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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Winter Project One: Milk Carton Hot-House for Frost Protection

There is a bit of time to kill between now and next season. If you are like me, you want to get things into the garden as fast as possible. When you plant in spring, you often need something to protect plants from frost. Why not recycle your milk containers now? If you start making these in December you will have at least a dozen of them come spring. They are not only good for frost protection but they will heat up the ground and plant that is under them. More heat means better growth.

The steps are in pictures. The biggest thing... rinse them thoroughly. Nothing worse than the smell of sour milk.

Milk Container Frost Protection - The Rusted Garden Blog
Cut Off the Bottom to Create the Hot-House - The Rusted Garden Blog
My milk containers have a line about 1 inch from the bottom. I suggest poking a hole in it with and knife and finishing the cut all the way around with scissors. You end up with a 1 inch cut bottom piece and the rest of the container that will be used to drop over your plants.

Two Hot-House Caps - The Rusted Garden Blog
Mini Hot-House Caps from Milk Cartons - The Rusted Garden Blog
You actually get to items for your garden. The bottom of the milk container can be inverted and pressed over seeds. It will warm the area, protect them from hard rains and create a mirco-environment for the seeds to sprout more quickly. The large part of the container can go right over transplants. It should be pushed into the ground so the edges go about an inch into the earth. It will make a seal for heat and prevent the wind from blowing it over.

Notice one picture has the cap on and the other has the cap off. Save the cap! It comes off when the days get warmer. All you have to do is remove and replace the cap as needed to makes sure the transplant stays warm or to make sure it doesn't cook on hotter sunny days.

Inverted Bottom Becomes Seed & Seedling Warmer - The Rusted Garden Blog


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