Some gardeners shy away from galvanized containers because they are unsure whether or not they are safe to use for growing vegetables. Is this concern necessary?
The simple answer to this question is no, there is no need for concern. With that being said, there are a few things that you should know when using galvanized containers to grow your vegetables.
What are Galvanized Containers?
Galvanized containers are made of steel that has been coated in a layer of zinc in order to prevent rusting. This makes them incredibly suitable for growing plants, since the water and soil will not cause damage to the container.
Benefits of Galvanized Containers
Galvanized containers will not rust when exposed to water and soil. There are also a few other benefits to using them when growing your vegetables.
For starters, galvanized containers can cost you much less than many other pots, especially over the lifetime of the container. The zinc coating is for super long lasting. The long life expectancy, means that you will not have to worry about removing your plant from the container (unless the plant requires it).
What Makes People Nervous About Growing Vegetables in Galvanized Containers?
As we have already discussed, galvanized steel is coated in a zinc layer to prevent rusting. This layer of zinc often makes gardeners nervous when it comes to using galvanized containers..
Zinc can be associated with certain health conditions, such as stomach cramps, skin irritations, etc. BUT – it is important to note that only large doses of zinc can cause these reactions.
The danger associated with growing your vegetables in a galvanized container is very low. You are likely to be exposed to more zinc from tap water running through galvanized steel municipal pipes than by eating a vegetable that has been grown in a galvanized container.
Why Growing Vegetables in Galvanized Containers is Safe
Galvanized containers are not coated in large amounts of zinc – you would have to consume way more zinc in order for it to start affecting your health.
Galvanized steel is made to perform best in environments where the ph level is between 5.5 and 12 since zinc requires significant acidity alkalinity in order for it to break down. Most potting soil is slightly acidic in the 5.8 to 6.5 range to neutral, so it will have little to no impact on the zinc coating your galvanized container. If the zinc doesn’t break down, it will not be absorbed by your plants.
Finally, zinc occurs naturally in the soil to varying degrees. It is an important plant micronutrient that helps plants produce chlorophyll. A zinc deficiency can cause stunted growth in plants.
Is it safe to grow vegetables in galvanized containers?
Yes, it is completely safe and quite practical to grow vegetables in galvanized containers. The amount of zinc used to galvanize the metal is not enough to cause any health problems.