Winter Seed Sowing

I just returned from a Caribbean cruise, and oh what fun!  But play time is over and I’m back in the cold and snow.  Went to the post office to collect my mail and there were no less than fifteen seed catalogs waiting for me among the junk mail.  I spent a pleasant afternoon perusing the catalogs for ideas for spring planting.

Thinking about spring planting, made me remember the article I wrote several months ago about milk jug mini-greenhouses and I realized that January is the perfect time to start planting those perennials that I want to put out into the yard in June after the last frost date.

Here’s a recap of how to prepare your milk jugs and get your milk jug mini-greenhouse started now.  Take clean empty milk jugs and punch several holes in the bottom for drainage.

  1. Cut them almost in half just below the handle, leaving a section under the handle for a hinge.
  2. Add about 2-3 inches good quality potting soil in the bottom of the jug. Add some perlite if the soil drains slow.
  3. Plant your seeds on the surface and leave them regardless of what the package says.
  4. Use a permanent marker to write the name of the seed, how many sown, and the date you sowed them. It’s a good idea to put this information on the inside on a tongue depressor or plant marker, too.
  5. Close the jug’s hinged cover and secure it in place with duct or waterproof packing tape. I like to tape all the way around, but you can do 2-3 pieces also.
  6. Remove the cap and place outside in a sunny location (yes, in the snow and cold). Place close together to avoid the wind blowing them over or put in a raised bed.

Good perennials to plant in jugs are Echinacea (coneflower), Black Eyed Susan, Hardy Geranium, Milkweed, False Indigo, German Stacice, Catmint, Virginia Bluebells, Evening Primrose, Phlox, Chinese Lantern.

For pictures and more details, see my friend Kevin Lee Jacobs blog at