Tuesday, June 8

Milk Jugs = Best Idea EVER!

Saving milk jugs is a pain. Rinsing them out, hanging them to dry - a pain.

All winter I saved them and cleaned them and hung them by their handles on a cord stretched between two nails across the span of my basement. Just annoying to look at and I knew that I might not have rinsed them well enough and come spring, I would be carving the bottoms off of moldy, smelly milk jugs.

I had a little mold but not much and after I sliced the bottoms off this past spring, I still doubted them. I didn't think these mini-greenhouse cloches would work. The plants would dry out or the wind would blow them away or the neighbors would think I was experimenting with a new form of yard decoration.

So I decided to do a test row. I took about 15 struggling tomato plants out of the basement around May 1st and planted them in one row, spaced evenly apart. These were the runts of my litter - the plants that didn’t get thinned that were small and that I did not think would make it. The plants that were being made fun of by the towering tomato plants under the adjacent grow light.

I wasn’t expecting much and it was just a test .

I placed one jug over each plant, no tops, and anchored teach one with two small metal "mini-stakes." These were actually chain link fence ties that we had left over from the old house. They make perfect mini-stakes for a job just such as this.

I staked my row and though it was a wasted effort and left them alone.

A couple of weeks later, I noticed that there were leaves pushing against the inside of the jugs and I pulled one jug off and before me I saw a beautiful tomato plant. Perfect, green, sturdy and healthy. Every plant in the row was the same.

My ugly ducklings had turned into nice tomato swans and I kicked myself for doubting my recycled cloches. They worked great!!!! I cannot say enough good things about them!!!

I now have them on my green bell pepper plants since they like the humid temps and the towering tomatoes from the basement are now getting a run for their money from the little brothers they picked on all those months.

Since I have been gardening, I have had horrible luck with my tomatoes in one way or another.

I have a feeling this year will be different.


  1. Very nice idea to save tomatoes from cold weather!

  2. Great idea, thanks for sharing. My tomatoes never seem to be happy either. :(