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Urban Gardening: Recycled Milk Jug Pots


The weather has been impeccable lately, like we skipped winter completely and went straight to late spring.  I can’t complain much.  However, going from seven acres to a second story apartment is disappointing.  The only dirt I seem to deal with around here is what we track in on our shoes.  So, the girls and I decided to start an urban garden.

I didn’t want to spend money on pots that would probably be left behind when we returned to Iowa so we improvised with recycled milk cartons.  They serve as great temporary garden containers and are fun to decorate.  We have ambitions of sprouting everything from flowers to food depending on how green our thumbs are this season.


Here’s What You’ll Need:

1 milk jug (or medium to large sized plastic container)
X-Acto knife
Potting soil
Cheesecloth, rocks, sticks and/or broken pot pieces
Seeds or sprouted plants
Decorative materials (optional: acrylic paint, paint brushes, fabric, hot glue, etc)


1.  Peel off labels if you intend on decorating


2.  Cut an opening for the pot, leaving the handle if you will be hanging the jugs.


3. Carefully cut small holes in the bottom of the jug for excess water drainage


4.  Decorate!  It’ll help keep the plastic from breaking down as quickly in the sunlight. (Don’t take yourself too seriously–you’re decorating a milk jug!)


5.  Cut a small square of cheesecloth and place it in the bottom of the jug to prevent soil erosion out the bottom.  If you choose, you may also put rocks, sticks or broken pot pieces at the bottom to prevent compaction and erosion).


6.  Fill jug half way with potting soil


7.  Place plants in jug, making sure there’s enough soil firmly packed around the roots.  Tie to railing with zip ties to prevent tipping (and little children from digging in the dirt!)

Water plants thoroughly and enjoy!


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True stories of raising children, remodeling, braving the elements and plotting out life, all while living on a humble acreage in central Indiana.

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