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Sorry if this has already been posted, I hav'nt been on here in a while.

My girlfriend and I have been wanting to do some indoor gardening just to see if we can do it. So, the first thing I thought of was getting some good food grade 5 gallon buckets. Of course you can buy them but seeing as how I want to do this as cheap as possible I started thinking of places to get food grade buckets for free and low and behold after pricing some potting soil and fertilizer we stopped at one of the local chinese buffets to grab a bite to eat. Outside filled half way up with sand as for an ashtray was a food grade 5 gallon soy sauce container. After eating I asked the manager if they would be willing to sell me any of the empty buckets they had and she said I was more than welcome to take all of them and they would even start saving them for me if I was going to start coming in and getting them.

We have about 6 buffets in my neighborhood so, after the first of the year I'll be talking to all of them to get as many as I can and the soy sauce buckets come with closeable lids.

Also, on my way home from the buffet I stopped in at a local pizza shop/bar to grab a six pack and noticed in the dumpster they had a million empty tomatoe sauce cans so, I grabbed a case of them, brought them home, cleaned them and took the labels off. They are about as big as a coffee can.

Do you guys think it would be o.k. to plant herbs, tomatoes, etc..in the metal tomatoe paste cans?

hope the chinese buffet idea helps anybody in need of good food grade buckets as it has me.

take care all. dominic
 

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I work at a Tex-Mex restaurant and we just throw all that out. I will have to start saving some of those things too. You should be fine growing small plants in the cans.
 

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I am an avid veggie and herb gardener. Yes, you can plant in the metal #10 tomato paste cans.

Note ... plants need drainage ... so punch a few holes with a nail punch or hammer a nail to make the holes for drainage. The best set-up is to put some rock pebbles or marbles chips about 1-2 inches deep in the bottom of the can before filing up with soil.

Now tomatoes can have very broad and deep root systems, so your metal can's won't be enough to grow a tomato plant to harvest. But the cans are good for planting seeds and growing juvenile plants and then transplanting them in a raised bed or other location.

Many herbs don't have deep root systems, so these cans would work well. However, any "pot" - metal food tin, terra cotta, etc. - tend to dry out more quickly tan beds in the ground, so monitor water carefully. Also, because pots and other above ground containers are exposed to the weather, plants will suffer from heat and cold more readily than plants in the ground. Use several inches of mulch - I find the shredded cypress mulch is best because the natural oils repel insect pests and doesn't float away in heavy rain as does pine bark nuggets. This is because the cypress wood is cut in long strands ad they lock together better than the less dense, square and lighter pine bark nuggets. Mulch also keep the soil cool and hence the plants' roots at a more constant temperature. Mulch also helps the soil retain water/moisture longer so the plant roots don't dry out and you don't have to water as often.

I have plants in raised beds, in the ground and in pots. I use mulch in all three situations, including pots.
 
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