How to Turn Soup Cans Into a Garden
From the Archives. Originally posted July 4, 2013.
For the last few weeks, I have been working on a way to add space to my outside garden. I get really good light on my back deck and my existing window boxes are thriving. I thought about building a few more but I wanted to try something different. After a few large meals I noticed I had quite a collection of large tin cans in our recycling bin. They are sturdy, large enough for a decent sized plant and would make good planters. I came up with a plan to use these cans to add a ton of space to my garden.
First I measured the width of the vertical garden I built last fall. I wanted to make sure that what ever I built would fit inside of it once it turned colder. I then cut my wood to the proper length and placed everything together for a mock up. After a little re-arranging I finalized my design and drilled holes for the mounting screws. After I drilled all the holes I then tapped the screws in but only part way, I wanted to make sure the cans were snug when I secured them to the wood frame.
It took quite a while to mount the cans on the frame. I had to go in and out a few times on each screw to make sure it was as tight as possible. I then flipped the whole thing up side down to make it easier to drill the drain holes in the bottom of the each can.
I used a 7/32 sized drill bit to make four holes in the bottom of each can. I added the chains mounted the assembly to my rail. It was only after I took a few pictures that I decided I wanted to paint everything. I wish that thought would have come to me before I put everything together but live and learn right!?
After taking everything off the railing and a few coats of paint, I remounted both sets of cans and added some soil. I filled each can about 3/4 of the way full. I did this for two reasons, I wanted the seedlings to have a little protection from the wind and I was running out of soil (I had just enough). With the soil filled to the proper level, I added in my seeds. I had sixteen spots available but I wanted to double up on the ones I liked a lot. I planted green onions, thyme, peas, beans, spinach, parsley, dill, swiss chard, cilantro, and jalapenos.
If all goes well, I should have some seedlings sprouting in a few weeks. Of course I will post lots of pictures as everything comes in. This was a really easy project and looks really cool on my back porch. I did all the work in a few hours and it cost me almost nothing to put together. I definitely recommend it as a good project for beginners or anyone who has an abundance of large cans. :) -Green on!