After my family put the tire garden together, we waited for a nice day at the beginning of May. I put smocks on Cadi, Cori and Izech then gave them each a paint brush and some white paint. We all got to work painting the tire stacks. I found a gallon of white outdoor paint in the clearance paint section at Walmart, which happened to be enough to paint all the visible parts of the tires (18 of them). The kids had a blast, got a little messy, and did a great job.
In case you missed the initial set up, you can view it here:
We let the paint dry for a few days. The next rainy day, I planted the seeds and labeled the tires. After last year, I have some idea on how much sunlight each part of the space gets, so I took some time to research what plants can survive with help in lower light areas. I set up the planting areas based on that. I also made sure that I didn’t plant the same crop as I had in that spot last year. I really wanted to do a lot of herbs this year so I can dry and bottle them for the next year. I felt I didn’t need whole tires of each plant, so I planted 2 to a stack on some. I also chose a long lasting cooking-style tomato to grow, Due to the space requirements of each plant, I am only able to grow 1 plant in a tire instead of 3 to 6 like most of the other plants. I was very excited to get to try my hand at carrots again this year. I am hoping that since they are planted in 2 feet of loose soil in the tires, they will grow properly. With my first attempt at carrots, I only loosened 10 to 12 inches, which caused them to grow very short and stubby. The onions I planted were not originally planned, but I remembered reading somewhere that if you have an onion in the house that’s sprouts green, you can peel and cut off all the layers down to the very middle, plant it, and regrow your onion. I thought it was a very cool idea and decided to try it when I had a sweet onion sprout green. When we cut down the layers, we found it actually had 3 sprouts instead of just 1. They each got planted. One did not survive an attempt to be turned into a sand castle by Cori, but the other two seem to be growing well.
This year, we decided to plant:
Sugar snap peas
Green beans (bush style)
I haven’t had to water much so far, because it has been raining almost everyday. I already have green bean, cucumber,carrot, lettuce, spinach, and potato sprouts. Once all of the plants have started to grow, I will be covering the top soil in the tires with reflective material to reflect the sunlight back into the plant. This will help the plants grow better in a low sunlight area by increasing the light that reaches it. Once the potato plants get to be about 14-18 inches tall, another tire will be added to the stack, filled with dirt, and painted. This will cause the plant to grow upwards outwards, producing more potatoes in a smaller area.
Stay tuned for the next installment of A Golden Family Garden in a few weeks!