Meet Roger Higgins from Roger’s Backyard Nursery in Cranesville, Pa. Every one of those plastic jugs next to Roger contains seeds. Some are perennial seeds, some might be Dogwood Seeds, maybe some Japanese maple seeds.
Some of the jugs are milk jugs, the bigger jugs are kitty litter jugs. If you look closely Roger has each jug numbered and he has a record in the house of what’s in each jug. Pretty organized right?
In our recent trip to Roger’s nursery Duston and I shot several videos that day with Roger. It was raining and at times pretty much pouring. Duston was shooting the videos with an I-pad and we didn’t want the device to get soaked so Roger went in and got Duston this cute umbrella. To protect the device of course! Roger and I got soaked, I was taking stills with my phone and it got soaked. But we had a good time as you’ll see in the videos as I post them.
And we captured a lot of great information.
Roger will tell you that he is a machinist by trade and knew little about growing plants until he found https://mikesbackyardnursery.com/. But I have to tell you, Roger has been an awesome student and he has the coolest backyard nursery ever, and he sells a lot of plants out of his backyard in the rural community of Cranesville, Pa. And he’s a nice guy!
Be sure to watch the video as Roger and I discuss how he grows these seeds and he explains how he makes these little greenhouses out of plastic jugs. Roger is an innovator and he found a way to improve upon a method that has been around for a long time.
In the video you can see how wet we are!
Thanks Roger for allowing us to invade your backyard and tell Venice that a little rain won’t hurt her. She stayed in the house! However, I’ll bet during plant selling season she gets plenty wet on rainy days while she tends to selling plants when Roger is at work.
Great people both of them! Love having them as Members.
Me swapping spit with a donkey?
For those of you who love to see the donkeys, I’ve created a page just for you,
“The Donkey Chronicles”.
Questions, comments, mean things to say? Post them below and I’ll respond.
Love the idea of milk jugs.
Do the jugs have to be white?
No, I don’t think so.
I wonder weather this method would work here. Some seeds need really cold to germinate and it would not be good to protect them (at least not in my climate were the temperature rarely drops under 5 below freezing) I wonder which seeds would like the cozy atmosphere and which would like it a bit colder. The good thing about the jugs is that the light is somewhat filtered I literally cooked some seeds with an old window pane….
judy whitworth says
refrigerator is 40 degrees that is were we stradtisfie so i don’t think it needs to be as cold as one thinks. just saying..
Ron Knight says
Great info Mike. Thanks a bunch! will this home made green house work with starting vegetable seedlings as well?
It will, but I’d the veggies inside where it’s warm and not let them freeze.
Tammie Milburn says
My Lentin Rose seeds are starting to come up around it last year .
I recall u saying something about how hard it is to start from them from seed.
I didn’t touch them. This year they r a little taller plus I have lots of new starts coming up again this year.
Is it possible to transplant the ones from last yr. into some kind of small
Pot or would it be best to leave them alone for another yr or so? I also have some of my Hosta’s seeds
coming up in all kinds of places in my shade Garden. I never knew Hosta’s would multiply a few feet from the original ones.
I need to move the ones that have started coming up this yr. This will be their 3rd yr.
it’s so exciting.
I would appreciate any advice u can give me.
You can transplant some of the roses now, especially if they haven’t leafed out yet. If they do have leaves just be careful to loosen the soil so as to not break any roots as you move them. Hosta can actually be transplanted, even divided later in the spring once they finish that spring flush of new growth. Just cut the tops back as they will wilt down any way. But let them flush out with new growth first, allow that growth to harden off for a few weeks, then you can move them.
ED HOLT says
1st of all I love all the information that I get from you folks. Just want to say Thank You to Mike , Dustin, and Roger great information. I also
like the way y’all speak in layman’s terms so simple minded people like me understands everything you say and explain. My thoughts to Alfred B.. about the problem with pachysandra. IF you don’t see nothing like insects or any type of disease,I would probably go to my knees with a hand shovel and scrap back the top soil very gently keeping a sharp eye out for anything that looks out of place
Do just a little poking around with the tool again very gently you may find your problem that way. Also as you are doing the process of elimination think of everything you’ve done in the past to see if you have changed anything. If all else fails you are in the perfect position to pray about it that helps me with most anything. God bless
Thanks Ed, great information.
phyllis lobbins says
I’ve been using the winter sowing method for a few years now, and I also use twist ties to close the jugs.
