I started a fall garden in August and so many sprouties popped up that I had to transplant some of them outside prematurely. I was resigned to seeing the outdoor seedlings die because they are not hardy enough, until I mentioned my dilemma to a gardener friend.
Cut a clear plastic bottle in half, remove the label and cap, and you’ve got a mini-greenhouse, she said. Brilliant!
The hole at the top lets air in and moisture out, while keeping the seedling a few degrees warmer. The mini-greenhouse also protects from harsh winds and rain storms.
You can use bottles of soda, seltzer, water, or anything else that comes in clear packaging (to let the sun through). I bought two bottles of seltzer for $.50 each and made four mini-greenhouses, three of which are pictured above. For the bottom half of the bottle, I was not able to cut a hole in the center because the plastic was too thick. Instead, I cut a hole off to the side of the bottom, where the plastic is thinner and easy to puncture with a pair of scissors.
I carefully covered the seedlings with my new green houses, twisting the plastic into the dirt about a half inch. When the plants are bigger I can easily remove the greenhouses and stash them for next fall.
When I made these greenhouses a few weeks ago I was curious which set of seedlings would grow faster, the ones indoors or the ones protected outdoors. I’m happy to report that they are growing at basically the same pace. The unprotected outdoor seedlings, however, are not doing very well. You can see one sad-looking seedling in the lower right corner of the picture above. It has not grown new leaves and its green coloring is fading. I may buy more seltzer.
When it gets even cooler, I may have to build a greenhouse to cover the entire plant bed. I’m also wary of how my homemade composter will fare over the New England winter. Any suggestions?
Sign up for the BargainBabe.com email list to receive more strategies, coupons, and inspiration to save money everyday.