Mother Earth Living

Cold Frame for Herbs: Make Milk Jug Seed Starters

By Barbara Pleasant
October/November 2011
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Illustration by Elayne Sears


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You can use this method to start seeds in late winter without indoor lights or a cold frame.

1. Cut a gallon milk jug (or other large plastic container) in half horizontally, leaving one edge intact to use as a hinge. Discard the cap.

2. Punch several drainage holes in the bottom.

3. Fill the bottom with 3 inches of potting soil, moisten well and plant your seeds.

4. Fold down the top cover, and secure the cut seam with duct tape. Enclose the planted jug in a large clear or opaque plastic bag (such as a produce bag), held together at the top with a twist tie.

5. Place in a sunny, protected spot outdoors.

6. One week before transplanting, harden off seedlings by removing the bag and tape, and propping the jug open with clothespins.


Barbara Pleasant has been researching and writing about organic gardening for more than 25 years. Purchase her book Starter Vegetable Gardens (Storey Publishing, 2010).   

Click here for the main article, Make a Cold Frame for Herbs.








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