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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Save your Jugs!

As I have done each year, I tried something new that may be useful. After watching a video on YouTube on winter sowing containers, I immediately starting saving large milk and juice jugs. The idea of not having to run my plants outside for hours at a time each to harden them sounded appealing. This is a great project for anyone that has kids old enough to help. My four year old got his hands dirty and asked a million times, "Can I go see our plants?" That is the kind of excitement I am trying to instill in my son and it seems to be growing on him.

To start things off you will want to cut or drill holes in the bottom of your jugs for good drainage. Some people put holes on top of the jugs, but I chose not to. When separating the jug in two, cut right beneath the handle of the jug all the way around and leave a little section uncut for making it easier to tape it together at the end.
The next part is simple: Pour some dirt in your jug and if your child is helping, don't be surprised if they want to immediately get their hands dirty! For soil, it is ideal to use any seed starting mix as it is light, holds moisture, and allows for good home to birth your seedlings.

My son enjoyed wetting the seed starting mix so much, that it could have been an all day watering spree, but daddy helped a bit to speed things along. I found it useful to stir and spray at the same time as the soil is so light and airy that the water seems to run away from it at first. You could use warm water and let it sit if you don't want the experience of spraying and stirring.
Next, you plant your seed(s) by putting a hole at the desired depth and drop them in. My son was awesome at putting the seed in the hole. I was nervously watching, but he managed to put each one of the 12 seeds in the hole like a pro. Hopefully is helping me next time!
Tape them bad boys up and there you have it! They have sprouted after a week of them sitting outside in the cold and I can't wait to plant some collards. The whole family loves collards and I'll be begging my father-in-law for his recipe because his recipe is spot-on!
The garden was overhauled in about 4 hours of pulling up plants, spreading leaf mulch, and weeding. Not many green things left but parsley and two kale plants. The chickens have been enjoying a daily kale plant as of late and I donated the rutabagas I pulled up because we just can't eat through that many of them. They were delicious though, especially when prepared like French fries. The original video I watched that peaked my interest in winter container sowing is here: Winter Sowing