Introduction: Altoids Tin Mini Garden

Picture of Altoids Tin Mini Garden

You dont have an own garden, but like to live in a green environment? Why dont you make an Altoids Tin Mini Garden for your desktop? Use an empty Altoids tin. Put in a piece of tissue, add garden cress seeds and water and wait 3 days. Dont forget to keep your seeds wet.


The Locksmith (author)2011-05-15

I made one! I added a toothpick to hold the lid open, and a usb grow light!

mischka (author)The Locksmith2011-05-16

Cool, thanks for sharing! Please post pictures when something grows. Which herbs do you grow there?

Coral May (author)2016-02-29

Does this cause the tin to oxidate or rust?

mischka (author)Coral May2016-03-05

unfortunally it does. You can use foil or similar to prevent it from rust.

DiyGal123 (author)2016-02-16

Very good idea. Wooh im gonna need more tins!

ilikecake3 (author)2013-11-25

Oh, I have been keeping mine wet by spraying it. I grow wheatgrass for juice, and you don't need to replant it

ilikecake3 (author)2013-11-25

How did you keep them wet? With a spray bottle?

Jacky P (author)2013-03-27

I think you have a great idea. Have you considered growing mint I. The mint tin?

JKPieGuy (author)2011-10-20

This would be a neat idea to grow grass in and have like a mini lawn inside an Altoids tin.

Cooldude638 (author)JKPieGuy2012-04-10

I am in the process of growing grass in one of my tins, and if you decide to, this is my advise to you: Water it frequently.

JKPieGuy (author)Cooldude6382013-02-04

How'd it go with the grass growing? Ha I can also see how the grass would dry out fast.

landongaga (author)2012-09-04

thats a cool USB deal.

Aira.vj (author)2011-05-15

How much sunlight do these need? My apartment has almost no sunlight (basement flat). I've had a small cactus survive for a year so far, but it hasn't grown any bigger or flowered.

The Locksmith (author)Aira.vj2011-05-15

Make a tiny usb grow light like I did! Just solder an led to the red and black wires on a usb cable, and mount it in a small hole in the lid of the tin. Prop the lid at a 45 degree angle with a toothpick.

askjerry (author)The Locksmith2011-05-15

Most LEDs are 2.1 to 2.3 volts... the USB port is usually 5 volts. Unless you use a 5 volt LED, you will likely need a 150 ohm resistor to keep from burning out the LED.


oanderson (author)askjerry2012-03-09

You don't really need a resistor, from experience, my desk is covered with old USB stuff, some working, some not. But 5 volts is fine for a normal LED!


The Locksmith (author)askjerry2011-05-16

Good observation! I used an LED capable of handling the voltage without a resistor, but most LEDs can't. Thanks for warning people, I forgot to put that in there myself :)

askjerry (author)The Locksmith2011-05-16

There is another way... if you have two LEDs that are each rated 2.1 volts... and you connect them in SERIES... then the combined voltage is 4.2 volts which likely is close enough... but you could install a 40 ohm resistor if in doubt. (Presuming they are 20mA as most are.)

(Supply - LED Voltage) / current = resistor needed.

So (5v - 2.2v) = 2.8v... and if the datasheet said 20mA (0.020 amps)

2.8v / 0.20A = 140 ohms... I rounded it up to 150 in my example.

Hope that helps.

Lunarius (author)askjerry2011-05-16

Useful info! Thanks :D

ChaksQ (author)The Locksmith2011-05-16

Can you use any LED or did you use a specific kind or color of LED?

The Locksmith (author)ChaksQ2011-05-16

I used a blue LED; Any color except green should work fine. Oh, and use a resistor like askjerry said.

mischka (author)Aira.vj2011-05-15

Doesnt need much sunlight. It should grow even in dark environment.

TheAmateurArtisan (author)2012-01-08

would sage be good for this?

lodgeman0827 (author)2011-12-21

do you need soil?

mischka (author)lodgeman08272011-12-22

Depends on what you try to grow. I grew cress which grows very nice on a tissue.

nrischitelli (author)2011-12-06

what should i try and grow? hmmmmm

NightElectric (author)2011-08-17

Ooo would be fun to grow cat grass out of these!

anoonecares (author)2011-08-16

I bet someone used this to grow pot on their desk. Hey man, want a mint?

