The Cottage Smallholder

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Growing tomatoes in large recycled olive tins

tomato plants in olive tinsAfter the disaster of my tomatoes getting what I thought was blight, the replacements that I bought are romping along. Good sturdy plants and much better than the understudies that were waiting in the greenhouse. These are growing but in a thin and straggly sort of way. I should have moved them to the cold frame much earlier on. Meanwhile it turns out the tomatoes with ‘blight’ didn’t have blight after all. If they had blight they would have turned black weeks ago. They are happily growing out of the carrier bags that I put them in and looking very healthy.

I put two new tomato plants in the large olive tins that I was given by the River Farm Smokery and they are doing really well in the kitchen garden. It was easy to prepare them for their new life as kitchen garden vessels. I took the tops off with a can opener and made lots of holes in the base of each tin with a hammer and a large nail (this made an enormous amount of noise and was rather fun). Each can holds about 18 litres of earth. They will have a bottle of reserve water when the weather gets a bit warmer.

Meanwhile, the decorative tins are giving me enormous pleasure. I have spotted them in gardens and on balconies abroad. Now I have my own. As they are a decent size there is no fear of them blowing over. Ah the joys of recycling.

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  1. Bruce

    I have mine in a half barrel and are going crazy but I live in AZ. and its around 100 every day. I am watering in the morning and they look beat in the eveing how much water should I give them each day ? your help will be appreciated.Bruce

  2. Fiona Nevile

    That’s a good point, Lynn. I cam move these tins easily. They are so much more decorative that grow bags.

  3. I just love your tins! I’ve grown vegetables in containers for many years. Even summer squash.

    We had a near infestation of squash beetles one year and so I grew the zucchini in large pots. I moved them around the garden. It helped.

  4. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Amanda

    I bet your local deli, or anywhere that sells olives, is chucking out loads of these tins each week. Dan has to pay to have them taken away.

    It might be worth asking around.

  5. Amanda

    They are beautiful. I keep being drawn back to that pic…

  6. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Ash,
    Poor you. Your holiday in England was torrential rain, on and off.

    I think that I will replant some of my tomatoes in the carrier bags at the weekend. They are so vigorous.

    Hi Sara,

    We grow loads of tomatoes at the front of the house to make into pasta sauce for the winter. These tins are an experiment.

    Hi Amanda,

    As Dan says he leaves the tops on (they have a large round hole in the top). The edges are quite sharp, so I’ve got them at the back of a border.

    Hi Dan,
    I wasn’t sure what to do. Next time I’ll try leaving the tops on. Still delighted with them, thanks.

  7. Fiona, I leave the tops on. I figure that way you loose less water through evaporation. Conversely, if they are outside then you get more rain in them…..

  8. Amanda

    The tins look great! Would probably be too dangerous for our garden with the sharp edges but they look superb!

  9. farmingfriends

    Your olive tins look great. Can’t wait to see your tomato harvest.
    Sara @ Farming Friends

  10. I also have tomatoes growing in the plastic bag that I put them in! I thought mine were ill too, but it turns out they had just caught a cold. Not too much upset though as I had far too man. I have 25 tomato plants in pots growing along both of my balconies. It’s a tomato jungle!

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