Gardening for kids: Upcycled tin planters with Kate Wall - video transcript

This page is a transcript of the Gardening for kids: Upcycled tin planters with Kate Wall video on Brisbane City Council's YouTube channel. The video is 15 minutes and 38 seconds long.


>> KATE: Hello, I’m Kate Wall and welcome to part 3 of our upcycling gardening workshops for children. This is my son Ned and he’s going to help out with this workshop. This one today is what we can do with old tins. So once again, this is coming out of the recycling. This is not things we need to go to the shop and buy. We’re going to use what we already have at home.

So, I’ve got a collection of different old tins here. Sorry Ned, I’m blocking your face a little bit and some different things. This one is all rusty and dirty. That’s a pretty old one. These cans will rust eventually. But at the moment they’re nice and shiny. This one we have decorated by sticking on it some plastic lids and some bread tags, these are things that can’t go in the recycling and always end up in the rubbish bin. So using them to decorate a tin can be a lot of fun, but it’s saving something from going in the bin. This one, we just did a quick job of giving it some paint. So this is just a quick paint. Now the thing with all of these is, I’ve already put holes in it for drainage. This one needs some holes so that Ned can get busy decorating. While he’s doing that I’ll talk to you more about what we’re going to do with them.

Putting holes in is pretty simple because these tins aren’t hard. [bangs in nails with hammer].

And just like that we’ve got all the holes we need. Big kids, you can do that job yourself, and Ned could certainly have done that himself, but little kids, you need to get help to use a hammer and nail. [passes tin to Ned]

Would you like to get busy sticking some rocks on this tin and have a bit of fun doing that? We have some tile glue leftover from a mosaic project so we have glue that’s strong enough to stick rocks on. For most people, you will probably only have something like your standard PVA glue which won’t hold a rock onto a tin. But you can still do other things with that which is a lot of fun, for example, this one here. This one is wallpaper, some leftover wallpaper - [dog barks] - shush Roxy - has been glued onto this tin. You can do magazine pictures or wrapping paper or anything you like, however, you do need to realise if you’re using paper on the outside of the tin you can’t put it outside in the weather, you have to be careful to avoid it getting wet. If you’ve got some PVA glue you can paint that around the outside of your paper, over the top, and that will help seal it so that the drips of water run-off, but it won’t protect it in a rainstorm. So, you do need to think about what sort of surface we’re putting on.

You can experiment, whatever you find, some old pieces of material like we’ve used on this planter here, or some old costume jewellery that mum doesn’t want anymore, could all be used to decorate your tin. Have a look around the house, ask Mum what she doesn’t want, and see what’s being thrown away and what you can use.

 So, then what do we do? We wait for it to dry. This glue is well dry so I can plant into that one. This paint is dry to touch but because it was only painted this morning that’s not yet hard and that will scratch very easily. By tomorrow that will be much safer to plant into without scratching. But we’ve got a variety of different things that we can plant into these and we can think about, just like with everything, what sort of plant do we want to grow in our tin, and where do we want the tin to sit? Remember some plants like sun, and some like shade so we’ve got to think about that. We’ve got some different plants here that can go in. This one I’ve already planted with a bird’s nest fern, it’s only a little one, it will eventually get too big for the tin, but for now, that’s really lovely. Remember I said how the paper has to stay inside out of the rain, well as it happens, the bird’s nest fern is very happy to grow in the shade, so this one will make a lovely indoor plant, so I’m going to keep this one for an indoor plant.

This rusty one has got some succulents in it. It’s very happy to be outdoors. These two here I also want outdoors. They’re perfectly tough enough with these finishes – once the finish is dry and hard. This one here, because we’ve stuck things onto the metal, it shades the metal and stops the metal getting too hot – so that’s great in the sun.

What Ned’s doing here is sticking rocks all over his tin. Can we have a look at what you’re doing Ned? And these rocks - remove this out of view, out of the way so we can see what Ned’s up to - these rocks are going to help keep the roots inside that tin nice and cool. So, we can grow plants in this one that like to grow in the sun but to have cool roots, and for that we’ve got some Asian greens.

So we’ve got a mixture of different plants that we’re going to get busy with planting into our tins and then we can talk about how to care for them.

This is a mixture of four different Asian greens in here. [turns to Ned] Do you want to have a taste of one of these and see if you like it? What do you reckon? Good eating? [Ned nods] Yep, so if we’ve got a couple of these in our tin, that’ll be something that is fun to nibble on as we come up the stairs, or down the stairs, or maybe pick to give to Mum to put on our sandwiches each day.

Let’s plant these up. In this one though I’ve actually got something – excuse me Ned – that will be happy in a lot of sun, it won’t mind the roots getting hot, and that’s a Kalanchoe. This is a type of succulent and this is a very tough plant that likes lots of sun and will have lovely pretty flowers for us. So I’m going to put that one in soon but first off let’s plant this one up. Now I’ve got lots and lots of potting mix here, we’ve got our holes at the bottom for drainage and we’re just going to start filling our tin with potting mix.

It’s very important when we’re growing plants in pots of any sort, whether that’s an ordinary plastic pot or a plant we’ve made ourselves by doing some upcycling that we use good quality potting mix. You always want to get the one that’s a little bit more expensive, not the one that’s really cheap and the reason for that is we want it to be really good quality so it looks after our plants. Now we could just put one plant per tin here and that means that this pack of four gives us four different ones. However, I’m going to squeeze in two different ones per tin because we have, that’s how many tin planters we have. And again, isn’t it a good thing that we have a tablecloth here that we can get dirty so it doesn’t matter how dirty our tablecloth gets. Now I’ve pushed those in a little bit, now a little bit more potting mix just to make sure it’s all topped up and these are all tucked in nicely. We don’t want the roots sticking out, we don’t want oxygen spaces, bare air, gaps around the roots. We want them all tucked in, just like you’re putting your plant to bed, and tucking it into bed. And that’s that one planted.

