Raised Garden Beds
Reusing items found on property for garden beds
We live on acreage and although we have been here a long time there are certain items that we inherited when we bought the property that I considered rubbish but have since found a use for.
It seems like every property has a stash of old tyres and ours was no exception. Car tyres and large 4WD tyres we had about 30 of them and they got moved from one area to another as they are too expensive to take to the tip and we had no use for them.
A decade later we were still trying to hide them until one day I decided to find a use for these annoying eye sores.
Using a reticulating saw I cut the top and bottom out of the tyre, just leaving the outside edge (see photo) this stops the water sitting on the bottom rim. I place cardboard underneath to stop weeds and grass from growing up through the dirt. Then I fill it with compost and soil and plant in them.
Potatoes are great grown this way, as I simply add another tyre as they grow and keep topping up the soil. Usually, 3 tyres give an excellent yield.
I also grow carrots, ginger, garlic, and tumeric the same way, then when they are ready to harvest I remove the tyres and collect the veggies. Then I either spread the used soil around or I shovel it up, strain it through a sieve, add some organic matter and worm juice and use it again for something else.
After the floods earlier this year, I placed my tyres down either side of the driveway to control excess water flow, so now they also work like sandbags.
I look at tyres in a new way now and they have been helpful. Although I still have at leat 15 still looking for a use.
Herbs and other plants that tend to take over the garden I also grow in tyres to help control them.
Pumpkin vines, rockmelon, watermelon I use a similar method. I cut the tyre on one side and then open it up to create an outside edge. This holds the soil in until the plants establish themselves, one they have and start travelling down the to the ends, I simply open them up to allow them to spread where they will. It also stops the rain from washing the soil away until the plants are advanced enough top hold the soil themselves.
The hardest part is cutting through the sides, especially with steel belt radials, always wear protective eye gear and sturdy gloves.
Cutting through the top part is easier and each tyre has a weaker spot that is thinner, so look for that. I start with a sharp Stanley knife or similar to make a slit for the saw blade. After the first couple, you get a feel for the best way to do it. Car tyres are easier but also smaller.
For veggies like sweet potatoes, I use hay bales for the outer edge of the raised garden bed so I can get the depth I require. I wrap rope or string around the entire outside, along the top, middle and bottom to keep them together and hammer in a few stakes to stop them moving as they start to break down. This structure allows me to cover the top with wire to keep the **** bush turkeys out.
I use mulch hay, not feed hay, as this is much cheaper, about $6 a bale, and I get to use it when we are finished as mulch on my other gardens. When it is time to harvest I remove the hay bales and reuse them as compost. It makes it easier to find all the sweet potatoes this way.
Being on a farm we have leftover bits and pieces of timber, roofing iron, bricks, rocks etc. We reuse anything we can to avoid having to buy anything and this keeps the cost down.