Spring at LAST!

Check out that blue Colorado December Sky!
My new house in December
Check out that Colorado Sky!

I live in Colorado – which means my absolute glory in hauling landscaping materials may just as quickly turn to the ‘oh crap – they’re buried in snow’ blues when the next spring blizzard hits.

Nevertheless, I’m ready to begin my gardening project.

My first project is to used rammed-earth tires to build raised planting beds up against the house on the east, south and west sides.

My reasons for surrounding my house with garden beds are many:

  • Why spend $600 for gutters, when I can plant my garden where the run-off occurs naturally?
  • Extra insulation will aide in capturing the sun’s warmth in the winter
  • Growing things on trellises at the back of the bed will help cool the house in summer
  • I’m putting old tire waste to good, ecological use
  • A garden right outside the kitchen door – what’s not to love?
  • My garden will be easier to maintain and future owners won’t be tempted to use a gas-guzzling or electricity burning Roto-tiller in it.  (Although, the dudes from that Jackass show may try)
  • I like trying things the neighbors “pooh-pah” about and that I can’t find specific instructions for – makes me happy.

So Friday was spent getting the brick and gravel to fix the ditches near the foundation that the stucco guys left unfilled.

On Saturday, I suckered the child-unit into helping me haul in tires (for free from grateful local mechanics).

Full disclosure – suckering my child-unit into helping me consists of saying, “Please?  Pretty Please?  It’ll be so much more fun and quicker if you help me…What?  No, I meant funner and quicker for me…Yes, I’ll buy you a Gatorade and Sunflower seeds…I’m going to grow sunflower seeds and popcorn for you…yes…they’ll be planted right here and over here…”

I now have all the materials for Stage 1 of the plan – except for the dirt for the beds – which for my complete project plan will run from $1,380 to $2,000, depending on who I buy it from and whether I haul it myself or not.

What happened to “dirt cheap”?


Getting the dirt estimates Friday night sort of put the nix on my ecstatic mood derived from finally starting the project I’ve been dreaming of before I even moved in.

I’ll let you in on a little secret – I research ’til I’m blue in the face – I read – learn – ask questions –  use computer-aided drafting tools and databases to plan and cover every contingency.

And then there’s always one little thing I didn’t think about – that usually puts me in a tailspin – this time it was how pricey garden dirt is.

I woke up Saturday morning at 2:47 a.m., wondering whether I should even haul in the tires, as I can’t put them to use until I have dirt to ram into them…

I learned a long time ago the fastest way to get the Universe motivated to help you with a project is to start and let It figure out the details.  Did I not find this house within 36 hours of my decision to move?

Early Saturday morning, we started hauling tires even while my mind was quietly chanting,

“Dirt – Dirt – How am I going to get the Dirt?  Yes, I know, I should have faith – but I was raised that God helps them who help themselves – okay, mustard seed sized faith – I can do that.   See?  I’m hauling the tires.  Please make sure the dirt shows up.  Thank you.”

While unloading tires, magic happened.   As I reached to haul one off the tailgate, what should appear but a Ladybug!   The Guardian Angel for all who play in dirt alighted ever so gently and then sat calmly while I sent the child-unit to “quickly, but quietly” grab my camera so I could take a picture of her.

The Garden Fairy - Ladybug
The Garden Fairy – Ladybug

After posing prettily for the camera, she enjoyed the ride as I ever so gently carried the tire and placed it in the corner-stone position.

I consider my project duly approved and blessed.

I hauled in all the tires to be had –  here’s a shot of my beautiful Easter Lily and you can just make out the stacked tires behind – patiently waiting for dirt.

My "Thank You for Driving Me" gift from Mom.
My “Thank You for Driving Me” gift from Mom.


10 thoughts on “Spring at LAST!”

  1. Good read. One thought on the water run off from the roof – heavy rains can cause wash out at the drip line. I’m using barrels for catchment and then run that into the garden. If you do not have gutters just sort of plan for heavy rain – although there is a drought going on. Any how best of luck


    1. Thanks so much for stopping by and the insights.

      I had originally planned on doing just what you suggested – but upon looking at the eve overhangs and the fact that we just haven’t been getting the downpours like we used to, (except when we get hail!) I decided to nix the gutters and am instead doing the following:

      I’m setting up the beds in square-foot gardening method and the roof overhang is around a foot/foot and 1/2. So down the middle of the bed, in line with the roof overhang, I’m placing a 1/2 cut section of 4″ PVC with holes drilled in it – to catch then more gently disperse, the fall-off. At each end, I’ll put containers to catch the run off if we get a gully washer that the holes won’t disperse.

      I’m hoping it works – my dear, departed Dad was a plumber and so I inherited certain supplies and looking for ways to put them to use!



        1. Oh Thank Goodness! After looking at your site, I was afraid your experience and knowledge might contain information of why that wouldn’t work and I’d have to go back to Ye Olde Drawing Board…!



    1. Thanks for asking!

      No – I sent emails to friends and family asking if they knew of some kind of locally available alternatives (lasagna gardening won’t work in the tires, they need to be packed firm to be structurally sound, but with good soil, so I can grow in the borders as well)

      I’m chronicling this 2 year project in two books, Functional First – Pretty if Possible, Parts I & II, and am working on a post offering Free pre-release copies of the books (fall 2013 and 2014) in exchange for donations to the Dirt Fund – 🙂

      At this point, those are the only ideas I’ve had, so I’m hoping my actions will demonstrate to the Universe my sincerity and willingness and am now waiting to see what miracles will unfold!

      If you’ve got any thoughts/ideas, I’m all ears!



        1. 🙂 And such good ones! Visited your site – guess we both know about the importance of keeping the faith and finding inspiration – thanks for visiting me and taking the time comment. Look forward to seeing your new posts.


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