24 April 2008

Asparagus and rhubarb

Heap of old tyresThe original plan was to have one bed as the perennial bed, holding rhubarb, asparagus and soft fruit. Given the dampness of the patch at this time of year, we decided to make use of the heap of old tyres/tires behind the big barn and plant the rhubarb and asparagus inside them, so that they wouldn't get waterlogged.

Today the rhubarb and asparagus roots arrived, so we lugged six tyres into place. Then I opened the box holding the plants and realised that the six asparagus roots I thought I'd ordered had somehow become THIRTY six. So we used up the remaining tyres and placed them onto the bed immediately to the south of the perennial bed (this area had originally been earmarked for a 'three sisters' Mohawk-style planting of beans, corn and squash). Even then, I ran out of space in the tyres and had to plant the remaining eleven roots in the soil. In puddles in the soil, to be precise. We used up more of the manure and borrowed topsoil from what will be the brassica bed to fill up the tyres. I'm worried that there's too much manure in the mix, but we'll have to wait and see how they all do.

It may not look aesthetically pleasing, but it is satisfying to know that we've recycled the tyres. It'll be even more satisfying if everything grows.


Lavender and Vanilla Friends of the Gardens said...

Hi Amanda, Stept into your garden and saw you are busy with vegetable plantings. I have seen tyres used as vegetable planters, also for potatoes. Good idea. are you using some of permaculture ideas too? I saw potatoes growing that way in tyres. I wish you sunny spring days.

Amanda said...

Hi Titania

I hadn't really come across the principles of permaculture until I read your comment, but now I've had a look I see that it chimes in very well with what I'm trying to do here, in terms of becoming a lot more self-sufficient and trying not to have a negative impact on the land.

Though if the asparagus survives this experiment, we shall be having to give the stuff away in years to come, there's so many more plants than I thought I'd ordered!

Esther Montgomery said...


I understand how potatoes are grown in stacks of tyres but I'm not sure I understand how this will work.

On the one hand - won't water collect in the rims. On the other, won't they dry out easily when the weather 'improves'?

Are they resting on anything other than the earth?

It would be interesting to have some more info.


Amanda said...

Hi Esther

The tyres are a raised bed, really. Asparagus likes deep, well-drained soil and ours is simply sodden in the spring. The deep roots will be able to grow down through the soil below the tyres, but hopefully the crowns will be high enough up that they won't rot through being too wet. Well, that's my theory anyway!

They'll certainly need a fair bit of watering this year, when it gets dry again. But I hope that by next year the root system will be well-established and less watering will be needed.

It is a bit of an experiment...

Nancy said...

The black tires (U.S. spelling) will absorb heat too, and release it a bit slower on cool nights. Might help extend the growing season a little.