After deciding where my tyre planter was going to be positioned, I had to decide what to plant.  After losing most of my courgettes last year to the slugs, I thought the tyres would be a good way to get them off the ground….so that was the plan for the upper levels.   I also had loads of spare strawberry and pineberry plants … so I had a plan for the lower levels too.

Not having much spare compost, and realising that you would lose about 1/3 growing area to the tyre above, I decided to part fill the bottom tyres with some rubble.

 The outer tyres were then filled with strawberries and the middle one filled with pineberries. I hadn’t realised that the pineberries needed to be cross-pollinated with strawberries, otherwise as I found out last year, you won’t get fruit. 

Now came the decision of how to keep the soil in the next layer of tyres. I had initially planned to use thick plastic bags but wanted something that allowed excess water out, and again I didn’t want to fill the tyres completely with soil. Cue brainwave no2!  I had some polystyrene in the garage from the delivery of the dishwasher, and I had some semi-permeable patio liner … a plan was beginning to form. 

I added a layer of polystyrene to the upper tyres, reducing the depth by about a third.  This sounded easier that it was in practice, as I hadn’t noticed that a couple of the tyres were less deep that the others, so I had a moment of confusion when one of the tyres were over half filled by the polystyrene.

Cue a shuffle around of the tyres to prevent a lop-sided pyramid, and a significant amount of cutting of the polystyrene. Layer 3 was ready. 

The same process was applied to the top layer. Polystyrene and a layer of patio liner, and then a mix of homemade and shop bought peat-free compost, my masterpiece was ready for planting.

I am very proud of my mini-tyre pyramid, and I’m sure there was a far easier way to construct it, but I wanted to use what I had to hand.

In a couple of weeks the courgettes will be ready to plant and I will need to figure out how to keep the pigeons off the new shoots; the neighbourhood pigeons seem to have honed onto my garden. Having already eaten all of the pak choi and half of the beetroots I had planted out (maybe a little too early, but I was getting impatient).

 So, the Pimms and Lemonade is ready and waiting for my first strawberries and then later in the summer courgette & carrot cake.

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