Sunday, March 20, 2016

Milk Jug Greenhouses

During the winter, I read about "milk jug greenhouses" that some gardeners use to start seeds, especially greens.  Cool-weather-loving vegetables and flowers can be started in these milk jugs and the jugs placed outside in a sunny spot as early as March or April.

I decided to experiment with milk jug greenhouses this year, and planted some Lacinato kale seeds on March 16th.  I left the jug in our plant room and figured I could let the seedlings get a good start and then put the jug outside around the 1st of April.

To my surprise, when I checked the jug today, I saw that almost all the kale seed had germinated and broken the surface of the soil. That's fast!  It often takes ~2 weeks for them to germinate when I direct-sow outside.  This afternoon, I cut up another jug and planted pansy seeds.

Kale and pansy seed in my mini greenhouses

Kale - click to enlarge picture

The leeks are coming along well, and most of the Ping Tung seeds I planted (a week and a half ago?  I forgot to note the date) have germinated.  Against my better judgement, I started some sweet bell pepper seeds a few days ago.  For some reason, we never seem to have great luck growing sweet peppers, even when we buy transplants from the nursery.  I should know by now not to swear that I won't waste my time and energy starting mediocre producers and space-hoggers from seed, as it's a sure way to guarantee that is exactly what I'll end up doing the following summer.

Last week, I connected online with a girl who used to have a practice at my workplace.  She, her husband, and little boys live on a farm 5 minutes outside of town.  They are moving in two months and have a freezer full of meat, including organic, free-range chickens.  I bought two of those (8-10 lbs each) for $40.  A very reasonable price!