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Winter Sowing: Best tool for cutting the bottom off gallon plastic milk jug

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Forum: Winter SowingReplies: 45, Views: 443
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Landperson
Santa Rosa, CA
(Zone 9a)

November 15, 2010
10:12 AM

Post #8212905

Okay, the bread knife wasn't gonna do it.
I figured before I tried everything in my arsenal I'd just come here and ask...

What do you use to cut the bottoms off of your gallon milk jugs???

Susan
JoParrott
Richland, WA
(Zone 7b)

November 15, 2010
10:33 AM

Post #8212943

I use a pair of kitchen scissors from the Dollar store- works great.
Landperson
Santa Rosa, CA
(Zone 9a)

November 15, 2010
10:41 AM

Post #8212967

Okie doke.
I'll try scissors next.
Thanks Jo.

tcs1366

tcs1366
Itasca,IL&Lk Delton, WI
(Zone 5a)

November 15, 2010
2:35 PM

Post #8213359

Susan,

are you cutting the bottom all the way off, or just cutting it open / in half?

I too have found a good pair, but not an expensive pair, does a great job. I used to use a steak knife, with the serrations - it would slice thru nicely, but all the lines were uneven.

Terese
Landperson
Santa Rosa, CA
(Zone 9a)

November 15, 2010
2:41 PM

Post #8213364

The scissors worked perfectly. I poked one of the ends through and then it was pretty easy cutting.
I cut the whole bottom off thinking I would use the top of the jug like a little greenhouse over the top of seedlings...
Susan
CapeCodGardener
Mid-Cape, MA
(Zone 7a)

November 15, 2010
2:47 PM

Post #8213376

I've stood at the sink with my milk-jugs and plastic water-bottles all lined up and I've wielded various scissors and even my Fiscars garden-clippers (probably not the BEST use of these) and what I've found that works the best is a box-cutter. 'Course, you have to be VERY careful because those suckers are sharp. But on my Hood milk jugs (thicker plastic than the opaque ones) the scissors just don't do it.

tcs1366

tcs1366
Itasca,IL&Lk Delton, WI
(Zone 5a)

November 15, 2010
2:55 PM

Post #8213388

Emily... I've notice that too. the thicker ones, -- i use a lot of vinegar jugs... it is hard for scissors to get thru them easily...
diamond9192002
(Anita) Fort Wayne, IN
(Zone 6a)

November 16, 2010
2:30 PM

Post #8215332

Box cutters are my choice
tikipod
(Ang) Bremerton, WA
(Zone 8b)

November 16, 2010
2:47 PM

Post #8215355

This is my first time winter sowing but I have used milk jugs for other reasons. I usually make a clean cut with a knife or box cutters and then used my trusty pair of "it'll-take-your-finger-off" titanium scissors. I'm thinking I might need something more heavy duty for some apple cider and Arizona tea jugs I have.
TX_gardener
Brady, TX
(Zone 8a)

November 25, 2010
7:13 AM

Post #8229900

Hope ya'll are still looking for a good cutter -- these are the best I've found: http://www.leevalley.com/EN/home/PrintPage.aspx?p=59398&ap=8 -- I think they're "famous" for being able to cut pennies!
frahnzone5
Bensenville, IL
(Zone 5a)

December 4, 2010
2:07 PM

Post #8244114

Tikipod, how do you get the labels of the Arizona tea jugs?

Felisa
diamond9192002
(Anita) Fort Wayne, IN
(Zone 6a)

December 5, 2010
12:11 AM

Post #8244794

Great idea for using at home. Those scissors are usually used in emegencies by paramedics and firefighters to cut the clothes off of patients. Maybe I can find them locally at the medical supply store.
GardenQuilts
Pocono Mountains, PA
(Zone 6a)

December 5, 2010
1:17 AM

Post #8244806

I use soda bottles for winter sowing. I don't drink milk or juice, but do drink diet soda. I put the bottles in these blue trays that hold 8 bottles each so they are very easy to move around. I like that each is a separate "greenhouse". I channel my inner Sharon Stone to make holes in the bottoms with an ice pick, start the center cut with a box cutter or old knife and finish it with an old scissor. I make three cuts in the bottom part perpendicular to the center cut so that I can fit the top of the bottle on top of the bottom. I like that they stack together to save space "off season". Super easy.
diamond9192002
(Anita) Fort Wayne, IN
(Zone 6a)

