Start Your Garden Indoors With Milk Jug Greenhouses

plastic jug for milk or water
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 10
What You'll Need
Milk jug
Exacto knife
Gardening gloves
Small shovel

Giving your garden a head start before planting season begins is easier than you think. All you need is a milk jug, seeds, and a head start on planting season to get your garden growing.

Before you start your indoor milk jug greenhouse, you'll need to collect milk jugs for a few weeks. Make sure to wash out each jug with soap and water as you finish the milk and set them upside down on a towel to dry. This will prevent any mold or spores from growing in your greenhouse before you start to plant. When collecting your milk jugs for your milk jug greenhouses, you need to make sure to keep the cap for each jug.

When you're ready to plant, gather up your milk jugs, potting soil, seeds, a sharpie, small shovel, gardening gloves, and an Exacto knife. You'll want a clean surface outside to tackle this DIY because you'll be working with loose dirt.

Cut Your Milk Jugs

Take your clean, dry milk jugs and attach a cap. Then, with a sharpie, draw a line all the way around your milk jug — right under the handle. Take your Exacto knife and cut around the entire jug. This should leave you a base with several inches and a top that has a full handle.

Once you've cut all of your milk jugs, you can use rubbing alcohol to remove the sharpie markings if you'd like.

Prepare Your Seeds

Now that you've got a greenhouse to plant in, gather up the seeds and make sure to separate them. You can use these DIY planters for vegetable plants, flowers, berries, herbs, and anything else you can grow from seed. Before you plant your seeds, read up on any prep information that comes with your particular seed. Some seeds do much better when soaked for a day or two before they are planted.

Add Dirt

hands holding rich dirt

Get your dirt ready to go into the milk jugs by dampening it just a little bit. You can fertilize the dirt with the plant food of your choice. You can also add small rocks or pebbles to the bottom of the container to increase good drainage — but rocks are not a necessity.

Fill the bottom portion of your jugs with lightly packed dirt.

Plant the Seeds

When you're ready, moisten the earth in the jug and bury the seeds at a depth suggested by the package. Write the type of seed on the top of your jug so you don't forget what's inside. If you're looking for a gardening pro tip, write specific seed care instructions on the jug as well. That way you never miss a watering session or hours in the sun.

planting seeds in dirt from a package

Your greenhouse will be complete when you've finished planting your seed and you set the top of the jug back on the bottom, creating a warm greenhouse for your plant to grow in.

Plant Care

Now that you're seeds are planted, it's a waiting game. Care for each plant with the specific instructions that came with the seeds. Make sure to be gentle with the growing seeds and use a mister instead of a traditional watering can.

Find a sunny spot inside (or outside if the weather permits) and let your greenhouse get to work. The milk jug material, shape, and structure create the same effect as a mini-greenhouse, which in turn, helps your seeds grow strong at a quicker rate. Depending on how much sun your seeds need, you may need to move the greenhouses throughout the day.


Once your seeds have a strong root system and significant sprouts, you can replant them. You can transfer your plants to a garden or a pot.

plant growing inside a plastic jug greenhouse

One of the most important things about repotting is to be gentle with your plants. If you're not very careful with the roots and the sprout while you repot, you could potentially harm or kill your plant.

Once you have a spot in the garden or a pot picked out, used gardening gloves you carefully move your plant to its new home. Use some of the old soil in the milk jug greenhouse to make the transition easier and once the plant is in its new home, try not to disturb it for a few days.

plastic jugs planted outside in garden rows

Once your first round of greenhouse plants are sprouted and planted, you can reuse your milk jugs to start a new batch of seeds, or use the tops as shelter for your young plants in the garden—they can help deter pests during early growth.