Carolyn’s Team Pick: Altoids Tin Gardens

I live in an urban center where the closest thing I have to green space near my apartment is the moss growing on top of the parking garage I can see from my window. And while there are trees and parks and things fairly nearby, sometimes it’s raining and sometimes you’re lazy and sometimes you just want your own garden to reassure you that your urban center existence isn’t all bleak minimalism and IKEA furniture, you know?

And if people can put everything from tiny survival kits to tiny BBQ grills in Altoids tins, a garden is the next logical step. Depending on your sense of logic. Plus, look how neat they are!

You basically need a tin, some seeds, and some tissue. You could use dirt, but also: you could use toilet paper. There are official instructions at Instructables.

Photo from GOMI Style.

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Ryan Yates

Ryan Yates was the NSFW Editor (2013–2018) and Literary Editor for, with bylines in Nylon, Refinery29, The Toast, Bitch, The Daily Beast, Jezebel, and elsewhere. They live in Los Angeles and also on twitter and instagram.

Ryan has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. these are so cute! it has been so rainy in montreal lately. WHERE IS MY SPRINGTIME DAMMNIT. gettin’ me down, maaaan. :/

    • uuuuugh tell me about it. i had no idea montreal adopted having a monsoon season this year.

  2. I’m so excited
    and I just can’t hide it!
    I know I know I know I know I know I want to, I want to

  3. Can someone explain why the herb plants you buy at supermarkets deteriorate so rapidly, despite my attempts to nurture them?

    • They’re pumped up with chemicals. You’re better of with either growing from seed or getting a ready grown plant from a specialist since they are grown slower. Very few people can nurture supermarket herbs.

  4. Hmmm…I will get my hands on the real deal and grow my own. My bamboo plant on the other hand is flourishing.

  5. I don’t agree with the Altoids method for growing tiny gardens, only because the lid serves little purpose and cannot be easily detached without a hacksaw, and there is no drainage for excess water, which may result in mold damage to roots.

  6. That is so. cute. Oh my goodness. If only all the plants I try to grow didn’t die almost immediately >.<

  7. I want one! I wish I could grow things here :( If I even put a plant outside or next to a window it dies and rolls away like a tumbleweed. I hate AZ lol

  8. So fucking cute! So, so cute! We’re moving to a tiny apartment and leaving behind our back woods farm and I was really going to miss my tiny little garden. I’ve got one of these for strawberries that I’m going to keep on our tiny little balcony and these I can keep on the windowsills and grow yummy herbs. Yay!

  9. Awesome! Thanks Carolyn. I made a little electronic musical instrument out of one of these, though I did not have an Altoids box, so a Spam can was employed.

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