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Home Made Greenhouse

When starting out with growing from seed it's easy to go way get caught up and buy everything on a shelf to help you grow from seed. One of the things that I always want to buy are those plastic mini-greenhouses for seed starting. The thing that keeps me from buying them is the small size and usually the price.

I guess I'm too cheap to spend the money on them, so like many people before me I decide to make my own. The one in the photos attached is made from an ordinary soda bottle I cut in-half, poked drainage holes, filled with soil and added seeds to it. The top I just slid inside the bottom half to close the bottle back up. I know some people use tape to seal it but I don't find it necessary. If you cut a few vertical slits along the rim of the bottom half it will make it easier to slide the top half down.

What you end up with is basically a little seed starting greenhouse that works just as well as the ones you buy at the garden centers but it only cost you about a dollar. The money you save you can spend on more seeds, pots, soil etc.

I leave my tops off of my home made greenhouses, and I find that even with the top off enough humidity gets trapped while allowing air circulation. No need to constantly be venting like with the commercially available ones.

I've added a picture of what the seedlings look like inside. The seedling you see are mixed Scabiosa seeds I traded for.


  1. MBT,

    I have not tried the plastic bottle as described but I wonder where I would find the space for them - I have been looking for smaller and smaller options because I sow like 60-100 packs of seed at a time.

    Occasionally I use the little Crystal Lite tubs - very convenient size (small, shallow).

    My problem is that I need to keep humidity down very early (climate is very different) so I have to release my seedlings from under plastic and move to a mesh cover that allows air circulation within 2 weeks of germination.

  2. Janine,

    Given their shape, space is not a big issue. The problem you'll find is trying to figure out where to put the extra pounds you'll gain from drinking so much soda.

    But I keep mine (bottles that is) in those plastic crates they use to deliver gallons of milk. They're the kind you may see some people use as a step-stool or seats. They're durable, they stack atop each other and I can fit 7 of the 2 liter bottles inside of them. Plus have room for the small odd shape continers like the baked potato dish from Wendy's that I can rest on top of the bottles.

    Once they sprout if you need more ventilation you can heat up a screw driver (or something similar) and poke holes in the tops of the bottles, if just keeping the cap off is not allowing enough air. You could also cut more slits in them but I think it would be easier to be able to poke holes in them with the hot piece of metal rather than take out each bottle and cut some ventilation slits or holes.

    Also, if you have a Hispanic grocer near you (or Hispanic section in your larger stores) check out some of the drinks imported from Mexico. I found some apple juice in 1.5L plastic bottles. They're much narrower than the 2 Liter bottles and in the same crates I managed to fit 10 bottles.

  3. Hmmm, seven in a crate? That's even les that using the 4" pots in baggies. The last set that I did in crates were in the 6-cell rectangular trays and fit 4 of those in each crate.

    I have, for my seeds sowed in March, used seedling trays (7 across by 14) - cut them to fit into a 9" X 13" baking tray and them germinated in plastic. Moved from that to a white fabric (little heavier than cheesecloth) cover for each tray and just water by putting water into the baking tray which is soaked up into each cell.

    I'm going to start pricking out fairly young (like at 2 months) so I can work with the tiny germination space.

    If you want to see how they are doing check my Sticky Fingers blog one or two entries ago

  4. Janine,

    I went to your blog and saw your pics. Very cool. I'm guessing those are C&S seedlings right? I have some M. Plumosa and Lithop seeds I have to start but I keep waiting for warmer weather.

    Yes, I only fit 7 bottles per crate but each bottle can start (depending on the amount of seed available) over a hundred seeds. I pick them out at various stages. I just picked out a clump of seedlings today from one bottle. I did so because all the seeds had germinated and the bottle was full. The clump was about 60 seedlings and two thirds of the bottle was still filled with seedlings.

    I saw you moderate your comments...and I'm guessing you do so because of the spammers. Don't know if you are aware but they've added word verification to the comments. If you allow for anyone to post a comment you can turn on word verification in your template and they have to type in the word on the screen. I used to moderate the comments but the WV has cut out all of those poker spamming bots that came by.

    If you don't mind I'll link you on my blog since you're a lover of C&S.

  5. I turned on comment moderation after I got a comment that linked back to a site with porn photos. Don't know if it was because of the title of my post "mamms" or what but I just didn't want to have to deal with all manner of things. Guess I should look back at it and see how best to set it up. Also, I wasn't publicising my site so I didn't expect any traffic.

    All my seedlings right now are cacti. I haven't done so well with the other succulents and thought maybe my climate is too hot so I need to figure out how to keep them alive.

    I usually work with the 30-seed packet of each species and only go up to 100 for mixes - but then I am trying to get away from the stress of trying to figure out what is what when they grow up.

    Don't mind if you link me on your blog - I already linked you (without your permission). Hope that's okay.

  6. Anonymous10:36 PM

    im new to the growing world, how does humidity effect germination of seeds and how do you know what humidity level you need. any info would be appreciated thank you Greg--

  7. Greg,

    The humid air is warmer and warmth is a signal to the seed that it is time to sprout. Also, moisture levels help break down the seed coat allowing the seed to emerge.

    Hope this helps.



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