DIY Plastic Containers And Plastic Bag Greenhouses
Over the last few weeks, we’ve begun germinating our vegetables. We’re in a bit of a tough growing zone (zone 4B/5A) so we figured that starting our seedlings indoors was the best way to set them up for success. From what we’ve heard from our neighbors, growing out here can be difficult because of the short growing season so we’re taking [nearly] every precaution possible. The only thing we haven’t done (yet) is getting a proper greenhouse. We do plan on investing in one eventually but that’ll likely be something we get to next growing season.
If you follow me on Instagram, then you likely saw our mash-up of seedling trays and planters. We did invest in one proper seedling tray, but we really wanted to make the most of the plastics we already had around the house. It’s really so unfortunate that much of what gets recycled actually ends up in landfills and while us reusing these plastics may be a drop in the bucket in terms of environmental impact, we still wanted to use and make the most of them.
Plastic Containers And Plastic Bag Greenhouses
Making your own DIY Plastic Bottle Greenhouse is super easy, and you really can use any clear plastic you have around the house. We’ve used salad containers, cat-treat containers, milk jugs, juice bottles, and water bottles. Here are a few tips on how to use these plastic containers as DIY Greenhouses:
Plastic bottles/Milk jugs: Simply cut your plastic containers in half and you’ll have two ready-to-use greenhouse lids. You can also use the bottom for the planter base where you put your soil and seed, and then place the top of the bottle over top to create a greenhouse effect – this is what we did with the milk jugs and cat treat container. For the juice/water bottles, we tended to use each side with a ceramic planter base so the seed and soil were in the planter and the bottle went on top of where the seed was planted.
Plastic Containers (like salad containers): Larger square or rectangle plastic containers with lids are also excellent mini-greenhouses. They are especially great because you can maximize space and fit a few seeds in each container. For these ones, I simply added a few drain holes to the bottom so that water could easily drain out and I set them on top of an old cooking tray so that the drain water remained contained.
Plastic Bags: If you have used plastic bags that you don’t want to use for your food anymore, use them as a mini-greenhouse instead! We save our plastic bags and will often re-use them for leftovers and to leftover hold seeds, but we now also use them as mini-greenhouses and they work so well! In fact, out of all the plastic containers we’ve used, the plastic bags and bottles have seemed to be the most successful. The nice thing about plastic bags is that you can actually use their seal-top to close tightly around the container.
Plastic Wrap: The last reusable plastic we tried out was plastic wrap. We don’t use plastic wrap very often, but when we do we try to save it so we can reuse it for other things. Since we are trying to grow quite a bit this year, we had a number of containers that didn’t have mini-greenhouses originally when we first planted them.
I noticed that they weren’t thriving as well as the ones with greenhouses (I know, duh right?) and so I decided to use some of our leftover plastic wrap, as well as some new plastic wrap, to cover these plants. This is no exaggeration: within two days of putting the plastic wrap over the top of our pots, we had four [previously struggling] sunflower seeds sprout!
It’s not pretty, but who cares?
I know, the plastic bags, containers, jugs, and wraps do not look great. They look quite messy. But, they are a great way to help your seeds sprout, and it is a great way to reuse the plastics you have around your house. As I mentioned earlier, so many plastics end up in landfills and this is a great way to give them a new life and use.
Plus, this part of the growing process is very temporary. You will only have these not-so-pretty-looking greenhouses in your home for a few weeks before they can be planted outside. As you can tell, we don’t really mind that they don’t look great for a few weeks and we don’t even buy nice labels – hello, leftovers painters tape!
We would much rather re-use what we have in our home and save our money to spend on more necessary items for the outdoor garden, such as the fencing we need to put up, garden tools, and oyas (some may not consider these “necessary” for a new gardener, but we do because we will need to come and go from our homestead for the first while). Maybe next year, since the brunt of the garden work and costs will already be behind us, we can then focus on improving the smaller parts of the growing process.
It’s an affordable way to get started.
If you really dislike the look of these plastic containers then you can definitely buy proper seedling trays. We have one seedling tray and it’s working great, and we hope to get more in the future. The issue with getting all new seedling trays when you’re first getting started with your garden is the cost.
Depending on how much you plan to grow and plant, you may need many seedling trays and it can add up, especially when you add it into all the other costs you may incur with starting your new garden-like deer fencing and fence poles, dirt, fertilizer, gardening tools, and so on.
Can you use any plastic container to create a mini-greenhouse for germination?
Pretty much! You can really use any plastic container to create greenhouse lids or greenhouses. You will just want to avoid any containers that previously held any harsh chemicals.
Check these posts out next!