December 5, 2010
5:36 AM

Post #8244911

LoL @ GardenQuilts (Sharon Stone) where do you find the blue trays? I was hoping to aquire 4 of those bread trays for my WSing. If not I may have to purchase some milk crates. I thought the bread crates would work a lot better for futures use in the garden.
GardenQuilts
Pocono Mountains, PA
(Zone 6a)

December 5, 2010
10:13 AM

Post #8245287

The bf showed up with them. filled with soda bottles. He has an uncle who is a manager at a supermarket chain. Sometimes he gets a good deal on some close out. This time it was soda. I have seen stacks of them outside supermarkets, I am not sure if they are available or waiting for trucks, it wouldn't hurt to ask.

diamond9192002
(Anita) Fort Wayne, IN
(Zone 6a)

December 5, 2010
10:21 AM

Post #8245303

I checked with the supermarket today. If I'm correct, they are bread crates. They belong to the bakeries. The bakeries will rent but not sale. ;-(
GardenQuilts
Pocono Mountains, PA
(Zone 6a)

December 5, 2010
7:03 PM

Post #8246038

I'll have to take some pictures if the snow we may get isn't too deep. The ones I use are the same ones that are used in trucks and stores to hold 2 liter soda bottles. I have seen them stacked next to dumpsters behind grocery stores. I suspect they are there for the trucks to pick up. I don't think that they want you to take them, but I am not certain. These are different from crates. The only thing that they hold are bottles.
diamond9192002
(Anita) Fort Wayne, IN
(Zone 6a)

December 5, 2010
8:01 PM

Post #8246104

Ohhhhh, they are the trays that hold the two liter bottles?
GardenQuilts
Pocono Mountains, PA
(Zone 6a)

December 5, 2010
10:07 PM

Post #8246282

Yes, each tray holds 8-2 liter bottles. They are really handy and keep the bottles from blowing around the patio.

tcs1366

tcs1366
Itasca,IL&Lk Delton, WI
(Zone 5a)

December 6, 2010
7:15 AM

Post #8246623

GQ -- that was as sweet score, especially if you use a lot of those 2Ltr bottles.
GardenQuilts
Pocono Mountains, PA
(Zone 6a)

December 6, 2010
12:25 PM

Post #8247154

The bf thought that they would make it easier to carry in the groceries.
Pippi21
Silver Spring, MD
(Zone 6b)

December 9, 2010
7:04 PM

Post #8252540

Felisa..I have found out that if I put real hot water into the milk jugs, replaced the cap on for a few minutes, most labels will peel right off real easy.
Also it's okay to leave the labels on but I found it easier to see through the jug if the label was removed. I didn't want to miss any spouts coming through!

Anita..I found my plastic milk crates at Value Village which is a local thrift store for only $1.91 each. Check thrift stores like Goodwill or SA too. People bring donations of stuff in those crates. Sometimes the thrift store uses them to display records or wallpaper rolls,etc. Also check on FREECYCLE. Or your Habitat for Humanity resale store. I even found a brand new mini-blind at the Thrift store last January for only $3 and it has made a lot of plant markers for the inside of the milk jugs.

Good Luck!
GardenQuilts
Pocono Mountains, PA
(Zone 6a)

December 10, 2010
8:01 AM

Post #8253152

SA stores have a "half price day" also. I have been popping in for cashmere and angora sweaters to unravel and reknit for gifts and such. I am also always on the lookout for flower pots.
Pippi21
Silver Spring, MD
(Zone 6b)

December 10, 2010
3:30 PM

Post #8253750

Just another suggestion for making those holes for drainage in the bottom of the milk jug or soda bottle, or whatever and for the air circulation holes up near the neck of the jug or bottle...use a soldering iron tool. In just a few minutes, that baby heats up and in seconds you can do all the holes needed. Just be careful, that tool gets very hot and make sure to place it on something that won't burn. Last year that was what I used. My husband had two and at first I asked him about it, he had a fit and wasn't going to let me use it. He's picky about somebody else using his tools but when I asked him when was the last time he used either of his soldering iron tool, he gave in and gave the old one to me. I would plug it in and lean it on a ceramic tile that I have, so it wouldn't burn a hole into my new counter top or anything else surround it. I'd try to do a bunch at one time, then I'd unplug it and let it cool down. It doesn't take long for it to heat back up. Works like a charm..it you want larger holes, just move the tool around a bit or hold it longer in one place. Be aware, it does produce an odor when it melts the plastic..Soda bottles take longer to do than milk jugs because their bottoms are molded and thicker than a milk jug. If you don't have one..I think you can buy one cheap and just use it for your wintersowing project.
Pippi21
Silver Spring, MD
(Zone 6b)

