Reusing tin cans

I enjoy cooking. …most of the time. Sometimes though, I just don’t feel like it. In my spurts of not wanting to cook, I try to do very easy things for dinner; which normally include a can of green beans, corn or tomatoes for pasta. I always feel bad about throwing away those cans. There must be something I can do with them!

Of course, I know that taking them to a recycling center is the first thing that popped into your head. Yes, me too, but then I think that 4 cans is not really worth a trip. So then I save them… They stack up… They grow to have their own garbage can… yada yada yada. I decided to put them to good use and use them as a container for radishes and bunching onions. Here is what you will need and how to do it:

Materials: Used tin cans, a hammer, and a short screwdriver (or ice pick).

What you will need: cans, a hammer and a screw driver.


To be able to use the cans as a container and not drown the plants, drainage holes must be punched into the bottom of the can. Some of my cans had pull-off tops and some did not. If they had a lid still attached, I left it. On a sturdy surface (I was on concrete), lay your can up-side down. Put the tip of the screwdriver on the spot where you would like the hole and tap the bottom of the screwdriver with a hammer. Five to six holes for a regular size can should be sufficient, although if you decide to use a larger can, make more holes. I would recommend using a short screwdriver or ice pick (the length shorter than the height of the can) for this so to minimize the chance in damaging yourself, your tools or your work surface.

Drainage holes -- check!

Drainage holes — check!

Once the holes are complete, fill with potting soil and seed!

Time to recycle some!

Time to recycle some!

It is best to choose a plant that will not get very large or has smaller root systems. For example, I chose radishes and bunching onions. While the main eatable portion of these vegetables are the roots, they are smaller. By only seeding 2-4 seeds per can, there is still room for them to grow. If I do notice that they are getting over-crowded, I can harvest or thin them as needed. Consider the size of the cans you have when deciding what you want to grow.

By using the cans, I was able to write the date and what was planted directly on the can container and not feel the least bit bad about it. The attached lids became the perfect plant identifier; fewer labels to worry with! The cans may also be easily moved if bad weather shows up.



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