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Using Milk Jug Irrigation

written by: Laura Jean Karr•edited by: Lindsay Evans•updated: 11/18/2010

Recycle your own plastic milk jugs and use them to help keep your garden hydrated.

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    Water With Milk Jugs

    Going green while gardening can be simpler than many might think it would be. The opportunities for recycling and upcycling when growing your own food and household plants are endless, with the only limitations being your location and your imagination.

    One great way to upcycle a common household item and incorporate it into a useful gardening tool is by reusing your milk jugs. Plastic milk jugs can provide a sturdy and reliable way to set up a drip style watering system in any home garden. Here we take a look at how you can set up your own milk jug irrigation system.

    For more information on green gardening techniques, check out The Benefits of Green Gardening which explains both the benefits to personal health and the local environment by planting green and Designing a Sustainable Vegetable Garden: Tips and Tricks.

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    milk-jug-cloches The first step in this system is to keep those plastic milk jugs after household use. Make sure to wash them thoroughly with hot soap and water to remove any milk residue that may remain after use in the plastic jug.

    Next, you will want to gauge the watering needs of the areas in which you are going to use this irrigation system. For example, if you have a small plot for perennials you'll only use two milk jugs. If you have a larger growing plot for food then you will want to add two milk jugs per plant for irrigation purposes.

    After you have your milk jugs cleaned and dried, take a sewing needle and poke five holes into the bottom of the jugs. Next you will want to fill the jug half way with water, put the lid on and turn the jug upside down so as not to let the water leak out. The key to using and implementing a milk jug irrigation system is in the drip from the holes that you make in the bottom of the jug. After you make the holes, test the dripping in the sink before placing in the ground next to your plants. Too much water coming out quickly can flood the plants.

    The final step in the process is to choose your irrigation area. Place the milk jug bottom down into the dirt next to the plant. Be sure to remove the plastic cap from the top of the jug. Check the water level in the jug and the soil dampness over the next few days to ensure that you are getting the drip irrigation that you want for your plants' needs.

    A quick overview of the steps involved are as follows:

    • Save Milk Jugs
    • Clean Milk Jugs
    • Cut Holes into Bottom of Milk Jugs
    • Test Drip Milk Jugs Over Sink
    • Fill Milk Jugs with Water
    • Place Milk Jugs as Needed

    The whole process is quick, simple and a great way to garden in a green way!

    *image used is provided by and © 2010 The Door Garden