Wintersowing Tips-Preparing Milk Jugs




Introduction: Wintersowing Tips-Preparing Milk Jugs

The following is a technique relating to Wintersowing.

For those of you who haven’t heard of it, Wintersowing is a method of starting seeds for your garden.
No need for complicated light setups or heat mats or any of the bother that starting seeds indoors using traditional methods is usually associated with.
No need to buy expensive seed starting flats.

You simply sow your seed in easily prepared, "found", recycled containers and set them out in the yard in the dead of winter.
They freeze, they thaw, get snowed and rained on and, come Spring, grow.
Sounds crazy but it works. Just like it does in nature.  

See or the Wintersowing forums at for details on what types of seeds can be sown in this way. 

This post deals with preparing the most popular container.

The Gallon Milk Jug

Step 1: Supplies

You will need some or all of the following:

- Clean, empty gallon containers
- Scissors
- A knife (paring, utility, etc.) to make a starting hole for the scissors.
- A cheap soldering iron to create drainage holes in the bottom of the container

The soldering iron is not strictly neccesary but makes for easy work if you have one.

You could simply cut some slits with the knife.

Step 2: Making Drainage Holes

Your container will need to have drainage holes so it wil not become waterlogged.

The soldering iron will make this very easy.

If you don't care for the smell you can do this step outdoors or place a fan in an open window and vent the smell outside. 

Some creative people have found that doing this over the stove with the exaust fan on is also helpful.

If you don't have a soldering iron or are uncomfortable with using one you can simply use a knife to cut some slits in the bottom.

Step 3: Cutting the Jug

For this step you will need:

- A Sharpie or other marker
- Some object that is roughly the same height as the distance to the bottom of the containers handle.

In this case I had an appropriatly sized vitamin bottle.

Be creative and use what you have on hand.

Using your "object" rotate the container around making a guide line.

Using your knife make a small starting cut on the line.

Cut along the line leaving an inch or so just under the handle to act as a "hinge".

You can simply freehand this cut but having a guide line is neater. 

A neat, clean cut makes later steps a little easier.

Step 4: The Finished Product

Your jug is now ready to receive soil and seed.

Again, see or the Wintersowing forums at for details on what types of seeds can be sown in this way. 

Once you have sown seed in the jug you seal it up. You can use duct tape or twist ties but my favorite method is detailed in another Instructable I have posted here.

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    7 years ago on Introduction

    Clever idea with the vitamin jar & the Sharpie!

    Good for us OCD types especially. LOL

    Another idea for making holes in the bottom - I have an old (cheap!) barbecue fork that is dedicated to burning holes in plastic cups & containers. I hold it over the gas flame on my stove until it is hot (it doesn't have to be glowing orange to be hot enough to poke a couple of holes). It's a little more tedious than using a soldering iron but it's what I've got. Smells just as much though, so use a fan or open a window.

    I always put a plain coffee filter in the bottom of my pots/containers to prevent soil from gradually washing out of the holes. Place the coffee filter in the pot or container; dampen it a little and it will conform to the shape of your container. If you are making more than one you can get an assembly line going. Cut your jug; poke the holes; put your coffee filter in; dampen it and then add potting soil.

    Thanks for the Instructable!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Is there a purpose to sewing the seed in the container rather than in the ground with a cloche over it?