We’ve been collecting old tires for a while now. Whenever we would get our hands on one, we’d throw them on the side of the barn in hopes that in one day we’ll think of something useful for them. In fact, old tires are hella handy to have around the farm. You can grow potatoes in them (although that didn’t work out too well for us last year), make nesting boxes out of them for your chickens, build an Earth home with them, just throw them down a hill and see whose tire goes the furthest or make flower planters out of them… which is what we did.
I’ll admit it, the front of our house is a little bit of an eyesore right now. The house needs a new paint job, the foundation just got patched up and needs to be re-painted and there’s weeds growing everywhere. It needed some TLC and a little bit of color. So Saturday morning, Dave and I took the time to make our house look more like a home and less like the “before” example on an episode of This Old House.
So where to begin? Well, we had an existing rock path in front of the house (flat rocks that we found along our creek’s dry wash) that had to be moved. Dave dug out the dirt, rocks and leveled out the site the best we could.
While Dave did the hard stuff, I gathered up the tires and drilled holes into the walls of the tires. If you’re going to put living things inside a container, you need adequate drainage. We learned this lesson the hard way last season when we tried to grow potatoes in tires. If you don’t drill holes, there’s no way for the water to seep out and you’ll end up with root rot and root rot doesn’t produce beautiful flowers… or potatoes. 🙁
However, holes in a tire won’t be enough drainage. The soil underneath the tire planters is terribly, terribly compacted clay. So we laid down a bed of gravel about 3 inches deep before we placed the tires.
After we had the gravel bed set up, we placed the tires where we wanted them. Then we added more gravel underneath each tire to make them even and level with each other. And we added more gravel around and in the center of each tire to really solidify it in place.
Almost done! We took the dirt that we took out of the site and packed it back in around the tires. I mean really packed it in. Hard. With a rubber mallet. Those tires aren’t going anywhere! After the tires were set, we put the flat rocks back in around the tires to, y’know… make it look nice.
We’re not finished just yet. Once the weather warms up and we’re ready to plant our peonies and dahlias, we’ll fill each tire rim with a thin layer of gravel. This, along with the holes we drilled, will help drain the water and lessen the likelihood of root rot. After we’ve added in gravel, we’ll fill it with some good organic potting soil and throw the bulbs in.
While we wait for those pretties to come up, we’re going to expand our rock walk way and possibly paint the tires. Then, once the peonies and dahlias bloom they’ll get big and tall, no one will even notice the crappy looking foundation…. right?