Country Living Series

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bean beds and herbs

Finally got the green beans planted! I'm racing the calendar here, trying to get the infrastructure for the tire garden in place with enough time that some stuff will actually grow. Smart gardeners in our area don't plant most things prior to June 1, and we can expect our first frost by mid-September (if not earlier), which leaves us about 90 days for a garden. With the peas planted, I turned my attention to green beans. First I had to build the rows.

Tools of the trade: wire mesh, tires, and cardboard boxes.

We had been laying down newspapers to control weeds, but we've been running out. We're using them faster than all our friends and neighbors can supply them, so we've switched to cardboard boxes.

I've been using measure tapes and baling twine to make sure the rows are laid out as symmetrically as possible.

Trundle trundle trundle. That's the story of my life lately, as I trundle composted manure from the pile outside the garden to the tires inside the garden. It took a long time to get those tires filled.

Meanwhile I prepped the beans. I have bush-style green beans (heirloom, of course) and counted out how many I'd need for my tires. Came to about 532 beans. No worries, I have plenty.

I soaked these overnight to prime them for planting.

I planted 19 beans per tire in 28 tires. We'll see if I have to thin them later.

Phew! Another veggie, done.

I also planted my herbs in the tires I had set aside for herb beds. With twelve big tires, you'd think I'd have enough room -- but no! I think I'll need more tires. I planted the usual selections: basil, oregano, cumin, sage, thyme, dill, etc., multiple tires of many of these.

Here's where I confess a deep dark secret: I bought some of the herbs pre-grown. Normally I wouldn't do that, but as I mentioned above, I'm racing the calendar.

I spent several days hardening them off, and finally planted them today: basil, oregano, thyme.

I still want to plant rosemary, hot peppers (it might be too late for those), horseradish (the roots arrived today), etc.

Little by little this garden is taking shape. I hadn't anticipated how much work it would be -- but for all the work I'm doing this year, there will be correspondingly less work to do next year. At least that's my story and I'm stickin' to it.


  1. Well done Patrice!

    I had a weird dream last night...I dreamed I pulled the top off my Jerusalem artichoke plant. It startled me enough that I woke up. LOL

    It's been in the low 50s and 60s here...and it's raining again. We have to get starts for a lot of stuff, too. There's just not enough time to start most things from seed, and I don't have enough room to do my own seedlings...yet. maybe by next spring I'll be set up for it. We'll see.

    Love your bean choice. One of my favorites.

    A. McSp

  2. Awesome work! It definitely peaks my interest in the tire gardening. I'm looking forward to seeing how it works out!

  3. Patrice! May I offer a tip on the horseradish? I learned this from another gardener. It's wonderful stuff but extremely invasive and unless you completely corral it it will take over and you'll have it forever, all over the place. A solution is to cut the top off a 55-gallon plastic barrel, drill drain holes in the bottom, and fill it with loose dirt. Plant the horseradish root starter in the dirt, maybe 6 inches deep. You won't harvest this year, but next year at harvest time (fall), tip the whole barrel over, pull the dirt with plants out (it will pretty much hold its shape), and look at the dirt where the bottom of the barrel would have been, and you'll see the harvestable horseradish root all coiled up down there like a nasty white sickly-looking snake. Cut off all but 6-10 inches to leave for next year, bundle the rest of the dirt and plant back in the barrel, and you're ready for another year. The root never gets a chance to escape. You have foiled its evil little horseradishes-take-over-the-planet plans.

    I'm on year 2 of this plan. So far so good. The horseradish LOVES its barrel and hasn't figured out yet that it's stuck there.

    1. Good stuff, Maria. Thanks!

      I'm gonna try this with some J-chokes!

      A. McSp

    2. Uh oh, I planted a horseradish root right in the garden a week ago. Methinks I'd better dig it up and plant it in a container, unless, from the sound of it, I only want horseradish in the garden eventually. Thanks for the warning, Maria!

  4. I so want to do this! Unfortunately I can't convince my husband to get on board, he thinks the tires are too unsightly... Maybe I'll burry a few & see if he even notices :-p

  5. for those who think tires are unsightly...i painted the tops/rims white so that plants will not cook in the summer heat of mississippi. i also buried the tires up to their rims in wood chip mulch...makes every thing look better as well as keeping things moist and cool/warm as it should be and helpss to keep the weeds out as well. patrice..good job on your garden...and yep, it will be a whole lot easier next will need to keep your eye on watering your tire garden though...unless you actually get the kind of weather needed when you need it.

  6. On your double row of tires you could fill the center, diamond shaped, spaces with compost and plant whatever you wanted to there, also. It is already protected by wire and cardboard.