SensibleHuman (author)2011-07-09

Would it be safe to grow flax seed in an altoids tin?

mischka (author)SensibleHuman2011-07-31

Why not give it a try?

csantiago3 (author)2011-06-29

Cute idea could even be a funky seed starter <3

tbuilder170 (author)2011-06-14

Your English is actually much better than some other people's.

javajunkie1976 (author)2011-06-05

@Locksmith: How'd you do that USB growlight?

@Mischka: Great idea! Veggies on the Go!!

imajem (author)2011-05-30

If seeds that need soil are used, berry baskets have small holes in the bottom and are great for a small crop! Just add potting soil and keep moist with a spray bottle.

dpanossian (author)2011-05-29

Has anyone tried growing plain old grass in one of these? It would be funny to have a tiny lawn on your desk and trim it with scissors when it starts getting long.
Also, can you cover the interior with duct tape to prevent it from reacting with the metal?

mischka (author)dpanossian2011-05-30

i guess grass should work fine. Protecting the tin with duct tape is a good idea.

Holcan (author)2011-05-21

Which type of tissue did you use?

mischka (author)Holcan2011-05-22

You can use kitchen or toilet tissue, or something similar

rowsoprose (author)2011-05-17

I'm about to put a few holes in the bottom of my tin, lay in a piece of coffee filter, then a few spoonfuls of potting mix and see if I can grow basil or mint--if it works, I will keep going with additional tins--I love this!

RaNDoMLeiGH (author)rowsoprose2011-05-19

Basil and mint might sprout but their roots will need more space than that.

RaNDoMLeiGH (author)2011-05-19

I got some microgreens from a grower near me. The sprouts (arugula and mustard) were delicious but there were more than I wanted in the container. An altoid tin is just the right size, especially for things with strong flavors.

It looked like the grower used some kind of filter material, like the kind you put in your floor vents. (I've successfully used that for fishtank filters too.) It might have been some sort of polyester quilt or blanket batting, but it was only about 1/8" thick. Any ideas what this might be? It'd be about right for Altoid tins, too.

We kept the greens in the fridge once sprouted. As long as they were kept moist, the container lasted quite a while. Accidentally let it dry out though and they all died. I wonder if an altoid tin would be good for that since once the sprouts are up the lid won't close anymore, although I guess you could keep the whole thing in a ziplock bag or tupperware container.

michaelnelson (author)2011-05-15

Cool idea, but I think I would line it with plastic first... the tin may leech out a funky chemical from staying wet and your sprouts could absorb it. Yuck!!

mischka (author)michaelnelson2011-05-18

Good idea to line it with plastic to protect it from corroding. Think corroded iron is not a poisonous chemical, but keeping the tin from water is a good idea.

corkey123 (author)michaelnelson2011-05-16

And BPA's from plastic are better than good old wholesome tin?

michaelnelson (author)corkey1232011-05-17

Neither Ziploc nor Saran brand baggies contain BPA's.

mischka (author)2011-05-18

I made another one. There grows a spider plant and chickweed.

The Locksmith (author)2011-05-15

This is by far the most creativet use for an Altoids tin I've seen. I'm going to make one right now, but with sprouting soil. I'll post photos.

albetcha (author)The Locksmith2011-05-15

Hey Locksmith,
Ham Radio has used the Altoids tin for some really cool things for talking around the world. Ie. all the Pixie I & II, and Tuna Can sized QRP based projects.

But this is pretty rad, and think I'll be doing this project too. I think I know of a huge source of tins ready for use.....


The Locksmith (author)albetcha2011-05-16

I'll check that out. My dad loves altoids and buys them like 20-30 tins at a time, so I get to use all the leftover tins! :)

The Locksmith (author)2011-05-16

Mischka I am growing Roman Chamomile (excellent for relieving stress). I will post photos :)

For some reason it wouldn't let me post this as a reply to your comment.

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