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Plant Early With Mini-Greenhouses
Jim Shover plants early using dozens of 1-gal. greenhouses made from plastic water jugs. Planting seedlings under the uncapped jugs protects them against cold snaps without cooking them in hot spells. It also protects them against winds that can stress or even snap a tender seedling.
    “I can plant 1, 2 or even 3 weeks earlier than usual,” says Shover. “I keep the jugs in place until the leaves start to protrude from the neck of the jug.”
    Shover uses the little greenhouses to kick-start everything from strawberries to sweet corn in hills. As one crop gets past the danger stage, he moves the jugs to new seeds or seedlings just set out in his raised beds.
    There are multiple options for securing the jugs in place. When setting out plants that will spread and take up a lot of room in a bed, he will cut away 3 sides of the bottom of a jug. This allows him to set it in place with the bottom bent back and away and the large opening over the plant.
    “The fourth side of the bottom becomes a hinged flap that I can secure in place with a clod of dirt, a stone or half a brick,” says Shover. “I just push some dirt up over the other 3 edges to seal it.”
    If setting multiple jugs out in a row across the width of the garden beds, Shover can cut the jug bottom away completely and push them into the soil with handles facing the same direction. A length of rebar slipped through the handles provides needed weight to secure the jugs in place. It also provides a handle for lifting jugs away.
    Single jugs without bottoms can be secured simply by slipping them over a stick adjacent to a seedling. The stick is taller than the jug and sticks out of the top opening, keeping the jug from blowing over.
    “With the cap off, there is no worry about heat either,” says Shover. “The only damage comes when the leaves touch the side of the jug.”
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Jim Shover, P.O. Box 0799, Somerset, Ohio 43783.

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2016 - Volume #40, Issue #2