Each milk jug catches the light and creates a “nano-climate” — smaller than a microclimate — that’s warmer on the inside than the outside. The seeds inside should sprout earlier, but when they do, they’ll be protected from the wind and the cold by the jug, which lets in just enough air through the cut in the side to harden the seedlings, and just enough moisture out through the top so nothing rots. Extending the season is one of the great challenges of gardening in Maine and, so far, the milk jug technique has been really good to me.

Also, one of this year’s experiments: Placing the milk jugs on the very same beds where their seedlings will be planted. I hope this reduces any shock they will feel from being transplanted.