Country Living Series

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Wanting spring

What is it about the lengthening days that make people long for their gardens? I don't long to garden in December. But even though there's still thick snow on the ground, show me the end of February and I'll show you my gardening plans.


Yesterday I walked out to the garden to start planning infrastructure improvements. The snow was pristine and untouched.


All of the smaller tires are coming out this spring. They were the first tires I installed when we first conceived the idea of tire gardening, and therefore they don't have a foundation of tarps and gravel for weed and pest control.



We've found that the larger tractor tires, placed over tarps and gravel (which allows drainage), have given much better results. We're transitioning to nearly all tractor tires. Some will be split in half for shallower beds, others will be whole (except for the sidewalls cut out) for deeper beds.


Here are the strawberry beds. Can't wait for oodles of fresh strawberries this summer!


One of the things I wanted to do yesterday was pace off our unused garden spaces and determine how many more tractor tires will fit. Then I counted how many tractor tires we have and tried to guesstimate how many more we'll need.



We have 36 large tractor tires on hand, which theoretically will yield 72 planting beds. But not all will be split in half. Some of the biggest tires -- huge three foot monsters -- will merely have the top and bottom sidewalls cut out, then planted with fruit or walnut trees. We're going to fence off a separate area for an orchard and keep the original garden space strictly for veggies and small fruits (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries).

In theory we can fit another 120+ tractor tire halves into the garden, though it's doubtful we'll get all of that done this year (we don't have enough tires for one thing). We'll also be installing a drip irrigation system, since a garden that big will take far too long to water by hand.

This also means that we'll be recruiting more tractor tires come spring!

Meanwhile, a friend sent me this photo which (ahem) I thought was apropos.

14 comments:

  1. Love the waves in the snow your tires made. Get in close, crop out the other stuff and you've got real art. Sell it for $499 in a NY art study and call it., Rubber Seas or something. Me too. Cannot wait for this dang winter to pass

    ReplyDelete
  2. This post is all about FAITH!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Back in January my Grandfather died unexpectedly (resulting in a $700 plane ticket to go to the funeral), we spent $200+ on furnace repairs (coulda been so much worse, but really bad timing), had frozen pipes twice (they still haven't told us if we're going to have to pay for the meter, which the ice split in half)......I told my husband I didn't care what the budget looked like, I was buying seeds and starting plants d*mnit! I desperetly needed something green and growing! My garden expansion (in tires I might add) has been charted out on paper, how much the "extras" are going to cost us has been figured.....*sigh* average last frost here is the end of April! I want my garden!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. (wince) Oh Ruth, I'm so sorry for all your troubles. Spring is just ahead!

      - Patrice

      Delete
  4. What a great photo!

    Even though our ground here is fine for gardening. I'm thinking more and more I'd like to do some sort of raised bed gardening. All the bending over is starting to annoy my back.

    Shouldn't be too long, hopefully!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At my age, my knees and back can't take it anymore either. I found the book "Lasagna Gardening" by Patricia Lanza and it changed my gardening life. No more digging!

      Jane

      Delete
  5. Everything I've read about using tires for gardens says there is no chemical type risk....my only concern is being able to keep stuff wet enough. Our average summer highs are will into the 90's, and I just worry that the black tire material is going to cook my plants roots.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are a variety of irrigation systems availible to buy, and I imagine that it wouldn't be to hard to build some kind of drip system without paying the prices for the fancy ones (if I can build a self recycling fish tank system with no plans then a basic drip watering system shouldn't be hard!).

      Delete
    2. greg - as tire gardeners for years, i can tell you that i very rarely ever need to water the tires because, yes, because the tires are black and trap the heat ( a good thing in our northern clime) - they also have the extra benefit of keeping moisture right down to the roots. irrigation of some sort is always an option, but i just want to let you know that the tires retain moisture as well as heat.

      Delete
  6. What does it say about me that I dream of gardens all year long? I couldn't garden in tires, however, for the same reason I couldn't live in a yurt. The OCD in me needs straight lines. We are about 100 miles north of you and got 30" of snow last week. Guess you'll be getting your garden in before us ;)

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm tired of being cold and wet. Sick of white and brown. If I eat another rutabaga, I think I'm going to cry. I want raspberries and tender young greens and new potatoes and fried green tomatoes.

    I'd settle just to stand outside and feel warm.

    You're a better woman than I am Patrice. You want to garden-- I just want to sleep for another three weeks. Can't do that...

    ReplyDelete
  8. We received our seed catalogues about two weeks ago. I'm drooling. I want it all. The whole thing the seeds ,the bulbs the gadgets all of it. Except I'm not a millionaire , we have challenging growing conditions an limited space. Oh well dreams of eye popping lush garden live on. Besides the weather the past few days has been wonderful, but snow is in the forcas. So it's back to dreaming

    ReplyDelete
  9. I know you've heard it before but if there is way in the future to have beds that are not tyres you should really try to get them.
    There was a study recently on Australian Gum trees that had gold in the leaves. They had drawn the gold up from the ground, all the way into the leaves. The tyres are toxic and leaching into your soil then on into your plants.
    I do admire how thrifty you and Don are though and I know there is not always a better option.
    Blessings, Amanda

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love the pics :) especially the one with the woman gardening in the snow, It seems to scream my name cause that's me. For me spring can't come quick enough simply because I'm kind of tired of being so cold that I feel like I can't ever warm up and lately I'm not only tired of the cold, but I'm tired of the gloomy grey skies, and the rain. I know we don't get snow down here like ya'll get up there, but I need the warm spring days and sunshine. Mostly I can't wait for warmer weather not only to get outside and garden to my hearts content but to be able to sit outside and watch the critters and birds, and to take long bike rides on the back of Sean's motorcycle. It has proven to be one of the biggest stress reliefs in our lives.

    ReplyDelete