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Is it OK to plant in metal?

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2006
by stutterfish on July 29, 2006 07:50 PM
Such as a large coffee can. Will it poison the plant?
by Patty S on July 29, 2006 09:36 PM
Hi Stutterfish! [wavey]

Some metals are fine to use as planters. While aluminim might change the Ph of the soil, I know of no reason NOT to plant in a coffee can, as I dont know that steel contains harmful properties that would leach into the plant. I've used gallon size steel cans for Tomatoes & Peppers, & they've done fine. (Make sure that you've put drainage holes in the bottom... I also line the bottom with an inch or so of pebbles, or broken pieces of clay pots, to ensure good drainage.)

I might mention here that personally, I wouldn't use aluminum containers for growing "food plants", as recent research has indicated that aluminum might be associated with serious neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease & Lou Gehrig's disease. I sometimes use steel coffee cans & other large metal food containers (like the ones restaurants use) as planters, but would definitely steer away from containers such as aluminum or galvanized buckets for plants grown for consumption.

By the way, welcome to the forum!  - This place is full of friendly people who are willing to help (& we're always looking for answers to our gardening questions, too). We'd love to hear about what you have in your garden, & maybe you even have some ideas & gardening experiences that you'd care to share with us! We're like 1 big family here, & would like to get to know you better!

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by Jiffymouse on July 30, 2006 02:22 AM
[thumb] awesome answer patty! and welcome stutterfish [clappy]
by stutterfish on July 30, 2006 04:34 AM
Thank You [grin] , an excellent answer indeed.
by weezie13 on July 30, 2006 05:50 AM
quote:
Originally posted by Jiffymouse:
[thumb] awesome answer patty! and welcome stutterfish [clappy]
Couldn't have said it any better......... [Wink] [thumb]

Welcome Aboard!!
And we've got some very nice Oregonian's here too, one of our favoritests answered your post,
Patty, and then there's Sarah aka Barleychown and Lefse..

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by Deborah L. on July 30, 2006 06:04 PM
I was tempted to plant in those gorgeous copper planters.
What stopped me was realizing that the pots would get hot in the sun and then goodbye plant....

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by chenno on July 30, 2006 07:44 PM
[thumb] Good info Patty [grin]
Welcome to you stutterfish,A great place to be!
Look forward to seeing you around:-)
Angie

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Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks.
Plutarch
by Patty S on July 30, 2006 09:11 PM
Gosh, Jiffy & Weezie! [Embarrassed] (Now I'm not sure if I want to post again, because I don't want to take a chance on ruining my image!) You must like the weird color my freckles take on when I blush... or you delight in torturing me!  - I'm flattered & I thank you! [Smile] (I just love it when I feel loved... maybe that's why I keep hanging out here!)

Deborah, after starting my Basil from seed a few times this year & having the seedlings bite the dust, I planted the next batch in copper pots & sat them on my deck railing, "realizing that the pots would get hot in the sun"... they took off like a shot! I was able to transplant them to the garden in just a few weeks.

2 weeks after planting
 - 6/28/06
I wouldn't have this photo if the Quail hadn't have been on our deck that day!

6 weeks after planting
 - 7/22/06
My "deer barrier"... 20 feet of Purple & Green Basil, Dill & Devil's Claw (in bloom) on the outside of my veggie garden.

Some plants don't do well in "hot" soil, but Basil certainly is NOT one of them! My observation has been that they like lots of heat & lots of water.

A couple years ago I threw some basil seeds into an ugly rusted backhoe bucket flled with dirt (which sat out in a field in the blistering heat), & I've never seen Basil get so huge... FAST! I transplanted quite a bit of it into my gardens & noticed while doing so, that the soil was almost uncomfortably warm in that big metal container. (That's what gave me the idea to plant Basil seeds in metal pots this year.)

These are just about as far as my Basil got when I planted them indoors in March, & had them under Gro-Lights in my mini greenhouse.
 - 4/2/06
2 weeks after planting!

I think I made 2 major mistakes that led to their demise... I planted them too early, & didn't provide adequate heat under the starter trays. Everything else I'd started at that time came out fine, but I think the Basil had simply used up all their energy, trying to thrive in what they thought was the "cold"! I'm not sure what other plants respond this way when their roots are heated (maybe Sun flowers & Zinnias?) but I encourage you to experiment with those "gorgeous copper planters" & find out which kinds of plants they were made for!

Stutterfish, I have to admit that I didn't even notice where you were from, until Weezie mentioned it! (Hi neighbor!) [wavey] I'm sure that wherever you are in Oregon, you have a fair amount of summer left... if you want to wait until next year to try different kinds of seeds in your copper planters, but want something sure-fire to put in them NOW, try Basil! If you don't have any on hand, don't go & buy them... PM me & I'll send you some. I have gobs of them from last year! (By the way, Basil seeds remain viable for several years.)

OK, so I've done it again... got "wordy", when I only intended to mention that Basil would love copper planters!  - (So much for my image!)

Oh... One more thing! Check out Bill's page on Growing plants and flowers in pots, planters, and other containers. (He doesn't get on a soap box about particular types of metal that planters might be made of, but there sure are lots of valuable tips there!)

I think I'm done... for now!

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by Deborah L. on July 31, 2006 06:06 AM
Patty, I meant ornamentals.
This is the first year that my basil has done so well too.
Maybe it's the humidity?

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by Patty S on August 02, 2006 06:51 AM
Deborah, this being my first full season at flower gardening, I don't know which of the ornamental plants might like hot soil. [dunno] Hopefully, someone will stop in with some information about that, because I'd like to know too!

Personally, I think that Basil makes a great "filler" among ornamentals... keeps some of the bugs off them, too! (I'd plant Basil with anything! ...& it makes for pretty borders as well as nice background plants, behind low-growing flowers.)

quote:
This is the first year that my basil has done so well too.
Maybe it's the humidity?

Darn it, anyway!  -
I thought it was ME... that maybe my thumbs were finally greening up! [Big Grin]

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by Deborah L. on August 02, 2006 08:40 AM
I'm only guessing/assuming that plants would croak if their pots got hot.
About the basil, I think maybe I always planted too soon. I read somewhere that basil has to have a nighttime temp of 65, or something like that.
This year I wasn't going to plant any basil, I was giving up.
But then in early summer I couldn't resist and bought a small plant and it zoomed up like crazy.
I even had enough for neighbors from just the one plant.
I love basil too, the common one is my favorite.
I like to tuck a few rinsed and torn leaves inside a grilled cheese sandwich before cooking.
And pizza-I have to sprinkle on fresh pieces of basil right before I dive in.
Uh, I mean right before I take a ladylike nibble.... [Embarrassed] [Big Grin]

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by Deborah L. on August 02, 2006 08:43 AM
Patty, the only plant I know for sure needs cool roots is wisteria.
I keep mine happy by spraying the top of the soil with water alot. The top of the moss actually, I keep moss on top of the soil under the wisteria to help keep it cool.

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