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With some creativity you can protect your young tomato seedlings and get a jump on the growing season. This is a guide about protecting tomato seedlings.
I just planted my garden for this year. I had started the plants indoors, and we live in the Panhandle of Texas where we get LOTS of wind. I planted these small delicate plants on a very nice day. Then, of course, this morning the wind started blowing. I'm concerned the small plants will be blown to death, and I'll be out there with nothing left in my garden.
So, I got some 2 liter bottles that I had in my recycling bin. I also had some water bottles saved for recycling too. I cut the bottom and the top off and slid them down over my small delicate plants to protect them from the wind. They will still receive the light and I can still water them. This is working great for these plants.
By Nana from Panhandle of Texas
I had trouble with the bottles blowing away and the bottom of the bottles curling up. I used a hole punch to put holes on opposite sides of the bottle and then used earth staples to hold the bottles down. This has made a big difference because I didn't have to push the bottles down so far in the dirt and the plants could grow larger before the bottles had to be removed.
Another use for toilet paper rolls. If you start plants that produce fragile seedlings (like sweet peas) that don't like transplanting, plant them vertically encased in a toilet paper roll. When it's time to transplant, remove the roll and seedling from your medium intact and transplant the whole thing. The roll protects the plant during the transport and after relocating. Then the roll just biodegrades into your soil.
Source: Garden Club info on winter seeding.
By Jeannie from Vancouver BC
You can cut the tube open long-wise to place it around the seedling's stem. But I just held the leaves together gently and slipped it down over the plant. Be sure to push it into the ground for stability. You don't want it to blow over in a wind and break your seedling. I mounded some soil up around it as well to keep it securely in place.
Once the plant is well established and not such a tasty target for garden varmints, you can remove the tube. After being rained on and watered, it will be easy to tear or cut with scissors. The photo shows a sunflower seedling protected among the purple coneflower plants.
By Gloria from upstate NY
Anxious to get our tomato seedlings into the ground, I thought of a way to protect the cute little plants from birds. Grab an old metal cloths hanger by the hook end with one hand and grab the middle of the longer (bottom) part of the hanger with the other hand.
When you want to grow a small amount of seeds, and know exactly where you've planted them, use a toilet paper tube.
It's a universal experience among gardeners, especially in the spring-yanking out a weed only to find out later it was really a "wanted". Weeds will do whatever it takes to survive, even disguising themselves as other plants.
My sweet grandson always comes over to weed eat in my yard. He cannot tell a weed from a new plant I've put out and has hacked a few of my plants down by accident. Now I cut the top and bottom out of a tin can.
Young trees are a favorite snack of hungry deer, especially in the spring and fall while there's still snow on the ground. Most young pines can recover from minor amounts of repeat browsing as long as the terminal bud remains intact.
Use the free supermarket plastic carrier bags as small windbreaks for recently planted seedlings.
During hot days, put pinestraw on top of new trees or plants to keep the sun from burning them.
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Cut off the tops of 2 liter plastic soft drink bottles to use to protect seedlings (and to discourage cutworms). Use the bottoms of the bottles as saucers for potted plants. They work great and will protect surfaces from spills if you over water.
By Laurie from Fairbanks, AK
By Lisingreece from Greece