Sunday, 27 March 2016

Recycling Infant Formula tins and reusing vegetable "castoffs"

My sister had a pyramid of formula tins at her house and I told her to fill them up with kitchen food waste and I'd put it into my compost. I ended up with a whole lot of tins, and she ended up with a lot less junk in her house.

My mother told me that her sister (my aunt) would get old tins and use them as planters. Her whole garden was filled with them, so I thought I'd give it a try.

First you have to drill drainage holes in the bottom. I didn't have a drill at the time but I used a hammer and nail to make holes. But now we have a drill and I drill the holes.

Then I put a small layer of dry leaves and some shredded newspaper at the bottom, so that I wouldn't have so much dirt falling out the holes.

I filled it up with potting mix and depending on whether I had any worm castings, I'd add that when the container was about 3/4 full. Otherwise I'd mix in some blood and bone into the potting mix when the container was 3/4 full.

I had tried a whole variety of different things in the tins, but on the internet, people tend to stick to herbs. Obviously some of my experiments are not really good for the plants. I've tried a few things!

This was my first experiment with zucchini. As you can see the zucchini did well for a bit, but then soon it began to look rather sickly. It had plenty of water, and I put it on the ground in case roots wanted to dig into the soil to get more space. Next time I'll put them into a big pot!

These are dwarf beans on the left, and on the bottom right are some Thai Basil. The top right one had one rainbow chard seed, which is actually multi-germed and produce a few seedlings from each "seed."

Here is the base of a celery that I planted in one of these formula pots and it began to grow! I"m not sure how big it will get or whether I will get any usable celery from it, but it was a fun experiment. In the background is curly leaf parsley.

I also had one crop of coriander which I have already harvested. Gotta grab them before they bolt to seed though!

I had seen other people recycling their formula tins, and painting them first so they weren't so ugly to look at.

Onions are the other thing that I had planted to see if I could grow and they did sprout, but did not do well after that. I read that they need a lot of nitrogen, so I may have to fertilize a little more frequently!

It's solidly into Autumn now so I still have time to plant and get a crop before winter. I did make a raised bed in the middle of the chook area, but I wasn't sure what I could put in it that the chickens won't scratch or eat. I found this list on

  • Garlic, Onions and Leeks
  • Potatoes
  • Squashes
  • Legumes
  • Chives, Mint, Rosemary, Tarragon and Sage
  • Rhubarb (they will occasionally eat the young leaves but don’t seem to get ill)
  • Climbing beans once established
  • Currant Bushes (established and without fruit)
  • Asparagus (once in leaf)
  • Lavender

Here's hoping! It's weighing day tomorrow, so I hope the chickens have put on some weight!

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