Found this project online at: http://www.indiana.edu/~sustain/programs/buwp/docs/The%20Milk%20Jug%20Greenhouse.pdf (see link for images):
Winter gardening is a great way to overcome the gloominess that many people feel in the winter months. If you want a fun gardening project to do at home, try sowing native perennial seeds outside in a milk jug during the winter. Many native plant species require a period of cold, moist conditions to germinate. By early spring your seedlings will be ready to plant, providing beauty as well as habitat for butterflies, birds, and other wildlife!
Directions to create your own milk jug greenhouse:
1. Using a gallon milk jug or a similar container, cut horizontally around the middle of the jug leaving a hinge just below the jug handle
2. Poke holes in the bottom of the jug for water drainage and around the top for evaporation and airflow.
3. Fill the container with 3-4″ of soil. Moisten the soil.
4. Plant native perennial seeds to the appropriate depth*. Be sure to label the container with the plant species. (*Planting depth varies with seed size. Many online native nurseries provide handy cultivation information including planting depth).
5. Tape the container shut around the cut and place it outside your house.
6. Check on the your greenhouse jug occasionally. Water on sunny days, if needed.
7. Once the weather warms in spring, remove the tape and leave the container slightly open so that the greenhouse does not overheat.
8. When the frost of winter has passed, transplant the seedlings into your garden.
The Science of Seed Germination
Fruition Seeds, has published an easy beginner guide to starting seeds “7 Essentials of Seed Starting: an Infographic” at: https://fruitionseeds.mykajabi.com/blog
If you want to get MUCH more detailed, Professor Norman C. Demo from Penn State studied the principles of organic chemistry at work during seed germination. He self published the results of his research in 1991 in Seed Germination Theory and Practice. Basically, different plant species have various ways to delay germination so their seeds have the best change to get dispersed before they sprout. His works are now available through the USDA National Agricultural Library as PDF files. Multiple websites tote these publications as resources that will absolutely increase success with seed propagation:
A couple interesting gardening blogs that may interest you (and the latest issues where you can sign up if you’re interested). I subscribe to these with my “junk” mail account just to keep my “good” email account cleared up…it doesn’t really matter when (or if ) you read them. These are in not particular order of preference:
Paul Parent Garden Club (1/25/18 “issue” at: http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Jan-25–2018.html?soid=1115574866512&aid=0IfC3gkD6lQ, website: https://paulparent.com/) Paul Parent has been on the radio for 33 years providing garden advice to New Englanders. This weeks article includes information about interesting houseplants including Purple Passion Velvet Plant, Persian Shield, and African Violets. This weeks recipe is for Creamy Basil Zucchini Soup. There are always a couple links to YouTube videos of old songs.
UConn Ladyblug blog (1/25/18 post at: https://uconnladybug.wordpress.com/2018/01/25/seeing-the-pine-trees-through-the-forest/, website: https://uconnladybug.wordpress.com/). This is sent out by the University of Connecticut Home and Garden Education Center and is specific to their observations and questions that people have asked them. This weeks post is general information and the history of Pine Trees.
A Way to Garden from Margaret Roach (1/21/18 post at: http://archive.aweber.com/awlist3578021/FPh9y/h/tips_for_brassica_success.htm, website: https://awaytogarden.com/). She gardens in New York’s Hudson Valley and has a weekly gardening podcast. This week included tips for brassica success, impatiens disease hope, and overwintering ticks.
Enchanted Gardens Newsletter from Enchanted Gardens – a Metrowest Boston landscape design company, lecture speakers, and author. They have ideas for interesting trips, books, etc. (1/31/18 posting at: http://www.enchantedgardensdesign.com/blog/2018/1/30/10-ways-to-beat-the-winter-blues, website: http://www.enchantedgardensdesign.com/)
The Winners Circle from Proven Winners and Kerry Anne Mendez (website: https://www.provenwinners.com/, where you can sign up). Articles and information about Proven Winner brand plants, but does have some interesting ideas. This weeks installment includes videos how to make a succulent bird house and highlights some new plants.
I’ll post more as I think of them and send us ones you like…