for each type is better, and label the jug accordingly.

Step 3

Mist the soil lightly with a spray bottle and put the plastic milk jug in a warm, sunny place. Mist the soil whenever it gets dry. Most seeds can take a few days to a month to germinate. If you used a clear plastic milk jug, the roots should be visible in the bottom of the jug.

Step 4

Remove the seedlings carefully and plant them outdoors when they're 3 to 4 inches tall. If the weather is chilly and the nights are still freezing, wait until the weather warms.

Step 5

Protect the tiny seedlings for the first few nights, or on cool days, by putting the tops of the plastic milk jugs over them to act as miniature greenhouses. Some plants, especially tomatoes and peppers, will grow faster if they're kept warm.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic milk jugs
  • Craft knife or sharp paring knife
  • Permanent marker
  • Potting soil
  • Spray bottle


  • Gardening tip -- The Versatile Milk Jug
  • Use Milk Jugs as Mini-Greenhouses or as Plant Pots
Keywords: plastic milk jug, craft knife, potting soil

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.