Save those milk jugs when you're finished with them. These clever ideas will forever change your garden game.

By Heather Luckhurst

You don't always need big-box-store, expensive products to achieve a successful garden. Little do most gardeners know, some of their household staples make the best garden tools. While some of these ideas may seem unconventional (ahem, wine bottle), they actually work! These little effort, low- or no-cost garden hacks are sure to simplify your gardening routine.

Milk Jug Watering Can

Need to water a large potted plant, but don't have a watering can? Simply make one yourself by drilling holes in the top front of a plastic milk jug, opposite the handle. Fill the jug with water and use on plants as needed.

Wine Bottle Irrigator

Don't let your houseplants die because you forgot to water them. Our favorite self-watering hack is making an irrigator from an empty wine bottle—it's super simple to do. Start by drilling 3-4 small holes in the lid of a twist-off wine bottle. Then, fill the bottle with water and place the lid back on the bottle. Invert the wine bottle into your potted plant to keep it perfectly irrigated for longer periods of time.

Coffee Filter in a Pot

If you're worried about soil falling through the drainage holes of your potted plants, a coffee filter is an easy fix. Place the coffee filter in the pot before filling it with dirt and adding plants. This trick will keep dirt from spilling out of the bottom while ensuring proper drainage.

Self-Cleaning & Sharpening Tool Holder

This do-it-yourself tool cleaner not only cleans your tools at the end of the season, but the materials used will sharpen them, too. Spray a terra cotta pot the color of your choice and let dry. Tape up the drainage hole on the inside of the pot (we used a small piece of duct tape). Inside the pot, mix enough sand to fill, along with 10-20 ounces of mineral oil. Use a garden trowel to mix the sand and the oil. Stick whatever hand tools you need cleaning or sharpening in the container.

Editor's Tip: If you can't find mineral oil, use baby oil, which is just a scented version of mineral oil.

Recipe Box Seed Holder

If you like to start plants from seeds, store your seed packets in one convenient place. To make this handy storage box, use an old recipe box (a small photo box works, too) and cut pieces of cardboard or colored card stock to make dividers for each of your seed categories. We like to use a small piece of clear tape to seal the packets before we file them away.

Milk Jug Cloche

Protect your outdoor potted and bedded plants with this DIY cloche—all you need is a milk jug. Carefully cut around the bottom of the jug using a boxcutter, removing the bottom of the jug. Place over plant to create a mini greenhouse and to protect seedlings from weather and pests.

Editor's Tip: Be sure to anchor the milk jug so that it stays put in the soil during heavier winds.

Key Ring Plant Tag Holder

Instead of leaving last year's plant tags shuffled around in your desk drawer, easily organize them with a key ring. Punch a hole in your plant tags in a place that won't impede your ability to read them. Slide the plant tags onto your key ring for easy, organized storage. Looking to buy the same plants next season? Break out your handy tag holder when you go to the garden center—it'll make tracking down your favorite plants a little more convenient.

Comments (3)

December 27, 2019
Love the key ring plant tag holder!!
February 12, 2019
Your video says to add mineral water to sand in a container to clean and sharpen tools. You meant mineral OIL (as is stated in the text of the article) ... you may want to try to edit that video
August 5, 2018
Really terrific and sensible ideas - I've been gardening for 50 yrs (!) and never thought if these - will use now! LInda Jean