Turn a Storage Bin Into A Mini Greenhouse

To recount some of the greatest moments in human history, you’d have to include the ability to start a fire. And the invention of the wheel. Maybe the development of the automobile or achieving flight. But I would also say that a required addition to that list would include learning how to start seeds

I mean, without seed starting know-how, man would still be foraging for whatever he could gather within a reasonable distance from his home. Or he’d have to forage and live a nomadic life, going wherever the food happened to be at the time. 

But we don’t do that. We have gained the knowledge of seed germination, and with that, we’re able to grow all (or most) of our favorite foods, all in one place, in close proximity to our homes. 

On second thought…if I think about America in general. There is a lack of tendency for a household to grow its own food. And what foods we buy are usually shipped, trucked or flown in from miles away. I have to wonder are we devolving into a society of “digital foragers”, gathering food stuff from wherever we can source it, instead of producing it ourselves… 

But, I digress. 

Where was I? Oh yes, seed starting. 

Seed starting is at the very core of our gardening and homesteading activities. If you can germinate a seed, you can feed yourself. And possibly, the people around you. 

Most homesteaders start at least some of their crops from seed. And we all do that on different levels and employ different methods. 

Some of us have entire greenhouses that we fill with tiny little trays of seed babies. Some of us start an old cake pan in a windowsill. Many of us are somewhere in between. But we all have our own way, and we all have our own needs. 

For us here at Apple Valley Farm, we’re a homestead that runs very small. We have small garden areas and we run on a slim budget. So the idea of a full-sized greenhouse might as well be a dream of the White House for us! In short, we need to improvise

So being a little pressed for time this year, I had to come up with a way to get our seeds going quickly, and without a big cash outlay. I really needed to use what we already had, if possible. And having just a small need, I figured we could come up with something. 

I just happened to run across a Clear Plastic Storage Bin that I had gotten at Walmart for less than $5. A light went on in my head and before you know it, we were off and running. 

A greenhouse, no matter the size, is essentially a means for creating sort of a Seed Sauna. You need it to be protected and secure, but you mostly need it to be warm and humid. That’s what a germinating seed loves the most. 

So we figured we could use the clear bin, turned upside down, as a great way to let the sun provide the heating, and a good moist potting mix to ensure the humidity. 

After we grabbed a few planting containers from Amazon (see the link below), a bag of Potting Mix (any brand is fine), and a few other things around the house, we were ready to see if it all worked. 

We mixed water and potting mix about a 1:2 ratio in a bowl, just until it became (as our 11 year-old son said) like a dirt turd. Moist enough to squeeze water out of it, but firm enough to hold its shape. 

We ordered a few seeds from Eden Brothers (amazing company!). Then we filled the cups, put our seeds in and covered them, according to seed packet directions. Then we used a Spray Bottle to gently mist them with one last soaking. 

After that, we turned the Storage Lid upside down and arranged the planting containers on that. Then we covered it all with the Storage Container (turned upside down also), tucked them all in for a cozy sleep, and snapped it into place. 

Before you know it, heat was building and condensation was collecting! And now, when we lift the bin to check things, it has that amazing, earthy smell that only a greenhouse has! 

It’s working! Muwahahaha! 

And we spent less than $10 for the entre thing. Who can’t afford that? Now we’ve got 72 seed cups with potential little Collard and Beet seedlings, just waiting to break out into the light and head to the garden! 

In all seriousness, this was insanely simple to do. I know, if we can make it work, so can you. 


Hey, if you have questions (or suggestions), then comment and/or let us know. We’re definitely not the experts here, so we’re always up with fresh ideas, insight or advice. 

But if you need more, and you think a video will help, we’ll have one posted on our YouTube channel over at http://youtube.com/c/applevalleyfarmga 

Definitely check it out. And be sure to like, comment and subscribe to our channel while you’re there. 

Also, I’ll include a few links below, to some of the items we used or related items to what we do here on the AVF. FYI these are Affiliate Links so when you click on one of them to buy that product online, we earn a portion of the sale. It doesn't cost you anything extra, but it sure helps us. So thank you! :) 

Peace! See y’all next time! 

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