My husband eats boatloads of yogurt which is great for his digestive system, but not great for our waste stream. I know, I know, I will start making my own yogurt very soon. In the meantime, I have found good use for those hard to recycle plastic containers: planting pots.
Some facilities do take these large plastic yogurt containers, but not ours. We know that they are made from recyclable plastic, though and refuse to just throw them away. We have a drawer full of these containers as a result. They are great for storing left-overs, scooping dog food, etc, etc, but there are a LOT of them and now I have found an even better use.
This season quite by accident, I planted one seed of a Brandywine tomato in a yogurt cup full of soil. (Because of a glitch in the company’s seed counting machine, they had only included one seed in the package! They sent more later.) I found that the tomato seed planted in the larger container, however, out grew my six-pack planted seeds at a rate of at least 4:1. That is, the tomato planted in the yogurt cup is currently about 4 times larger than the ones in the six pack. Hmmm.
I know that it is not the special properties of the yogurt cup but the increased supply of micro and macro nutrients, root space, and water that gave this plant the edge, but hey, I have a lot of yogurt cups left and plenty more seeds where that came from. In fact I have more seeds and yogurt cups than I do window sills, so for now I am transplanting a few small plants from the six packs to see the change in growth.
When I move the operation outside to the greenhouse, I will put these plants into even larger containers and see if I can get flowers by the end of this month. It is always a race with tomato plants in Vermont. Our season is so short.
In terms of the ever-so-necessary hole in the bottom, I didn’t make one yet. I have just been very controlling about the water that I add. I have found that trying to hammer a nail through the bottom doesn’t work, it shatters the plastic (even if you fill it with frozen water first). I will attempt it with a small drill soon. When that time comes, I have found that the lids of these yogurt containers make for good trays to catch the overflow.
I plan to sell some of these tomato plants at the Jamaica Farmers' Market this summer. Mention this article and I will sell you tomato plants (in the yogurt cups) at a two for one rate. As for the original Brandywine, that one is all mine!