It is always a risk to set out plants early, but for those of us who have had a long hard winter the first warm days bring out the desire in us to get the season started. Many years ago I learned a trick that will protect young cold hardy plants from dips back into the 20's and get them growing faster and bring those fresh tasty treats to the table a few weeks sooner than usual. I hate waste of any sort and we save every milk jug we get and have friends at church save them for us as well. I use 500 to 600 each year to ferment tomato seed in the fall but save a few for covering young seedlings. These jugs have been used for 3-4 years and are far from ideal but I like to get as much use as possible out of them. If you are diligent and pick them up quickly after the 2-3 weeks they cover the plants and hang them in a building out of the sun they will last much longer. I simply plant the cabbage family plants in the ground as usual and then cut the lower rim off of the milk jug and push it in the ground and mound some soil up around to prevent wind damage. I also use these later on for tomatoes and peppers if I want to try and early crop for eating. I never plant my tomatoes and peppers for seed crop early. Today I planted cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, celery and celeriac. Our English Shepherd Penny who will be 2 tomorrow has to be everywhere I am and was tired today and took a nap between the rows. She hates the rabbits that are a problem so I am glad her scent is near a rabbits favorite crop. Depending upon the weather I will remove the jugs in 2-3 weeks as the plants push to the top.
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