Sustainable Living

Micro Greenhouse from Reused Material

Ever had a packet of seeds you just wanted to get started on but couldn’t because of cold weather? I want the real plant, not some picture of it!

The trick I’ve found is that there are only so many months of the year you can get most seeds going outdoors, and being in Melbourne means September is about as early as you can go for most Summer plants.

There are plenty of seed raising trays you can buy, and some with pre-built heaters in them to raise and maintain a steady temperature. Sure it would have been easier to just go out and buy one of those, but it goes against the spirit of frugality, misses the opportunity to re-purpose everyday items, and is just too bloody easy.

The creations below are also fun to do with the kids, and as there is almost no cost to making these, you can afford for a couple to be destroyed along the way.

This is my working collection of Mico-Greenhouses.

The Milk Crate

As the heading suggests, this is made from a old plastic milk crate, lined with newspaper and wrapped in plastic. It spent most of Winter over a heating vent, seeing how we were creating all that hot air anyway it seemed like a bonus.

Growing herbs in this milk crate

The Plastic Tray with Coir Pellets

This one went very well getting corn and sunflowers started, so here is how to make it:

  • Plastic Tray (deep enough to hold the pellet and water)
  • Coir Pellets
  • Plastic Bag
  • Bamboo Sticks
  • A source of heat

Place the pellets into the tray, then add plenty of water to expand. Place the sticks around the end pellets, and put the whole thing into a plastic bag. Does not seem to matter if you keep the bag slightly open or shut tight – so maybe worth trying both.

seeding corn and sunflowers in plastic container

The Milk Container Contraption

Finally a reason to drink more milk.

To make, cut the top off an empty, rinsed milk carton, then cut up that piece into 4 smaller peices. You are going to use those smaller peices to create partitions within the container, as below.

Fill it with soil (or half propagation sand and half peat moss for my favourite), add the seeds, label it, make sure it is all held together nicely, wrap it in a plastic bag and there you go.

This photo is a week or so after setting it all up.

chilli comfrey and tomato

And now 3 or so weeks after… From left to right looks like Chillies, Tomatoes, and a Catmint.

growing plants in milk container

Now removing those seedlings out into the garden proper.

planting out the seedlings into the garden

This chilli plant now has a new Summer home!

mini greenhouse is getting taken apart

So get into it – at the least it’s something to do while watching TV 🙂

4 thoughts on “Micro Greenhouse from Reused Material

  1. Too micro for me! I have a 12 by 12 glasshouse I can use all year round, but feel for those of you that make do with old milk cartons.


  2. Pingback: How to Make Rotting Wood Work-a dab of super glue, some duck tape? « Sand and Shovel Homefarm Tales

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