Idea sent in by Little Ted (Birmingham) - January 2012
If you want to create some raised beds very quickly for plants that required good surface drainage and deep rich soil, such as marrows pumpkins, squashes and courgettes (cucurbitaceae / cucurbit family) then an ideal solution is to use old tyres placed on their sides and filled with soil. The bigger the tyre the better. We managed to scrounge some old tractor tyres from a local farmer for our raised beds (shown above). They cost nothing and should virtually last forever, as apposed wooden retainers and even brick which crumbles in the frost. I find that the soil temperature rises very quickly in the spring because the black colour absorbs the sun's rays and the rubber insulates well, keeping the heat in, so my crops get away quickly. I have also added the following pictures from some another plots on my allotment who share the same idea.
The end of winter is the best time to look around for old tyres ready for planting in the spring. I find the best places to get old used tyres from are small garages, larger garages and tyre outlets might not let you have any because they often sell them on in bulk to recycling facilities. Because smaller garages have to pay to dispose of them, they are more likely let you have them for free.