1. The Light-Duty Mini-Greenhouse
Using a milk jug, make one cut, leaving a hinge,
along with some holes in the bottom for drainage... add soil, and you're ready to plant!
Another optional layer is to put them inside a huge ziploc. I did this because it's not very friendly out there, with snow still coming from time to time. If you don't have giant ziplocs, you can just use masking tape to seal the crack to keep cold air out. The lids can be left on when it's really cold and then removed for ventilation on sunny days. You can also punch holes to twist-tie the mini-greenhouse shut (instead of masking tape). These can be planted with seeds at any time in the winter or early spring, set out on your porch, and the seeds will germinate when the conditions are right.
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2. Stepping it Up: The Commercial Duty Mini-Greenhouse
Huge commercial-duty jugs, 5 gallon:
With one cut and some holes in the bottom, you have an instant mini-greenhouse.
Soil, seeds, and water (the world's greatest combo)
The whole thing inside a gargantuan ziploc, for double protection from the elements
And there you have it: ready to go outside!
(I still bring it in at night sometimes, just to baby these sprouts along a bit)
~ AROUND ONE MONTH LATER ~
(planted March 4; updated April 8)
This mini-greenhouse has been transitioned full-time to the outdoors.
The greens seem to be doing quite well, and the large bag around the whole
thing also protects the tender greens from being devoured by chipmunks.
(The chipmunks even ate my potted garlic on the deck, so they are not picky!)
I had my first nibbles today. Mmmm!
If you live in the North Okanogan of WA State or the South Okanagan of BC and want to try a commercial-duty mini greenhouse, you can get the jugs for free from Alpine Brewing in Oroville, WA. The jugs must be thoroughly rinsed out before being used for this purpose, and power tools are preferable for making the cut and drilling the drainage holes. They are very sturdy; I have some in their 3rd year of use, and they are still going strong.
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3. An Upside-Down Table Makes an Even Bigger Mini-Greenhouse
Can you see the table legs showing through the plastic? Go to antique and thrift shops and ask if they have any really junky tables they want out of their hair. I got this one for free that way (don't forget to smile and explain what you are doing, too). You can see the carefully engineered design, I mean... It's a clear plastic "contractor" size bag, with the upside-down table inside it. That leaves only one seam to close -- at the top. Clothes pins do nicely. Presto!
You can see that it's positioned against the house, on the deck, and of course it is on the south end of the house, in the most sheltered yet sunny spot we have.
Inside are two pots. I decided not to put the soil directly on the wood... it will last much longer this way. I added some styrofoam panels for extra insulation at the base.
These sprout photos were taken just today. Good morning, lettuces!
Good morning, radish!
Life inside an upside-down table greenhouse seems to agree with the radishes and lettuces.
Thank you, Kezia Wills, for those three words... that was all you had to say:
"Upside-down-table." I think yours involved a shade cloth in summer maybe... remind me! How do you like the contractor bag approach?
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What are your favorite ways to coax spring growth?