Hints and tips: Tins, and making the most of your herb garden.


Tins! When you cook with as many tins as I do, it seems a shame to throw them away, even if your local council has a pretty decent recycling system for them.

So, I’ve been washing up and saving my tins lately, rather than rinsing them and putting them in the Red Bin, and today decided to spend a little while tending to my herb garden with them…

People often ask me how my herb plants survive so long; first, I take them out of the little pots that they have been growing in at the supermarket or garden centre – the roots will be tied up in knots all the way to the edges of the pot. Working over a large mixing bowl, I gently thumb the excess soil from the root ball into the bowl, shaking gently to loosen it.

When a good deal of earth is in the mixing bowl, I break the herb plant in two, gently separating the top where possible, but depending how long it’s been living in its little pot, the root may need to be torn apart with a little force. 🙁

I then take two small tins (a bean tin, or mandarin segments tin, tend to be the kind I use as they’re quite skinny) – turn it upside down, and stab three holes in it with a skewer. If this seems a bit dangerous or you can’t manage it, use a tin opener and latch it onto the side, turn very slightly, and make three holes like that.

Turn the tins the right way up, and pop half of the herb plant into each. Add the excess soil from the mixing bowl and press down lightly.

Put the small tin inside a clean, slightly larger tin (a potato tin is a simply perfect fit), water the herbs, and hey presto. Your herbs will have room to breathe and grow better, you have two plants instead of one, and they won’t leak all over your window ledge. Hoorah.

If I come up with any more ingenious uses for tins, I’ll keep you posted! (Apart from the obvious spoons-next-to-the-kettle and desk tidy…)

Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe. Facebook:

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