Saturday, March 31, 2012

Plant Protection on the Cheap | Seedlings & Transplants

It is a golden maxim to cultivate the garden for the nose, and the eyes will take care of themselves. 
~Robert Louis Stevenson

Greetings my fellow gardeners,

Spring is finally here and like many of you I yearn to experience all the wonder this season brings.  However, the weather here is still temperamental.  The lows in our area are ranging from the mid 20’s and the highs around the upper 40’s.  It is normal for this time of the year, but I’m already missing the warm spell we had earlier this month.

My babies (seedlings) are growing vigorously and are most anxious to go outside, but it’s not quite time yet. While planning for the hardening off schedule I was thinking about some ideas that I have used in the past for protecting and promoting the health of young transplants. Here they are:

Glass jars – Salvaged mid- to large-sized food jars are great makeshift cloches.  Generally, I remove the lids and labels and wash the jars with a mild bleach solution, rinse and dry.  Depending on the size of your transplant, place the jar over it and make sure no part of the plant is touching the jar.  Check the plant regularly.

Plastic bottles and milk jugs- I use the same process as with glass jars. After they have been cleaned, I then cut the bottoms off the jugs or two-liter bottles and gently place them over the transplants.  Again make sure no part of the plant is touching the plastic and monitor regularly.

Old sheer curtains – I typically use these for insect barriers because they keep bugs at bay while allowing plants to receive much-needed sunlight and moisture.  I purchase cheap sheers from thrift shops (during discount days, of course).

Old blankets – Who needs pricey burlap? These are great for protecting plants from frost.  I generally receive them from family and friends, but I also sew some from scraps of worn-out clothing.

I hope things are going well with your gardens.  Until next time, take care.



  1. I used old milk cartons this year for the first time. I also used old blueberry containers (the plastic ones with the lid) and they dried out too soon.

    1. The milk cartons sound great. How are things turning out for you?

    2. Milk cartons worked well, the blueberry plastic flat top square ones did not. Think they dried out too much. The milk carton seedlings are planted in the ground and quite happy.

  2. Good suggestion!
    Thanks for visiting my blog!

  3. Good ideas, I have a mountain of old plastic bottles which are really handy around the plot. I also managed to get hold of some water cooler bottles a while ago that are great for protecting larger plants like squashes until the last frosts are gone.

    1. Water cooler bottles are so hard to come by here. I could only find two. You are very fortunate!


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