Potting up the upcycling way

April 22, 2010

It’s busy, busy in the garden and today I’m quite excited because it was finally time to pot up some of my tomato seedlings!

I was determined not to buy any more flower pots this year and remembered this great idea from an episode of Gardeners’ World a year or so ago. The trick is to save up your old tin cans and pot into those. You need to use the ring-pull type, and ones with a nice smooth painted inside — I found that chopped tomato cans seem to be the right kind.

Discard the ring-pull lid part (put it in the recycling), carefully wash the can and dry it, then turn it upside down and remove the base with a tin-opener. You’re left with a tin tube and a flat circle. Drop the circle back inside and it sits nicely on the rim of what was previously the top of the can. The result is a bit like a loose-bottomed sponge-cake tin. It’s great for drainage, and when you’re ready to plant your little plant out into a grow-bag or into the garden, you can push it up out of the can from the bottom without damaging the roots. And once you’re done you can put the cans out to be recycled. How nifty is that?

As well as the tomatoes, everything’s growing and growing. The plants seem to be really enjoying the lovely spell of warm, sunny weather we’re having at the moment. We’ve already had one mini-harvest from the mixed salad and there will be loads for this weekend.

The little nasturtiums I grew from seed collected from my balcony last year are shooting up particularly fast. I’ve been interested to read about Life on the Balcony’s Nasturtium Seed Scarification Experiment as I had no idea that soaking or scarification of the seeds was recommended. I didn’t do either of these things and five out of my ten seeds germinated which I don’t think is too bad a result really. As you can see they’re turning into thriving little plants!

But maybe the most exciting of all is my little courgette plant! Well, I say little — here it is with just two days’ growth! If it carries on growing at this speed I will need a bigger greenhouse! Can’t wait to get some home-grown courgettes to eat. Delish.



  1. Don’t know if you saw the update to the scarification project, but I sowed 12 seeds, and the only ones that have not germinated were the ones I soaked for 3 hours. The ones I filed germinated in 5 days!

  2. What a lovely little crop you have there!! I haven’t tried reusing old cans but it’s a great idea. I always save my pots from previous years, wash them out carefully and leave to dry to reuse but I’m certainly going to give this idea a go too!!

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