This is from A survival prep group I receive feeds from. Great ideas, I think.
Hey honey -- that's the size of my van tires, isn't it? :o)
The lazy way to grow tomatoes
Gardening is hard work, all the bending, stooping, pulling, planting, picking, plucking, composting and other chores can leave you exhausted by the end of the day. In a survival situation, time will be at a minimum and energy should be conserved if possible.
For example; if you burn 500 calories chasing a squirrel through the trees, but only extract 150 calories from the meat, that is a loss and a slow way of starving to death.
If there is an easier way of doing something, I am all for it. Why do three times the work for the same amount of gain? My solution is the tire garden, correctly done, they entail little work after initial set up and produce more than the traditional row garden in the same amount of space.
Advantages of the tire garden
* Reduced soil compaction - plant roots need air to grow with the tire garden you avoid stepping on and compacting the soil.
* Plants can be spaced closer together in a tire garden because you do not need places to step. This increases productivity per square foot of space.
* Tire gardens tend to drain away excess moisture better than the ordinary garden, but retain a reservoir of water within the bottom wall.
* Soil conditions and types can be controlled more efficiently in a tire garden and they can be varied easily from bed to bed and for different plants.
* Tire gardens can extend you're gardening season. They tend to warm up a little sooner in the spring and remain productive later in the fall.
* Less weeding, plants in a tire garden are spaced just far enough apart to avoid crowding but close enough to shade out weeds.
* Using difficult sites. Growing in tires makes gardening possible on sites where you otherwise could not grow plants.
I use a jigsaw with metal cutting blade to cut out the top around the tread of each tire, leaving one side of intact, this is the bottom and acts as a reservoir to hold water but still allowing proper drainage, the roots can grow through the center and into the ground, so there is no need to worry about plants becoming root bound.
A P235/75R15 tire has six square feet of growing space when you cut out one side up to the tread. A garden of 17 tires will have a growing area of just over one hundred square feet, with no wasted space for rows.
Tomato growing tips
For tomatoes I try to keep the soil pH in the 6.2 - 6.8 range, you can check this with an inexpensive pH test kit found at most nurseries, or hardware stores. To make your soil more alkaline add hydrated lime in small amounts until reaching the desired level. If your soil needs to be more acidic, sulfur may be used to lower the pH.
I mix top soil with potting mix at a ratio of three to one. Three gallon top soil, one gallon of potting mix.
I also like to mix two parts composted cow manure to one part chicken manure. If you have it Vermiculite, pearlite, and/or peat moss mixed in will "lighten" the soil, helping the roots to breath.
After the plants become established I like to spread a thin mulch of grass clippings or wood chips around the plants to conserve water and impede weed growth, this in itself will cut the work load by at least 25%, not to shabby for what amounts to maybe 15 minutes of effort per tire.
Gardening When It Counts: Growing Food in Hard Times by Steve Solmon, this book covers everything you need to know about growing food in hard times.
If you garden you need seed, The Survival Seed Vault carries non hybrid seed prepackaged for long term storage.
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