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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Tire Garden: Day One

Saturday we started putting in our tire garden. It is taking shape very nicely and I'm excited about getting started with our planting.

We started by getting tires. Most tire-change stores will gladly give you as many used tires as you care to take away with you. The stores have to pay to have the tires disposed of and they'd be just as happy for you to carry them away for them. We are fortunate that there is a little neighborhood tire change store a few blocks from our house, which made it pretty easy for us to get a few truck loads.

Hubby then went to pick up our first truckload full of fabulously mulched soil. Now, we are fortunate again here because our midwife, who has 400 acres in the next county, also has a deal with her little city that they dump all of the leaves at a certain spot on her property and have for years and years. This has become a terrific mulch yard and she has allowed us to come get whatever we need. Great, huh?

If you don't have a nifty midwife with a ton of land in your neck of the woods, you can either use your own soil and compost that you've put together, or you can try to find a nursery or similar business in your area that sells mulch and soil by the truck load.

Next we decided where in our backyard we wanted to put our tire garden and how we wanted to arrange it. We've decided to have about 4 rows of 7-8 tires each down one side of our yard set off from the fence a bit.

We left about a foot of space off the fence line, as I didn't want the tires right up against the wooden fence.

On the back row closest to the fence, we've decided to put a row of six single tires. This will be the planting space for our climbing veggies - peas, beans and cucumbers. Just behind these tires we're going to put up about a 12 foot stretch of chicken wire that we have on hand so the veggies will have a place to climb.

The next row is seven tires that are 2 deep for our potatoes. We like potatoes and want to have a good harvest, so we decided to put in 7 tires full. We will begin planting our first potatoes this week.

First we put cardboard under the hole in the tire to keep the dirt from washing out and to help keep the weeds from coming up into the tire. We just went to our local recycling center and picked up small boxes, pizza boxes, etc. that would work for our purpose. Yes, some people thought it was strange that we were taking recycling out of the bins, so I told them about tire gardening and suggested that they try doing one of their own!
Next we fill the tire about half way with dirt and pushed it into the sides of the tire. My middle daughter (age 6), then added a few handfuls of worm castings before we put in the rest of the dirt. We continued this process for our first two rows until darkness and hunger made us stop for the night!

These first two rows are right up against each other. The little spaces between the tires we also filled with dirt and will use to plant our flowering plants like marigold, nasturtium and the like.
We'll then have a walkway about the width of one tire. The next row will be 7-8 tires that are 2 deep for our tomatoes, peppers, squash, etc.

At the end of one row we're going to turn and go down the other side with a single row of about 7-8 tires that will have our lettuces, spinach, herbs, etc.

I'll keep you posted along the way with photos and tips we've learned - let me know what you think!


Shy Wolf said...

One of my neighbors loves his tire garden- makes a lot of sense for someone who doesn't have the space or desire to dig up the lawn. His trick to keep dirt in the tire and weeds out is to lay a sheet of landscape cloth under the tire: it prevents the weeds from coming up, doesn't deteriorate so readily and is cheap enough at our local garden store.
He's even got me thinking of growing my tomatoes in tires rather than the garden plot. Of course, I don't know if that's because I'm easy to talk into things or if it seems more practical! LOL. Anyway- my thought was 'circling' my garden with tires. Makes sense to me. :-D

Susan said...

What is the purpose of the tires? Will you add tires to your potato garden and fill as the potatoes grow?
Looks good but I remember the EPA not allowing us to sell some land until the tires were cleaned up. Our property was originally owned by a gentleman that owned a service station and he brought the tires to the property instead of properly disposing of them.

Kymber said...

Yay tire gardens! I love my tire gardens and wouldn't trade them for anything! They make the absolute best container gardens and are perfect if you don't have good soil to make beds!
Please keep us updated - we still have snow on the ground here (can't even see my tires yet!)- but I will be able to enjoy yours until I get out and garden in mine! Great job!

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