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Is it Safe to Grow Vegetables in Galvanized Containers?

By Jamie Conrad ; Updated September 21, 2017
Recycle old galvanized pails to make pots for vegetable plants.

Container gardening is a flexible option for those with little outdoor space to grow vegetables. Numerous types of containers work for container gardening, including galvanized containers such as pails, tins and washtubs.

Benefits

Galvanized containers are metal containers that are thoroughly cleaned and then covered with a zinc coating. This coating prevents chemicals and rust from leaching into the soil the containers hold if you use them for gardening. Galvanized containers are strong and sturdy, and are capable of being reused for years of gardening.

Considerations

Questions have been raised regarding the safety of the zinc coating on galvanized containers. This coating contains not only zinc but occasionally cadmium, both of which are dangerous to humans in high levels. However, these trace elements are not likely to be absorbed by the plants in large levels or even at all.

Usage

Unless the container is already constructed for garden use, proper drainage holes must be added or the container will hold all moisture. This could result in waterlogged plants that will eventually die. Once the container is washed and drainage holes are added, simply fill with potting mix and plant vegetables inside.