You’re possibly thinking of
starting a tin can veggie garden. For those of us inclined to recycle, this
seems like a great way to get another use from cans that held our vegetable,
fruits, soups, and meats. Add a drainage hole and some soil and you’re all set
to grow vegetables in tin cans, right?
Problems with Using Tin Can Planters
There are a few things to consider
if growing edibles in metal cans. When a tin can is opened and the inner layer
is exposed to oxygen, it begins to break down. If using an older can, make sure
there is no rust. This may still be present when you plant into the can (even
after washing) and can affect your veggie plant.
Some tin cans have an inner plastic
coating which can include BPA, and may also cause problems with planting food in
Another point to consider is that
many cans are no longer made from tin, but from aluminum.
So is it safe to grow food in
aluminum containers? We’ll look at these questions and answer them here.
Growing Veggies in Aluminum Cans
Considering the potential problems
mentioned above, use tin cans for a limited time when growing veggies – such as
for starting veggie seeds or growing small ornamentals that you’ll later
transplant. The size of the standard tin can prohibit full growth of a sizeable
plant anyway, even when planting in coffee cans.
Tin draws heat and cold quickly and
is not kind to the root system of plants. Aluminum conducts heat more
efficiently than tin for this purpose. Growing veggies in aluminum cans is more
practical than using tin. Most cans are a combination of both metals.
You might consider planting in
coffee cans that are larger. The larger coffee cans will accommodate a bigger
plant. If you’re using tin cans to save money, give them a coating of chalk
paint or hot glue some burlap and tie a jute twine for decoration. More than
one coat of paint helps them look good longer.
There are numerous tutorials online
for decorating your tin cans before planting. Always remember to add a few
drainage holes with a drill or a hammer and nails.