We’ll save these two to plant into Ned’s one when he’s finished, but let’s look at how we go putting the Kalanchoe into this one. Now again we fill our tin up with our good quality potting mix, and this is something that if you don’t have at home you will need to go and buy, but you may be able to grow some of these things from seed. You don’t necessarily have to buy the plant, you can plant seeds in these tins and grow seeds. Now not as much this time because as you can see this Kalanchoe’s already got a bigger root system that we’ve got to squeeze in, and this pot is bigger than the tin. So we’ve got to figure out how we make that fit in. And to do that I’m just going to tease away some of the extra dirt around the bottom like this to make this fit into our tin. You see how that’s all, scraping away the extra, you can see all these roots are looking really healthy here aren’t they, coming out, and now our root ball is much smaller and will fit into our tin without harming the roots. Just perfectly like that and I can pick this up and tuck it back in, a few leaves off the bottom to make it a bit easier, and tuck that in nicely. Remember you want to poke in the soil around the sides so that our plant roots are nicely put to bed in there. We can tap it down a little bit, some roots sticking out there, they need to be tucked in and put to bed nicely. We don’t want the plant to wobble in the tin, we want it nice and secure. So we’re going to tuck it all the way around, and we’ve got to use our fingers to poke that right in there.

Okay, there we go. So, we’ve got these three tins now all planted up and ready. But they need to get watered in. My hem is disappearing in the dirt here. We’ll plant Ned’s out tomorrow when the rocks have dried. So, to water these in we need once again to think about what we’re doing. They’ve got holes in the bottom. When I put water in, that water’s going to flow out. So, I am going to water them above this so we can catch the water. Once again I’ve put a little bit of Seasol into my water. The reason for that is – I shouldn’t be showing you the orange juice side, should I? I’ll show you this side – so you can see that the colour of the water - it could probably be a bit stronger but for now, that will do. What the Seasol does, is the first time we water in our new plant it helps the roots grow strong and fill up their new pot. We want to make sure we water the whole thing, so we keep putting the water in until – now I can feel that moving down and it’s getting heavier and heavier at the bottom, make sure that’s nicely tucked in – and in a minute that’s going to come out the bottom – there it goes. Now that there’s water coming out the bottom we know we’ve got enough. And I can sit that down and let that finish draining out before I put that anywhere else. And I can do the same with these ones, give them a nice big lot of water and then I know I’ve got enough in when the water starts coming out the holes in the bottom, there we go. Now this one here I don’t want to sit in here because I don’t want the paper to get wet. So I’m actually going to sit this one in my bucket of potting mix so that the water soaks down into the potting mix and the pot’s not sitting in the water. And then for this one here, I’ll do this one tomorrow because our paint isn’t dry hard enough yet to get wet.

How do we know how to look after our tins? How do know if our plant is happy or sad? We know our plant’s happy if it’s standing up like this. If all our leaves are laying down flat, it’s not happy. I think we better eat this one, Ned, we’ve just broken that one. Wanna eat that? Excellent. If all our leaves are laying flat, it needs water. We want it standing up and happy, but we don’t want too much water, which is why we water it. We wait until it stops coming out the bottom and then we can put it back. And then we’ll know that our plant is happy. This one here, when it gets very dry the leaves will fall off, they won’t wilt over, because these are succulent leaves. These ones will just fall off if the plant’s too dry. There’s another important trick in knowing how to care for our pot plants and that means all pot plants, whether it’s our shoes, our tins or our planter heads. And that’s your finger. The magic finger that tells you if your plant needs to be watered or not. Stick your finger all the way into your pot plant and pull it out. My finger’s come out quite dirty, hasn’t it? And I can feel that the ground is wet. It doesn’t need watering. Now, I’ll use this finger. We know this one hasn’t been watered. And I’ll stick my finger all the way in and it doesn’t come out as dirty. Much cleaner. And then we know this one needs water. So, that’s one of the ways we know our plant needs water. And you should check your plants every few days to check if they need water. You’ll get used to knowing how often. This one probably will need water every two or three days. This one will probably only need water once a week because with these big fleshy leaves it can hold water itself.

Now, if we’re picking lots of pieces off this plant to eat then we need to make sure we look after the plant very, very well and don’t let it dry out. Because it needs to grow lots of new leaves quickly. This one here is perfect just as it is so it doesn’t need to grow fast. But this one wants to grow fast. So we’ve got to really look after that plant. Which means keeping an eye on it and making sure we don’t let it dry out. Because we want to eat it, that’s another reason don’t let it dry out. Because it doesn’t taste very nice once the leaves go dry. It tastes much nicer if we keep it nice and well-watered.

If we make sure we leave it somewhere – you can see, there’s still a bit of water dribbling out onto the table - where the water can dribble away just fine then we know we don’t over water, and the plant will be okay. So, give it plenty of sunshine and the fertiliser in the potting mix should be enough combined with the Seasol in your water to grow some beautiful food in a tin that you have decorated yourself with things that would otherwise go in the bin.

Lots of great options for you to try at home. So why don’t you try making a planter head from an old milk bottle?  Or you can use any sort of bottle, you could use a juice bottle instead if you liked, maybe plant up some old shoes, maybe decorate an old tin. Maybe you’ve got another idea in mind, – something else that you’ve found in the recycling bin or the rubbish bin that you could put a plant into. And then ask Mum to help you find some plants. Have fun kids. Bye.

Last updated: 2 July 2021
Topics: library