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Mini Greenhouses Using Recycled Materials

Category Advice
Creative mini greenhouses can be made using a variety of common household recyclable materials. This is a guide about mini greenhouses using recycled materials.


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3 found this helpful
September 2, 2011

I use large, clear, round plastic water jugs from the grocery store as greenhouses. I cut them with a coping saw and leave a small attached area. I put the seeds inside in proper soil and close the top. I leave the lid on the bottle in early spring. I put these in a sunny area during the day and at night they come inside.

Once they can be left outside, I remove the little lid on the top half and they continue to protect the new seedlings. You need to avoid the center of the bottle and you need at least 4 inches of soil so that the plants can survive until they are transplanted. Good for the environment because you can reuse these year after year.

By Barbara W. from Ewing, NJ

Comment Was this helpful? 3
September 10, 20110 found this helpful

A pic would have been helpful. I would of liked to see a picture of where and how you cut the jug.

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0 found this helpful
May 2, 2007

  1. Begin with a plastic cola bottle. Choose a size that will suffice for whatever you're planting.

  2. Remove the label (or paint it, or wrap contact paper around the bottle.)


  3. Poke drainage holes in the bottom of the bottle.

  4. Layer the bottom of the bottle with rocks, pebbles, marbles, packing peanuts, anything that will promote drainage.

  5. Add 3 - 4" of potting soil.

  6. Cut a 'V' shape in the cut side of the top portion of the bottle

  7. Insert your seeds, seedlings or small plants. Gently squeeze the bottom of the top of the bottle so that it will fit inside of the bottom portion of the bottle. (see illustration)

  8. Place on saucer on your window sill and enjoy watching your plants grow, or transplant to your garden when they are big enough.

By Doggy

Comment Was this helpful? Yes
May 10, 20070 found this helpful

Great tip and terrific drawing!

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June 4, 2010

I set out plants I grow from seed and they need protection from wind and pests. I use clear juice jugs with the bottom cut out and no lid as a mini greenhouse for each plant. The plants get off to a great start! This also works to start seeds in the garden.


By denowolfes from Talbott, TN

Comment Was this helpful? 3

May 11, 20050 found this helpful

Save the little plastic containers with attached lids that some fruits come in and you sometimes get for take out food and use them to start your garden plants. They work like mini greenhouses.



Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

0 found this helpful
March 30, 2010

I'm thinking of trying to make a small indoor greenhouse for next winter. I have an odd-ball idea for one and would like to get some feedback on what people think. I want to take a large plastic storage bin (the bottom part is clear) and turn it upside down, put the seedlings on the inverted top, hook up a plant light in it and put it in a sunny window. The bottom part of the bin would be snapped back in place to keep the humidity in there. Would that work? Does anybody have any thoughts on this?


Hardiness Zone: 8a

By Cricket from Parkton, NC

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
March 30, 20100 found this helpful

Your idea is not bad; but is maybe more complicated that you need. Really, you only need the "greenhouse" to keep the seed medium moist until the seeds sprout; then you need air circulation or you risk the sprouts "damping off". That can be accomplished with bin, for sure. Once the seedlings are up and growing, the grow light is the key--you certainly have the right idea there. You might want to make a frame for the lights (PVC pipe is easy and fun to work with); because you will want to be able to raise them as the plants grow--but keeping the lights close to the sprouts is helpful.

A "soil-less" planting mix should keep molds and odors minimized, but you will need periodic fertilizer.

If your indoor air is dry, you can use your bins to keep you plants from drying out by putting a layer of gravel in the bottom (maybe an inch or so), then setting the plants (in pots) on top of the gravel. Keep the gravel wet--as long as the plant itself is not sitting in the water, you should not have roots rotting.

I think your biggest advantage will be your grow lights! Good luck!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
March 31, 20100 found this helpful

Jilson, Thank you so much for your feedback. I'm going to print it out and save it for this winter. Hopefully then I can get some seeds to sprout and give me some flowers for next spring!

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April 2, 20100 found this helpful

I also think you are trying to do too much with the storage bin. The lights and other instructions will be a great thing and should get you through. Good luck

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
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