Last year I read about recycling tires as planter boxes. After snitching a truckbed full of tires from a local tire store (every place I've been to says to help yourself) and rolling them down our hill, I put the tomatoes in their new homes and hoped for the best. Here's what I learned from last year:
Pros: Once you get the tires home and into your garden space, you don't have to mess with getting more each year. They're really durable and you'll have them forever.
You can tell that the area inside the rubber walls is warm and cozy - perfect for your little tomato starts!
You can put mulch, gravel or Preen all around the tires and not have to worry about weeding that area.
The slightly elevated planter lets the soil drain better.
Cons: Not as pretty to look at as other gardens (I don't care but it might bother some people)
If you want to rotate your planting areas or rototill under the tires, it's kind of a pain. It's worth it though.
They take up more room than the trendy new square-foot gardens.
Changes I'll make this year: I won't fill up the tires with as much dirt, leaving more of the young plant inside the rubber walls.
The tomatoes climbed up the larger cages better and seemed to produce more tomatoes. I might have to invest in more big cages.
Because I want to bottle tomatoes for the winter, I'm also putting in more plants than last year.
It turns out that I can't be trusted at the nursery. When I thought 'more plants' I wasn't really envisioning the rows and rows of lovely varieties of tomatoes. I could not choose! It also doesn't help that some of them came in 4-packs instead of singles. So... even after spending only $23, we might have ended up with a few more tomatoes than I originally planned.
I have another 2 rows of beans to put in, as well as some carrots, cucumbers, pumpkins and a watermelon for the kids. But that will have to wait until tomorrow. I decided not to plant my peppers for another 2 weeks. It's supposed to be cold for a few days and last year my peppers sulked and moped until June when it was good and hot.