As concerns about interruptions in the supply chain due to the pandemic hit the news, Victory Gardens are once again becoming popular. This is great news!
Building a garden infrastructure can be expensive, especially for those in urban or suburban environments where open space is limited. If you start pricing boards for building raised beds, for example, you’re likely to come away shaking your head in disbelief.
Surely there is some inexpensive way to establish a viable garden?
There is. I’m here to tell you about an excellent free resource for raised bed gardening which nearly everyone ignores because of a powerful but incorrect urban myth about the dangers. I refer to gardening in tires. Yes, tires. Car tires, truck tires, tractor tires…you name it. And, these can be used tires!
When we moved to our rural homestead seventeen years ago, we thought it would be a simple matter to establish a garden. After all, how hard could it be? Plow, plant, water, and voilà: Food security.
We were wrong. We hadn’t factored in the heavy clay soil, pests ranging from deer to voles, and especially the tough prairie grasses. Every year we found our vegetables overwhelmed with weeds and baked into hard clay. No one who hasn’t experienced prairie grasses has any idea how pervasive, stubborn, and overwhelming those grasses can be. Since we didn’t have a tractor, our attempt to keep a half-acre garden weed-free was impossible.
For nine years, we struggled to plant in the ground, and for nine years, we failed. We tilled in compost and mulched. We pulled weeds, and we pulled more weeds. When it looked like we might succeed with a modest patch of beans or peas, the deer would invade, or the voles would dig things up (or an early frost would hit), and that would be the end of that.
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