I think any video on winter sowing should mention Trudie Davidoff who pioneered the method.
I agree and since I’ve never really researched it I was unaware of who pioneered the method so thanks for sharing this information.
Mike Smith says
I paid over $400 for a life time membership in Backyard Growers. I am trying to log in and can’t. I tried to reset pass word and can’t I get no response from Mike.
Mike Smith says
I’m sorry you are having a problem, I sent your info to Duston in the office, he will get you straightened out. If not tonight, for sure in the morning. Be sure to check your spam folder to make sure his messages are not going to spam. He checks our email several times a day.
When does he sow and when does he transplant?
Some things like Japanese maples and dogwood seeds are sown in the fall, perennial seeds later in the winter. I’ll see if I can get more detail about that from Roger.
Roger Higgins says
I do most of my perennial seeds starting about mid December and do some all through winter. When they start isn’t as important. They are dormant all winter just like in nature. The wet helps break down any hinderance for germination and that starts once it warms up.
They can be transplante as soon as they starty getting their real set of leaves. No hardening off is necessary with this method.
Great info Roger, thank you for helping out here.
Marta S says
Inspiring, Roger! Love to see how others do this. I’ll be copying you this coming winter for sure!
Roger Higgins says
Good luck Marta. Just make sure there are plenty of drainage holes in the bottom.
can you please email me the soil recipe ???/
the email I gave got rejected as INVALID..:(
Here are some tips on getting good potting soil;
Looking online for mulch is probably not the best place to look because many of the dealers who sell mulch really have little to no web presence at all. I’m sure there has to be some hardwood bark available in New Jersey.
I’d pick up the phone and start calling around. Garden Centers, landscapers and excavators will know who sells bulk hardwood bark mulch. These dealers are often hidden away on some side street.
I’d take a full day and visit as many garden centers and nurseries in your area that you can. Browse, ask some casual questions.
1. Do you know of anybody in the area that sells bulk mulch.
2. Do you know of anybody in the area that sells bulk potting soil.
3. What do most growers around here use as a potting mix.
Bulk potting soil is available, usually around $55 a yard, but worth it. But it’s not readily available in all areas and in most cases you need to send a truck to get it.
But it won’t cost anything to ask these questions. You’ll either get really good, answers, might get the brush off, or you might find somebody who loves to talk about growing plants and will bury you in valuable information.
Good info here about potting soil, https://mikesbackyardnursery.com/2014/12/mike-mcgroartys-secret-bed-building-and-potting-soil-recipe/
Roger Higgins says
I just use cheap bagged potting soil in the jugs. Don’t waste money on sterile soil because you will get some weeds in the jugs. I have even used old potting soil from potted annuals that I dumped.
My grandfather would have loved this. He specialized in trees. He would cut away the corner opposite of the handle and plant trees and seeds in them. He must have had at least a 1000 or more in his back yard! Thank you for the walk down Memory Lane!
Great idea, I think this would work particularly well here in the dry southwest as it would contain needed moisture. My question is, how do you transplant these seedlings so that they can be placed in containers for sale? Thanks for the always valuable information!
Once they are big enough and hardy enough to transplant you can slip the whole jug full out on to a bench the slowly work them apart. Or prick them out when smaller and transplant into small cell packs.
Roger Higgins says
You may need to use the lid to keep moisture in the jug and actually water them if you don’t get raiin. This method relys on nature’s watering system.
Alfred Beronio says
Mike, wha’ts going on this year? My daffodils are going gangbusters like I have never seen including ones I never divided. But my pachysandra is going south, big timme, in large well established beds
Alfred, it’s been a crazy winter, that’s up with the daffodils, but the pachysandra? Not sure. All I can say is give it some time and see how it looks in a few weeks.