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The Urban Tire Garden

I was challenged physically these last few months and with a limited capacity to do stuff I relied a lot on gardening to keep me active when I was able to be even a little bit mobile .So in dribs and drabs of activity  I've been refitting my permaculture garden which takes up the strip of land in front of the house.

And my refit is based around recycled car tires.

Tires are a disposal pain in the proverbial for the motor vehicle industry. Your standard  mechanic has to pay over a dollar  to get each tire taken away from their workshop They cannot go into land fill. They collect water in which mosquitoes breed. But if you front up and ask for a supply -- they'll be free for the taking -- and I've taken plenty!

The Tire Garden -- Garden Noir

I started using tires to create a worm farm (pictured left) and then I thought I'd use them to edge some  trees I planted on the nature strip. Since then I've  used them to create my new ' garden noir' and serve as a base for, of all things, an outdoor wood fired oven(pictured bottom  left).

If you want to 'tire garden' properly you need to take a blade to the tires so you can turn them inside out (see my tire gardening bookmarks on delicious  for the DIY & references). I then bury each tire rim half into the soil and mulch inside the conference once I've planted seedling. I do this to reduce the the heat retained by the black rubber. I also mulch around the outside of the tire where I can.

These tire 'crop' circles   act as self contained units, akin to the notion of square foot and one metre gardening principles such that I can even take up the tire,slice off the topsoil and move the mini garden to a new location -- along with wormlife on board. Over weedy or infertile soil, just lay down a newspaper mulch before placing the garden on top. This level of portability means I can redesign my garden any time I want by simply shifting the tire rims, and their contents , around.

Because my garden is divided  up into set clearly defined circle patterns I have more control over my gardening. and I can more easily plan my planting schedule.

For mulch I rely on local mowing businesses, who appreciate the free disposal of their 'green waste'-- and in deference to  The One Straw Revolution and Masanobu Fukuoka I take care to  clump up and make uneven the mulch surface. So I drop handfulls of grass cuttings every now and then as required with the principle in mind, that I am really a landlord for worms. I  treat the whole space as a worm farm -- and worms are there a plenty as I allowed my original  colony of Tiger worms --  Eisenia fetida  --  to settle there.

I also build my compost bins/worm farms out of tires too. With occasional turnings,  liberal sprinklings of lawn clippings,a handful of lime now and then,    all the household food scraps other than meats go into these tire bins.

As for a exercise quotient, gardening like this is great  because nothing has to be done straightaway. While not much has to be done anyway -- except for watering -- any issue that arises can always be put off until tomorrow.
I guess the only complication I've had to deal with is accommodate the trees -- a mango especially -- and other plants -- tamarillo, banana and paw paw -- which were planted before I adopted this tire mode of agriculture.

But in a tire, turned inside out,  is a great place to start green thumbing.
If you want to put a marker on this approach, just think about being it dedicated to being a landlord for worms.


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