I have a bunch of aluminum foil dishes that are maybe 3" deep:

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I'm going to fill with soil and put on the roof of my apartment building. How should I prepare the container? Specifically, how do I take care of drainage?

I was going to just prick it with pin holes a bunch of times, and then rest it on a few sticks or something to keep it technically off the ground so it will drain. Do I need to put anything in at the bottom of the dish? I've heard mixed things about gravel (and I'm not sure I have the vertical room here anyway. Do I line the bottom with newspaper? I was going to fill the bottom half with normal potting soil, and then the top half with seed starting soil, and then plug it with arugula or some other vegetable.

Any recommendations on how to prepare the container, and how/what to fill it with would be greatly appreciated!


Two things - I'm wondering whether you're going to use these trays just for starting seeds, and will be transplanting into other containers or the ground later, or whether you're intending to try to get something to grow permanently in them. If the latter, it won't work, they're not deep enough I'm afraid.

The other thing that sprang to mind was the material - it will get hot in sunlight, and may scorch the roots of any seedlings you're growing, so you'd need to punch holes all over the base, stand them on something as you've already said, but also you may need to line the tray with something porous (Jeycloth type thing?) to keep the roots from coming into contact with any hot surfaces.


For growing Spinach, the container should be 8 to 18 inches wide by at least 12 inches deep. Zuccini (I think that's courgette over here) needs 14 inches wide by 12 inches deep, Capsicum (bell pepper) 8-9 inches wide by the same in depth. This is also the size of pot for tomatoes.

  • Yes, this is the end location for the plant. I'm going to grow arugula, or spinach, or zuchinni, or bell peppers. How deep is the minimum I need to get a decent yield from the plant?
    – Landon
    May 17 '13 at 20:34
  • Are these the recommended depths, or the minimal depths? I know for one that my peppers are doing fine in a 5 inch deep container.
    – Betohaku
    May 19 '13 at 21:12
  • 1
    Recommended depth and width for best results - in UK, they sell pots known as 'tomato pots' which are always 9 inches deep, though I've grown them in a narrow, 18 inch deep by 10 inches wide 'long tom' pot and got good results. Better cropping with right size container. Any plant is only as good as its root system, after all.
    – Bamboo
    May 20 '13 at 12:47

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