An Easy DIY Way to Feed Seedlings, Starts, and Transplants

Right now in my greenhouse, I have seeds sprouting, tomatoes waiting to be planted, and volunteer perennials I recently dug up and potted to give away to friends. I also have a few new plantings added to the garden beds. They all can benefit from a different type of plant food.

The gardener who likes to propagate plants tends to have a variety of products to help their creations grow and thrive. Most of these are sold in concentrated form that needs to be mixed with water—usually a gallon. I tend to use organic varieties—some of which, like fish emulsion, have a very strong odor, so mixing them is not my favorite chore. I want to be able to store my excess for future use.

The ideal container is lightweight and has a lid and a handle—an empty gallon milk jug fits the bill perfectly, and, it’s free! I found, though, that pouring direct from the jug can result in a bit too much flow—especially for emerging seedlings. I needed it to be more of a gentle shower than a spigot—a watering can of sorts.

Milk Jugs

The solution was obvious—punch some holes in the milk jug lid. All it took was a hammer and a hefty nail, and a block of wood. I spaced the holes evenly apart, then poked out the excess plastic with the end of my oven thermometer, and voila! I had a watering jug.

Milk jug lid, hammer & nail

Since I rarely use an entire gallon of food at a shot, I decided to make a jug for each of my fertilizer types, as well as one for plain water. With my trusty permanent marker, I hand-lettered the type of food on the top of the jug in a bold font that was easy to spot. Though the marker claims to be permanent, the lettering will likely fade over time, but it’s simple to touch up when needed.

Jugs with Marker

All that was left was to mix my concoctions using my trusted brands of liquid fertilizers and my measuring “shot glass.” Now I have a handy way to give my seedlings and transplants a boost, without a lot of fuss.

Ready to go