I have never grown veggies in little containers before but I am planning on upcycling some of my tin cans for this purpose (I currently use cans for all sorts of other uses such as candles, pen holders, vases etc etc). In my current flatting situation there is no garden whatsoever so I need an alternative!

Anyhow, my question is: am I better off using something like Yates Seed Raising Mix or can I get away with an all purpose potting mix instead? I am planning on raising spring onions from seed (for starters) and would prefer it if I can just sow them straight into the cans with one type of potting mix and Bob's your uncle, onions in several weeks...

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Since seeds contain stored nutrients to get the plant started, many seed raising mixes contain no or few nutrients.  A seed raising mix should have (1) good water retention and (2) sterility (minimal chance of containing weed seeds which will compete).

If you want to plant and grow on without transplanting, I would look at a potting mix, probably further enriched with a good compost. Brand-wise, I would go for Daltons over Yates, and preferably their organic range.

I don't think I would use tin cans - they will definitely oxidise (rust) to some extent, and I don't know if Iron oxide is good for plants.

The biggest problem with small-container growing is keeping the moisture level perfect.

When starting tomatoes indoors, I pot up small seedlings into the 75mm plastic pots that single-seedlings are sold in (or small Polythene planter bags). Then I cut 2 litre milk bottles in half lengthwise. The half without the handle gives a water bath that will hold two (sometimes three) pots. Bottom watering encourages root growth and allows more even moisture with less frequent watering.

Plants which can be harvested quickly are a good choice. Yes to spring onions, and yes to microgreens.


Thanks for your help Richard!.

Brand-wise my options are rather limited: Yates, Tui, Results, and Buy Right, all from the local Mitre 10. Preference of those four? The water bath idea is great, I hadn't even considered that. I have plenty of icecream containers that I can use for this purpose. 

Hi Vickie.. I don't know much about it myself, but would assume you would need to add nutrients to the soil as stuff from the shop isnt fabulous living soil..  I watch this YouTube channel; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jmlcb2c7dzY, or follow @Ray RayRay on facebook... he has plenty of useful tips on container soil etc and is upbeat and easy to watch. Hope he helps you as much as has my garden. :-)

Cheers :) I will watch that video now. 

If you have enough space for the poly boxes that fish and meat is sold in, they make great planter boxes with drainage holes poked into the base & raised up on the upturned lid as a drip tray. I fill the bottom 2/3 with bokashi bucket contents and top with potting mix. All the better if you have some worm casts to add to the mix to help add further nutrients and break down the bokashi. Have successfully grown garlic, spring onions, lettuces and tomatoes in this mix and makes good use of kitchen scraps:)

That's a good idea, and given that I live in a fishing community they shouldn't be hard to come by either. Thanks.

Hi Vickie :

Plastic containers are better. While waiting for spring onions, I suggest finding onion weed, ( actually wild 3 cornered garlic ),

from a site NOT contaminated by vehicle exhaust fumes, etc. Mild, grow all winter, leaves, flowers, and bulbs are edible.

I have them on my property, and in a container, on my deck. cheers, Dennis

Onion weed! That used to grow all over the place I grew up in, never realising it was edible. Amazing! I just found a delicious recipe on Google for the flowers in tempura batter, yum. 

It seems to be the general consensus that cans aren't good for growing so I have been saving up my 1 litre milk bottles to use instead. My newly decorated cans can go into my box of future soy candle containers. :) Thanks for all the comments. 

I'd definitely be very cautious about using tin cans, especially ones lined internally with a white plastic coating... It's applied to reduce reaction between the contents and the tin, especially acidic food like tomatoes etc... The plastic coating typically contains Bisphenol A (BPA) which has hormone disrupting qualities... it has been shown to be a synthetic xenoestrogen (mimics the effect of estrogen). Quite a lot of debate about how serious a problem it is by there are plenty of BPA "free" product modifications being done by manufacturers... so yeah... a non-food growing use might be a very good idea! 



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