Let's talk containers...post yours here

Wheatfield, NY(Zone 6a)

I got tired of beg/borrow/steal on the milk jugs (I get my milk delivered in the old-fashioned glass bottles). So I came up with a new system this year after reading through how everybody else does their sowing.

I bought 8 Rubbermaid 66gal. clear tubs on sale and had DH drill drain holes in the bottom and vent holes in the top (he always wants to know what he can do to help anyway, the dear). then I bought 1,000 (yeah, I really hope this works, or I'm stuck with them) plastic bags with gusseted sides. they're like a paper lunch bag, so when they open up they have a flat bottom. the bags are 5x3x15h. I was able to fit 24 of them in one rubbermaid tub. cut drain holes in the bottoms of the bags, folded back the tops, added 4" of germ mix, fitted the whole 24 of them into the tub. then they were all stable so the dirt wouldn't shift around after I planted the seeds. planted seeds in all 24, pulled the 'sleeves' back up (the tops of the bags that I had folded down so I could get in to plant the seeds easier). I stapled the top of the bag shut to keep them from drying out, then cut some smaller holes for vents. put the lid on the tub and I'm good to go.

so far I've only planted one tub.

Thumbnail by grampapa
Wheatfield, NY(Zone 6a)

here's a pic with the lid off. there's lots of head room for the seedlings. when the weather warms up I can just cut off the tops of the bags. it will be easy to take the lid off the tub and put it back on if there is any danger of frost.

I liked the idea of the smaller containers. the milk jugs were too big for a lot of things. and if they are too small I can always plant more than one.

so what are you using this year?? ~ jan

ps DH is in a panic because he's afraid I'm going to plant all 8 tubs. I told him I can still use the tubs to store things even with the holes drilled. LOL

Thumbnail by grampapa
Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

gram --- I have yet to start WS [i figure, i didnt start til second week of Feb last year]
I've just got a lot going on and wont start til the first week of March.

I'll use Milk Jugs [if i can get my kid to bring me empties from Starbucks]
I'll also use Half gal OJ containers, qt sized H&H and Kefir containers [i used all those last year]
but i know i will need A LOT more with all the seeds i'm getting this year.

I'll have various ones that i'll put in an old [crack on the bottom] laundry basket to keep them together in high winds
and i'll also scrounge large card board boxes... had luck with those last year too.

I still may look into larger Ziploc's that have pleated bottoms....

where did you get your bags from?

Cordele, GA(Zone 8a)

Yes, grampapa, where did you get the bags? Sounds like you could use them for lots of things around the house too.
Your system is so neat looking; not like the eyesore mine are. The consistancy of using the baggies may give you a better percentage of germination. It would be interesting to know if some a particular variety of seed sown in both a baggie and some in a milk jug would germinate faster than the other. Very nice! I Iike it! Hope it works for you and I'm glad you found an alternative to the frustrating hunt & collection for throw away containers.

(bestest fairy)Tempe, MI(Zone 5b)

I love this idea-neat & clean & compact-where did you get the baggies-I don't think I've seen any w/ gusseted sides B4??

Wheatfield, NY(Zone 6a)

I bought them online...this place has tons of sizes, but you have to buy a minimum of 1,000. they aren't ziploc, and this is only a 1 mil plastic which is pretty thin


(bestest fairy)Tempe, MI(Zone 5b)

If I needed 1000, I would totally get them.....I will have to keep an eye out for something of the sorts...maybe a party store??

Marshfield, MO(Zone 6b)

Hello to all you winter sowing people. I am new to gardening, davesgarden and winter sowing. I have been devouring all the infomation I could find and hope I have a decent understanding what to do. I am trying to figure out which seeds to winter sow and which to wait. I am ready to sow...........LOL

The real reason for my post is to tell you I went to eBay and plugged "Gusseted Poly Bags". You have more choice of prices and amounts to buy. Hope this helps someone.

Wheatfield, NY(Zone 6a)

I really don't want to encourage anybody in this direction until I see how it works out. I got the Rubbermaid tubs on sale for less than $7. It's hard to find something with a clear lid. the clear Sterilite ones have colored lids.

Alameda, CA(Zone 9b)

I like to use six-packs as containers, and then pop them into plastic bags. My local nursery gives me all the used six-packs I want for free. -I always ask if I can buy them, and they always tell me to take all I want. I sometimes put the six-packs in gallon ziplocks, but I prefer the bags that tropical fish are shipped in.

