I’m putting together a new garden this year and the goal is to do it as frugally as possible. So far, so good! With growing grand kids about, we seem to have an abundance of milk jugs, so I’m looking for ways to reuse and recycle these common household items. Try these five frugal tips to recycle a milk jug in garden areas through out your property.
None of these ideas are going to get you points for garden style, but if you try these tips to recycle milk jugs in your yard this year, you will certainly save money. Once you’ve finished with them, they can still go right into the recycling bin.
The Simple Milk Jug Can Work Wonders in Your Garden
1. Make a scoop for soil bags and amendments by using this simple pattern. I keep them inside each bag and tub in the garden, so I don’t have to search for one when I need it. These work really well when using juice bottles too.
- -Using a permanent marker, draw a line under the handle extending out in both directions. This will cover half the jug.
- -Draw a line down the side of the jug and through the bottom, connecting the lines.
- -Cut out the opening with a pair of scissors or a box knife.
- -Adjust the bottom scoop to fit your requirements. You can cut out a soft curve or bring it more to a point. Whatever will work best on the materials you are planning to scoop.
Try these variations: Make a Milk Jug Scoop with cup measurements on the side and Small scoops and dustpans made from milk jugs
2. Make a self-watering planter. After using this for a few days I think it would work best on plants that need moisture. Think seedlings that are just getting started or plants like mint. If you are using it for seedlings, be sure you only keep half an inch of water in the bottom, or your soil will become water logged.
- -Cut your milk jug in half, keeping the handle intact.
- -Cut off the stem with the cap so it will .
- -Place a piece of cloth or a folded over coffee filter inside the half and over the opening. This will keep the soil inside your makeshift container.
- -Place the handle piece upside down inside of the bottom half .
- -Plant as usual. The bottom will collect any access water and make it available to the soil above.
3. Make a simple cloche to protect seedlings– What is a cloche anyway? In olden days these bell-shaped glass covers were used for protecting individual plants from winter’s chill. They are beautiful, but are expensive and breakable. If you just need to have glass, look at flea markets, vintage shops, and on Ebay.
The frugal way is to use a milk jug!
- -Cut off a one inch section from the bottom of the jug
- -Cut a jagged edge all the way around to help anchor the jug in the soil and stay put
- -Keep the cap on the jug on cool evenings
- -Remove the cap on sunny days so you do not overheat your new plants
4. Make mini milk jug greenhouses – These little greenhouses are great to use inside and out. They work just as well for growing microgreens in a window sill and for starting seeds in the garden. The milk jug keeps moisture and heat inside where your seedlings need it.
See the full tutorial here: Mini Greenhouses from Milk Jugs | PreparednessMama
5. Make a watering container by poking holes in the cap. Use a milk jug with a screw on lid instead of a pop on one.
- -Gather your supplies – one used milk jug (cleaned of course) a big needle
- -Poke at least 20 holes through the plastic top using a big sewing needle or safety pin. Straight pins are not thick enough to get a good water stream.
- T-here is no need to heat the needle first; it will go right through the plastic with little effort.
Bonus Ways to Use a Milk Jug in the Garden
OK, I couldn’t stop at just five!
Bonus #1 – Make a Wall-o-Water
Fill plain milk jugs with water and arrange them in a ring around plants. They will protect your plants and store solar energy in the water. Be sure to cover the ring at night to preserve the heat they have absorbed during the day. When the danger of frost and cold has passed, use the warmed water to water your plants. For warmer water, paint the containers black before filling them. This is also a good way to regulate heat in cold frames and greenhouses.
Bonus #2 – Cut the extra pieces into strips and use them as plant markers. A permanent marker will survive watering and sunshine throughout the whole growing season. It’s an excellent way to use a milk jug in the garden.
Non-Gardening Milk Jug Uses
Of course, recycling milk jugs doesn’t stop just in the garden. You can find all sorts of uses for these plastic behemoths throughout the entire household.
Let’s take a look at some of the ideas you can try doing yourself with just a couple of handy tools that you probably already have lying around somewhere.
Milk Jug Paint Tray With Handle
If you have a 4-inch paint roller lying around and need to repaint parts of your house, you could try cutting the front plastic part of the jug and leaving the base and handle intact. This will give you a great place where to store your paint and your roller for easy and more effortless paint jobs.
Portable Container Storage
By cutting the jug the same way as shown above for using it with a paint roller, you can also use it to store all sorts of small things like nails, screws, screwdrivers, etc. Use a couple of milk jugs and you’ll be able to organize all your stuff much better without spending money on extra toolboxes, hangers, etc.
In case you don’t need the handle, cut it loose from the rest of the milk jug and use it as a funnel for liquids. It comes in handy for just about any sort of situation you can think of, such as draining old cooking oil, wood glue, and much, much more.
This type of skinny funnel also comes in handy when cooking. Anyone who’s baked cookies or complicated recipes knows how hard it can be to funnel liquids without a proper tool. Luckily, if your regular funnel has gone missing, now you can make your own with just a pair of scissors and an old milk jug’s handle.
Pet Food Scoop
Now we’re going to do the opposite of what we did for the pain tray and container storage. We’re going to cut the bottom half of the jug and keep the upper three quarters and the handle intact.
For even greater efficiency, you could try making the cut angled so that you’ll have an easier time pouring your pet’s food in their tray.
We hope you’ve found at least a few tips and tricks useful in this article.
Share your ideas for recycling common items in the garden in the comment section below.