I will attempt to answer that question very simply: A lot.

I am starting to recover from my bout of sickness now, and so I had the itch to get outside today, even though it was ridiculously cold (typically, I’ve been ill through the best of the weather of late. Glorious Sunshine plus Sick Ria equals Sad Face.)

We’ve been attempting, as best we can, to recycle whatever we can find here. And just up the road from us is a garage, run by a friend of the family. He is always willing to pass along some old car tyres to anyone who’s willing to take them, and in fact, he goes out of his way to help you, bringing them down in his trailer and all. It saves him the cost of having them removed, and we get something useful for free! Everyone wins really.

Well, for a long time, David has wanted to plant potatoes in tyres. We’ll be doing that next year, as a part of the new vegetable garden project (more on that next week). Until then, we have 50 car tyres to make use of. So we came up with a plan between us to use them as a retaining wall. But as well as that, to make some extra green space (as if we need more…) we’re planting them up with some spring bulbs (specifically, a whole load of Welsh daffodils and the free spring bulb collections I received from Gardener’s World recently.) and in the springtime, I’ll be adding some nasturtiums to the mix to extend the flowering season, and in hope that the foliage will, ahem, ‘decorate’ the tyres somewhat.

Cue me, a barrow, and a spade, walking the length and breadth of the garden in order to fill these deceptively large tyres. I am keen to do this project as cheaply as possible, seeing as I am using recycled materials from the outset, it makes sense to keep the project low-budget! So I went in hunt around the garden for some usable soil, to save me a small fortune on bags of compost, and had my eyes on the huge pile of loamy compost which has been slowly rotting away near the front of the garden for two years now. And I do mean pretty huge. It’s a heap about eight foot high which was made when my father scalped the whole garden for us with his mini digger. Most of the topsoil and turf from this endeavour went over the edge of the garden river-side, but we reserved some and piled it in the hope of obtaining some decent quality loamy compost. That succeeded, and even a small pile of the stuff was sufficient to fill four tyre stacks.

But it was far from easy.

You’re very unlikely to be able to make me out in this photo, but I am the little speck standing next to the chicken coop. David took this from the tyre wall. I had to walk this path many a time to get the soil I so badly wanted to my precious new tyre garden. Believe me, it was not fun. But we do love to torture ourselves don’t we? It will be worth it for the costs I’ll save, and even though you can’t see the legendary loam pile (It’s well hidden by the chicken coop and a LOT of big weeds) it’ll be wonderful to shrink that a little bit too.

So day by day, I’m going to attempt to fill four stacks at a time. I have about twelve stacks in total to go, not including the next wall, which probably won’t be done now until next year anyway. The next plan is to buy a few bumper packs of Welsh Daffs, and use these as the main flower of the tyres, with the free alliums and other spring bulbs dotted about for some variety. Nasturtiums in spring, and it should hopefully make a very colourful little display. It has the added bonus of being an ‘edge’ to the garden, which we are thinking very seriously about now, before little Maisey grows up and starts threatening to run down the river!

So it looks like a fun weekend ahead – I’ll update you when it comes to bulb planting time!