Monday, March 24, 2014

Tire Recycling is Fun

About 12 years ago, I was really, really into composting. I fretted about C:N ratios, I tweaked what I put in it, and worried if it didn't heat up "enough." Then I realized that quite frankly- compost happens. But one good thing did arise from my obsession- someone recommended I build a composter from Paul Farber's plans in his epic "Tire Recycling Is Fun." (it has since been updated and re-branded as "Tirecrafting" but the basic premise is the same).

It is an awesome book. The very well done illustrations made it much easier to follow than pictures would have, and it is written in a very engaging style that makes you want to try it! I rushed out and made a Grecian urn from a rusty bias tire with rim I found on the beach (still has tulips planted in it) and then.... ran out of space and time for a while. A few years back I re-read it and made some garden edging from tires someone had thrown out beside the road. Then I re-read it about a month ago and decided to make a composter, since I had found four enormous truck tires beside the road recently. (And as a funny coincidence, one of my favorite blogs: "The Walden Effect" recently had a post about using tires in the garden, which prompted me to post my experience.)
Excerpt from Tire Recycling Is Fun

I loaded the tires up in my truck, drilled holes in the sidewalls and started in with my jigsaw and a plywood blade. Worked fine. Take it slow and don't overheat your jigsaw. When I was finished I had a stack of tires without sidewalls that was about a meter high, and about a meter in diameter. In the book, he describes the major advantage to ring composting- mixing. Pull the top tire off and it scrapes the material down. Put that tire next to the stack and shovel the unfinished compost into it. Then do the same for the others. When you are done, the compost has been mixed and inverted with very little effort (comparatively).

Tire composter with lid (to keep out the crows)

Tire composter full.

Perfect! I thought- what can I do with the sidewalls? And it struck me- these would be perfect rings around fruit trees! They could hold mulch in them, give a definite boundary to trim to with my string trimmer, and they will last pretty much forever. Fruit trees seldom get so big that the rims would choke them, it just seems like a natural idea.

Tire sidewall mulching ring