Instructables

Altoids Tin Mini Garden

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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.

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I made one! I added a toothpick to hold the lid open, and a usb grow light!
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mischka (author)  The Locksmith3 years ago
Cool, thanks for sharing! Please post pictures when something grows. Which herbs do you grow there?
ilikecake38 months ago
Oh, I have been keeping mine wet by spraying it. I grow wheatgrass for juice, and you don't need to replant it
ilikecake38 months ago
How did you keep them wet? With a spray bottle?
Jacky P1 year ago
I think you have a great idea. Have you considered growing mint I. The mint tin?
JKPieGuy2 years ago
This would be a neat idea to grow grass in and have like a mini lawn inside an Altoids tin.
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.
How'd it go with the grass growing? Ha I can also see how the grass would dry out fast.
landongaga1 year ago
thats a cool USB deal.
Aira.vj3 years ago
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.
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.
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.

Jerry
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!

-Oscar
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 :)
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.
Jerry
Useful info! Thanks :D
Can you use any LED or did you use a specific kind or color of LED?
I used a blue LED; Any color except green should work fine. Oh, and use a resistor like askjerry said.
mischka (author)  Aira.vj3 years ago
Doesnt need much sunlight. It should grow even in dark environment.
would sage be good for this?
do you need soil?
mischka (author)  lodgeman08272 years ago
Depends on what you try to grow. I grew cress which grows very nice on a tissue.
what should i try and grow? hmmmmm
Ooo would be fun to grow cat grass out of these!
anoonecares2 years ago
I bet someone used this to grow pot on their desk. Hey man, want a mint?
Would it be safe to grow flax seed in an altoids tin?
mischka (author)  SensibleHuman3 years ago
Why not give it a try?
csantiago33 years ago
Cute idea could even be a funky seed starter <3
tbuilder1703 years ago
Your English is actually much better than some other people's.
@Locksmith: How'd you do that USB growlight?

@Mischka: Great idea! Veggies on the Go!!
imajem3 years ago
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.
dpanossian3 years ago
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)  dpanossian3 years ago
i guess grass should work fine. Protecting the tin with duct tape is a good idea.
Holcan3 years ago
Which type of tissue did you use?
mischka (author)  Holcan3 years ago
You can use kitchen or toilet tissue, or something similar
rowsoprose3 years ago
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!
Basil and mint might sprout but their roots will need more space than that.
RaNDoMLeiGH3 years ago
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.
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)  michaelnelson3 years ago
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.
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