December 10, 2010
3:39 PM

Post #8253763

This past January when I started WS, I started out using a carpet knife, aka sheetrock knife; switched over to regular scissors, then kitchen sheers, back to sheetrock knife. I wonder how an electric carving knife would work? They have serated edge blades so maybe not, plus you wouldn't want to use it for cutting meats after that. Maybe if you can find one at Thrift store cheap that works, might be worth a try. I recall Token over at Gardenweb used some type of power saw..it's name is escaping me but if you are a member over at GW, you might find some of his pictures of him cutting the liter soda bottles that gets saved for him by his family and friends. I think he has a demonstration with photos on his blog http://www.seventhstreetcottage.com. look on the side categories about wintersowing. I think it was a band saw he was using to cut the liter bottles but you can double check his blog.
JoParrott
Richland, WA
(Zone 7b)

December 10, 2010
4:51 PM

Post #8253879

There are also hobby knives that heat- they are used to cut plastic template material- and Joan's has 40% off coupons eternally- you might check there. Also an old woodburning tool-

tcs1366

tcs1366
Itasca,IL&Lk Delton, WI
(Zone 5a)

December 10, 2010
7:43 PM

Post #8254082

>>He's picky about somebody else using his tools

Mine too. If i ever use his tools, I make sure they go back exactly where i found them... made that mistake once with a drill bit. whoops.

I too, know the guy from 7th street blog spot... i know him from a different site though. He WS's an amazing amount of containers.
podster
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

December 12, 2010
6:26 AM

Post #8255772

diamond9192002 ~ if I can suggest, dumpster diving for those trays you wanted. I got a slew of them from a restaurant dumpster. I had watched them stacked up by the dumpster for weeks and one day when I went by they were all tossed in a full dumpster so I felt free to have at it!

I cut the jugs with scissors mostly, sturdy knife on the heavier vinegar jugs as well as poking (& twisting) the drain holes in the bottoms with the same knife.

I agree on the using someone elses tools after all, mine are mine, mine, mine!!! lol
diamond9192002
(Anita) Fort Wayne, IN
(Zone 6a)

December 12, 2010
8:33 AM

Post #8255988

I have never done any dumpster diving but I'm half tempted LoL. There's really no problem with using boxes after they breakdown I can throw them in my garden. Thanks Podster, I'm going to keep an eye on some dumpsters in the area.

tikipod
(Ang) Bremerton, WA
(Zone 8b)

December 20, 2010
4:58 PM

Post #8269733

Oh my, I'm late to reply to this but I haven't tried to remove the label of the Arizona tea jugs yet. In fact I think my Dad may have thrown them out.
diamond9192002
(Anita) Fort Wayne, IN
(Zone 6a)

December 27, 2010
5:21 AM

Post #8278435

Podster, my mother came home with a crate the same size that the bread comes in but it has taller sides. I hit the jackpot! I was preparing myself to dumpster dive but allI had to do was shop in my mother's garage. They are very sturdy but light weight. I will post a picture later.
podster
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

December 27, 2010
5:37 AM

Post #8278453

Good deal! Sounds like you owe her... lol
diamond9192002
(Anita) Fort Wayne, IN
(Zone 6a)

December 27, 2010
7:23 AM

Post #8278616

Big time!

tcs1366

tcs1366
Itasca,IL&Lk Delton, WI
(Zone 5a)

December 27, 2010
8:04 AM

Post #8278689

sounds like a great score, Anita.

amazing what can be found in our parents garages or attics.
diamond9192002
(Anita) Fort Wayne, IN
(Zone 6a)

December 27, 2010
9:08 AM

Post #8278779

LoL if you only knew my DM, she proabably has somehting tucked awaythat each of us wants to take home. LoL I'm willing to guess that she probably tries to send something home with me at least twice every week. LoL Bless her heart!
ladyslipper8744
Monson, MA

January 1, 2011
2:02 PM

Post #8287015

New to forum 'what is winter sowing'? Is it early planting outside with milk jugs for added warmth?
I live in MA. zone 5...thanks

tcs1366

tcs1366
Itasca,IL&Lk Delton, WI
(Zone 5a)

January 1, 2011
2:27 PM

Post #8287060

in a sense... yes.

