Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Planting peas

Now that I'm finished gallivanting off to Colorado, it's time to get serious about the garden. We've been having a spate of cold nasty windy weather (it was 39F this morning and we lit the woodstove because the house was so chilly), so I figure the best thing to plant first in the garden is peas, which don't mind cold nasty windy weather.

But before I could plant, I needed to get the tires ready. Except for the potatoes, these will be the first "rows" in my nascent tire garden.

I started by putting newspaper and wire mesh below each tire, then shoveling some dirt (just regular dirt from the plowed garden) into the tires.

Then I filled about 2/3 of the remaining space with composted manure. Got lots of that.

Then I shoveled another layer of just plain dirt over the top. I'm aware that I'm also shoveling some weeds and their root systems, but that's okay. Oddly enough, I don't mind weeding -- and at least with tires, the weeds are confined. Once they're gone, they're gone.

I paused and took some photos of a robin, possibly my all-time favorite bird. He was comfortable enough that he spent some time grooming as I took pix.

Filling the tires is actually pretty quick work, except for trundling the manure over from the pile.

While I worked, the chickens took dust baths in the pile of topsoil. Dust baths help keep mites down on chickens. It's a good healthy thing for them to do.

It was a day of grumbly thunder...

...though most of the rain skirted around us.

Older Daughter, who loves thunderstorms, perched on our driveway gate to watch the show.

Anyway, I diligently filled all the tires for which I had newspapers and mesh already installed.

Then I came in and counted out peas, and realized I didn't have nearly enough tires. Back to the drawing board.

So the next day I added another sixteen tires. This time laying down newspapers and mesh was complicated by the high gusty wind. Really complicated. Newspapers and wind don't match.

Then I started trundling manure and filling tires. This took so long that I didn't get finished until just before dark.

So the next day I finally got around to planting peas.

According to the planting directions on the package, I could fit about 20 peas per tire without crowding.

My robin friend was back, looking for grub.


But I only got about one-third of the way through planting the peas when I got driven in by rain. Heavy rain. And as I write this, it's only 42 degrees and pouring -- decidedly chilly for late May!

Oh well, I'll finish planting peas tomorrow.


  1. Here's how I'm doing mt potato's this year. They are doing good after I got rid of the catapillers!

  2. We keep a very large plant saucer on the lawn filled with water. Most of the birds stand on the ground with a few smaller ones perching on the edge of the saucer. They all get busy on the hydration job. We have a pair of robins and a pair of blue jays that look on it as their own bath tub. The robins in particular like to take a very leisurely bath, splashing half of the water out. Then they fly up onto the rose trellis and shake out their feathers until they are satisfied and fly away.

  3. We're having the same weather here.


    I've been stubbornly refusing to build a fire...donning hand-warmers and wearing my hair down. But I need to keep busy or the chill catches up with me.

    I slow-roasted some chicken and rice with vegetables for supper, so that helped, too.

    I heard thunder (a rarity here) and saw some serious funnels out over the water marine traffic all day that I could see. Good day not to be out there.

    On the upside, the lilacs and rhododendrons are deliriously happy and blooming their heads off, and look very beautiful.

    Tomorrow will be better....I hope!

    What will you give your peas to climb on?

    A. McSp.

  4. Will trade places with you here in Phoenix in a heartbeat! I haven't seen the news yet tonight, but up to 112 degrees was predicted as a possibility today. It was hot, but I don't think it was that hot.

    I am trying to grow tomatoes, peppers, and some herbs in containers on my patio. Some of the tomatoes have been "munched" on, and this morning I discovered hummingbirds hovering around the tomato plants. I think I have the culprits!

    Someday I will get back up to my beloved eastern Washington state, and have my own little plot of land a little north of Spokane.

  5. Patrice, I especially love your blogs where you include photos. You capture many beautiful shots but that one of the thunderstorm (immediately under the words... "though most of the rain skirted around us") is just awesome. What a vivid contrast of blue and green. Spectacular shot!! Thanks for sharing.

    Good luck with your peas. I bet the deer will want some too - interested to see how you manage that issue. Your tyre (Aussie spelling) garden looks fantastic - what a clever idea. I hope it gives you the success you deserve. Love your persistence.

    1. I noticed that Older Daughter loves thunderstorms. If I may, I would like to recommend a couple of books for her.

      1. When the Sirens Were Silent:How the Warning System Failed a Community

      2. Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather

      Both are by Mike Smith, and are available on the Kindle.

  6. i don't understand why you are planting in the tires and not right in the ground. What did i miss?

    1. You missed this:

      - Patrice

  7. Your garden season is just beginning as mine is being put on hold due to extreme heat. :) I'll be replanting in August or September for a fall crop. Nothing that isn't already established would survive if planted now.

  8. I've known about planting in tires for many years, but have never done it because I've worried about toxins of one sort or another.
    Glad to read they are safe!

    Have you tried using cardboard as a weed block also?
    I imagine you leave out the shiny ad parts of the paper?
    Good luck with your peas!

  9. Patrice, I was in Spokane, at the PETRO on the west end of town, when those thunderstorms rolled through. Got my semi rockin' and rollin'. Got caught walking from the store to my truck when one of the storms hit. Fortunately I can still run a little bit.

  10. I am a novice with using tires for my first question was...aren't tires toxic?

    So I googled it and found this:

    To summarize: Yes, tires contain potentially harmful chemicals. But studies show that the chemicals are released only when tires are burned, melted, pelletized or shredded. There is no scientific evidence that shows any harmful chemical release from whole, unshredded tires.

    This is kind of a gut feeling for me and leaves me still in doubt. Don't know if I would plant this way even though I see you would have much more control and potental for harvest success.