Tropical fish are shipped in bags that are quite sturdy and a good size for sowing. My husband has aquariums, and the guy who owns the tropical fish store gives me all the used fish bags I want for free. There are a variety of sizes, but my favorite is 12 inches wide by 23 inches tall. That's a bit too tall, so I cut off about the top four inches. I then cut the bottom corners to create drainage and then poke some holes about 2 inches down around the top of the bag and run some twine through to create a drawstring. -Slip in a sowed six-pack, and there you have it.

This message was edited Feb 3, 2008 8:49 AM

Wheatfield, NY(Zone 6a)

thanks, sherry. never even thought of ebay.

Wheatfield, NY(Zone 6a)

Susan, that sounds like a pretty neat arrangement.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Why not use paper lunch sacks (which I have) so you could plant the whole thing? x, C

Cordele, GA(Zone 8a)

Carrie, you just hit the nail on the head with the paper lunch sack suggestion! Thanks! I think I'll try that with poppies and a few others that don't cotton to being distrubed.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

I don't cotton to messing up my manicure! (Just kidding.) No, still, the less messing with root-i-cide, the better.
x, Carrie

Cordele, GA(Zone 8a)

Carrie, I think the paper bag is the ideal thing to do. Double bagging would work too. ♥

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

good idea. Although, ladies, ahem, a public health announcement!
DRINKING AS MUCH MILK AS YOU CAN MANAGE WOULD REALLY BE A GOOD IDEA. thank you. I'm going to need intravenous calcium supplements!
x, C

Leesburg, FL(Zone 9b)

will the seeds get enough light thru the paper bags? you are talking brown bags, right?

interesting concept though.

Cordele, GA(Zone 8a)

I poke holes around the tops of my orange juice containers for light and would do the same for paper bags if I go that route. I'm thinking seriously about it for poppies.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

I was thinking paper bags inside larger, transparent or translucent or maybe white plastic boxes, whether right-side up or upside-down. x, Carrie

Holden, MO(Zone 5b)

Hi winter sowers, but it seems like a hot spring day here 72*, wow , but look out tomorrow.

Anyway my Mom saves all her plastic coffee can's , so I'm going to use these too, she has hundreds of them, some without lids, why I don't know, she got rid of the lids but I can still use them.

Put holes in the bottom, cut a circle out of the lid close to the rim, which was very easy to do. Then put the plastic sheeting over and snapped it down with the rim. then poked holds in the plastic sheeting.

The ones without lids I will have to maybe use heavy rubber bands or something to hold that plastic sheet on.

Just another container!!!, Oh can you smell the coffee , ah I mean the dirt of winter sowing : ) and soon the smell of plants growing , hummmm

heres a pic, have fun WSers

Thumbnail by Lindawalkabout
(bestest fairy)Tempe, MI(Zone 5b)

What kind of plastic sheeting?? I am thinking that I might be able to use that same kind of technique with styro to go containers-DH works in the restaurant industry....

Cordele, GA(Zone 8a)

Linda, that's a good way to use your recylced coffee cans! p.s.another subject but: (That's how you can make butterfly cages too)

Painter's drop cloth plastic sheeting is what I use to lay over deep flats of seeds too. Just have to poke lots of holes everywhere for the rain water to drip in.

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

It was nice enough this week that i went out and dragged back inside the 3 or 4 flats with clear plastic lids that I bought last year - our early snow caught me totally unprepared this year. Next to see: are they in still good enough shape to reuse, do I have to purchase anything new (ucky little sponges?), etc. I had fantastic germination with these things last year, but my "no paint pen" system was my undoing. Today I have to try to get a hold of some Popsicle sticks - got no blinds, nobody eats yogurt since I switched them to milk (LOL), hmmmm. I'll look around the recycle bin and see what there is today.
x, Carrie

St. Louis County, MO(Zone 5a)

We had rain all day yesterday, and I woke up this morning to one bin with 4 inches of water inside. OOPS, seems I missed one bin when I was making drain holes. I can't believe that much water got in there.

Holden, MO(Zone 5b)

Fairy1004 , that is just some inexpensive sheeting at Walmart, under $4 and its very big , will make lots of covers for the cans I used a three ply thickness.