I'm sure you've seen some of the images posted within the forum...

Winter Sowing can start as early as Winter Solstice, Dec 21st -- but most of us are pretty busy during that time and do not start until January or February -- depending on our locations.

We sow our seeds in containers like Milk Jugs... the containers mostly protect the seeds from 'pests' such as critters and birds, and from being washed or blown away with weather.

the seeds will germinate when the conditions are right -- then we plant them out when the conditions are right.

hope this helps a bit... and Welcome to the Winter Sowing forum.

Terese
CapeCodGardener
Mid-Cape, MA
(Zone 7a)

January 2, 2011
6:04 AM

Post #8287875

Welcome to the Winter Sowing forum, Ladyslipper! Terese has summed the WS process up nicely--if you want more details, go to the "sticky" at the top of this forum entitled "Help for Winter Sowing." Grampapa collected a LOT of great information, along with helpful links.
--Emily, who is going to go locate her box-cutter and start prepping those milk jugs!
podster
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 2, 2011
6:44 AM

Post #8287911

Thanks for the reminder Emily. It is a nice mindless task that fits in after the holiday frenzy and before tax time. LOL
Pippi21
Silver Spring, MD
(Zone 6b)

February 2, 2011
1:47 AM

Post #8344369

Felisa...and others...when you wash your milk jugs out, use hot water, put the milk cap back on, shake the water up and let it sit for a minute or so, then you'll be able to peel most labels off. I was surprized how easy it comes off. Wished I'd know that when I was doing refunding umpteen years ago, trying to get that upc off so I could send in for a rebate. I've also found out that if you find a milk jug that somebody has stomped on, try filling it with hot water and it's pop right back out. Do this over your sink, just in case it leaks.

tcs1366

tcs1366
Itasca,IL&Lk Delton, WI
(Zone 5a)

February 2, 2011
5:23 AM

Post #8344521

Pippi -- for whatever container i use... it's just a quick rinse to rinse out - whatever was in it... i dont remove labels either.

when my kid used to bring home milk jugs from starbucks [when he lived at home] most of those were not rinsed ... so, some got "icky" if i did not get to them soon enough... those i'd rinse with hot water to get the old milk out.

>>somebody has stomped on,

yea -- those i also just 'blow' into and they pop right back out again.
diamond9192002
(Anita) Fort Wayne, IN
(Zone 6a)

February 2, 2011
6:08 AM

Post #8344602

I promised a picture of my WS crates. These crates are used to carry and display fruits and vegetables. I plan to get at least, a couple more. LoL Of course this will provide alot more flowers than I can ever plant in my yard alone LoL

Thumbnail by diamond9192002
Click the image for an enlarged view.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

February 2, 2011
7:18 AM

Post #8344746

VERY neat, Diamond!
myezek
Carson City, NV
(Zone 6a)

February 5, 2011
5:39 PM

Post #8356176

Someone asked about using an electic knife, IMHO, don't bother. It makes a nice3 straight line but mine wouldn't cut thru the plastic milk jug let alone a vinegar jug. I resorted to a pair of scissors. BTW, I bought 6 of those containers that rotisserie chickens come in from the local grocery store for a dollar. The lids snap on really tight and there are already vent holes. Plus easy to use

Marilyn

tcs1366

tcs1366
Itasca,IL&Lk Delton, WI
(Zone 5a)

February 5, 2011
5:44 PM

Post #8356188

just watch them -- since they are so shallow, they will dry out FAST, plus not a lot of room for roots. I've used them before too... just wish they were deeper.
myezek
Carson City, NV
(Zone 6a)

February 5, 2011
6:21 PM

Post #8356238

Thanks for the info, I'll keep a close eye on them

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Other Winter Sowing Threads you might be interested in:

SubjectThread StarterRepliesLast Post
Winter Sowing Seed Swap .....part 2 alicewho 213 Mar 23, 2007 1:01 PM
Lessons learned for next year #2 zenpotter 256 Mar 23, 2007 7:56 AM
Milk jugs TurtleChi 99 Mar 19, 2007 12:20 PM
WS Poppies & transplant problems marie_ 100 May 11, 2011 4:44 PM
Database germination info bluespiral 6 Mar 5, 2008 12:23 PM


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