HI Cordeledawg, great idea for the butterflies : )

carrielamont, sounds like you will find just what you'll need, your like me, keep searching and mind open for anything that will work : )

Wheatfield, NY(Zone 6a)

contant rain here, too, and flood watches all over. luckily we live in a subdivision that's been built up out of the flood plain.

my one bin that I have sown is on the front porch under cover still because it's too heavy for me to move. have to wait for help (that's what 6' sons were made for) LOL

Linda, I love those coffee 'cans'. too bad we don't drink coffee.

Cordele, GA(Zone 8a)

Linda's coffee can idea gives me the incentive to try it on big ice cream buckets. Same principle, cutting out the middle circle of the lid to hold down the plastic. Love it!

Wheatfield, NY(Zone 6a)

I did one ice cream bucket (it's all I had) last year and it was great. the whole top is clear then, so you can see in. it's easy to plant and water. top is easy to snap on & off. I wish I had more.

Cordele, GA(Zone 8a)

That's right, it is clear! Oh good, I can do that one today.

Holden, MO(Zone 5b)

I'm with you grampapa
the ice cream contains would be ideal, their even bigger then the coffee cans and you don't have to cut the top off, just poke holds in the lid and bottoms.

Be careful I already ran a knife in my knuckle jabbing a flimsy container, stupid me. lessons learned.

, good to know your safe from floods , and had good contractors who knew what they were doing.

we are getting snow, but didn't wake up to the 4 to 6' they were takin about, looking out my window the snow is fallin and all the beautiful birds are at the trough havin breakfast : )

Do i just leave that snow on the containers?

edit poke instead of polk ,lol no wonder i stabbed myself , lol

This message was edited Feb 6, 2008 9:52 AM

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

yup leave the snow on. . . and take pictures of them to stupefy and defy the nonbelievers com summer!

Holden, MO(Zone 5b)

got my camera : )

Toledo, IA(Zone 4a)

HI a lesson learned from experience-----i have never tried putting paper bags in them but i planted thousands of hosta seeds in two of them last year and when i was done planting the hostas i left them out in the sun along with a plastic collender i used to breakup the spagum and clods of dirt---all of them fell apart when i picked them up to bring them inside last week---useless --i grabbed one end and picked one up and the top edge snapped off --brittle as heck the same as the collender----these things will only take so much sun befor they get brittle---costed quite a bit for a single use --i thought about spreading about two inches of dirt in the bottom of them and really putting lots of ornamental grass seed on top of them and covering --just to get two usages of them --naw they are too big--im gonna do it with some shallow tubs ive got instead----good luck stevo

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

styrofoam? what are you talking about, please. . . . heading out today to buy SOMETHING to put my bags in. x, Carrie

Gilmer, TX(Zone 8a)

I love the plastic ice cream or sherbet cartons. they are so neat, now I have to eat sherber at a fast clip so I can get more. I think I like them better than anything. They are really good for planting those itsy bitsy seeds. I can see what's going on better than I can with milk jugs, of course I use all those I can get. So now I go begging for milk jugs and ice cream containers

Wheatfield, NY(Zone 6a)

Stevo, yes, please, what is it that fell apart?

Toledo, IA(Zone 4a)

HI grandpa---my rubbermaid trays fell apart the lip and down about two or three inches just broke off the tubs when i picked them up--brittle as heck--dont store them in the sun or have them in the sun any longer than necessary---stevo

Wheatfield, NY(Zone 6a)

Oh, wow, that's disappointing, stevo. I thought if I bought rubbermaid instead of some off brand it would last pretty well...at least a few years. all the junky free containers I had for w/s last year held up good all season outside. well, lessons learned is the name of the game, I guess. that's why I told everybody NOT to follow my lead until I had a chance to test everything out. Rubbermaid makes a bunch of different kinds. fingers crossed that I'll have better luck than stevo did. and I'll try to keep them from too much sun.

thanks for the info. ~ jan

Holden, MO(Zone 5b)

Hi all, say I have a bunch of bigger pots 10" that blueberries and grape vines came in.

They are black with large holes in the bottom. This will be a problem,with soil coming out. The one I'm doing now I used two layers of newspaper to keep the soil in tact, it will decompose and hopefully the dirt will stay in place without much moving the container around.

Well this work? I was looking around for some old screen to put in the bottom, even thought of duct taping the holes so they are smaller, rock on the bottom but I would rather not do that.

So what do you all do with those types of containes for WS.

Nothing is up yet, I sowd the first seeds Jan 20th, could it be that I won't see anything for a couple of weeks? Or should I have seen signs of green already?

Happy WS gardening : )

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