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Reusing Tires in the Garden

Worn out used tires can be recycled and find new decorative and functional uses in your garden. This is a guide about reusing tires in the garden.
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December 5, 20160 found this helpful

This is a guide about making a recycled tire desert garden. Recycled tires, painted or unpainted, can be used to make a garden decoration to contain your plants or shrubs.

tire with lamp

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April 21, 20130 found this helpful

This is a guide about making tire planters. Old tires have been used for years to make inexpensive and creative planters.

Tire planter with flowers in it.

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
April 5, 2011

Old tire gardening again, not getting much feedback yet. I thought of using a pool liner, but after looking up PVC, which I think it's made of I decided the rubber might be safer. But I just might do heavy aluminum foil. It is not very tough, but you don't have to touch it after placing. I don't do any cooking in it, but what's wrong with it as a liner? I've got 23 lovely planters set up and hidden with some pretty fancy stone wall, I need to get them planted soon! Please help.

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By Ray from Mayer, AZ

Answers

April 5, 20111 found this helpful

This is from vegetablegardeningonline.com

Using Tires as Raised Garden Beds?
by Margaret
(Ireland)

Can old rubber tires be used as raised beds for vegetable gardening? If so what sort of preparation would they need...cleaning, or lining? I like to recycle where possible and I have access to quite a lot of tires.
P.S. These beds would be used for vegetables and fruit...thanks.


ANSWER:

Yes, many a gardener has successfully used old tires for vegetable gardening.

If the tires are dirty, you can clean them with soap and water. You do not need to line them.


Tires filled with straw are an especially great way to grow potatoes! You put a thin layer of straw on the ground, then lay the seed potatoes on the straw. Cover them with a layer of straw. As the plants begin to grow, add layers of straw half-way up the foliage until you reach the top of the tire with the straw.

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April 5, 20110 found this helpful

This is from website backwoodshome.com

Tires for gardening
To the Editor:
I read in the article, Garden Spaces For Small Places, By Dorothy Ainsworth, about making used tires into small beds for vegetables or flowers.

The only problem is that mulch made from shredded tires leaches chemicals into the soil. A study in an organic gardening magazine mentioned zinc in particular, and suggested that other heavy metals might also be found in quantity.

It would seem to me, that the only difference between tires, and mulch from tires, is the increase in surface area. Shredded tires would leach faster than whole ones. Still, how much faster? Better safe than sorry.

Thank you for your time,

Ben Homer

I googled: "Are tires safe for gardening?" and found mostly positive answers and why.

Shredded tires for mulch do tremendously more surface area for leaching, so I would not recommend that, but whole tires are chemically stable. They have been run at high speeds and the inner surface has oxidized so the surface molecules have formed a seal. If worried, a person can always line the tire with gardening plastic.

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I personally am not worried at all, especially for short term use, but to assuage any trepidation, simply google the same question I googled and read the answers. Many of the answers are from scientists and they aren't worried either about the use of whole tires.

The main culprit
would be zinc but in whole tires it doesn't leach out fast enough to do any harm according to most of the reports I read. One report said the plant will only take up what zinc it needs and that's it. Our bodies use zinc, so it's not like a toxic poison, unless we overdose, but that goes for any vitamin or mineral.

True, it IS better to be safe than sorry, and Ben Homer's question was a good one, but by doing some extra research I still feel secure in using tires for gardening. But after reading all the reports yourself, you are free to draw your own conclusions and make your own informed decision "to use or not to use" tires.

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Dorothy Ainsworth

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April 5, 20110 found this helpful

Hope these two articles help you. You might look up the article online, Garden Spaces For Small Places, By Dorothy Ainsworth

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Anonymous
May 7, 20160 found this helpful

I use old tires for planters. Before placing dirt in them, I cover the ground in the inside with cardboard then add the dirt. An old tractor tire work perfect for planting potatoes and onions. Just lift the tire in the Fall and the potatoes fall out. I am concerned however after reading a comment about chemicals leaching out of the tire.

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July 12, 20160 found this helpful

we stack 3 tires and fill with good sandy soil and plant potatoes,carrot,onions, and radishes,onions and radishes you only have to do 2 or mabie one depending on the width of the tire,one for radishes r fine,but at least a wide tire for onions,you will be amazed at your results ,and this is great for people with a bad back that wants to garden, they even look pretty with flowers and herbs growing in them,i use miracle grow every day,just a few drops so as not to over do it

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April 5, 20110 found this helpful

I have a few tires set up as retaining wall, and want to plant in them. I am getting some bad vibes about toxic stuff. Could I line them with black plastic (can't find the # for it ) or how about old pool liner? However, that might be PVC and that seems to be even worse! What to do, what to do?

By Ray from Mayer, AZ

Answers:

Planting a Garden in Old Tires

Hi Ray. Well, as a matter of fact, I've been frustrated lately that I've not had time to do my veggie gardens as I had in the past. Previously, I'd been in an area with crummy ground, mostly sorta sandy and "dull." I had a bunch of old tires (a friend years past made a business of cutting 'em, turning 'em inside out (would you believe!) and painting them, they came out looking like ceramic pots!)

Anyway, back to my experiences. I just took old tires, put some chicken wire in the bottom, so critters like gophers couldn't enter the planter from below and filled them with a combination of the sandy soil/dirt I had, oak leaf mulch (we had an abundance of oak trees around) and some planting mix. I then filled the tires with seed of anything you could think of and my veggies were fantastic! Peas, beans, corn (yes, corn!), tomatoes, carrots, radishes, lettuce, snow peas, beats, and onions, all wonderful!

I just watered them from time to time, if the soil seemed dry, the tires kept the heat in and soil moist, even though above ground. I never even gave a thought to anything like toxic stuff, and no one ever got sick or touchy-tummy from anything eaten from my garden.

And by the way, I didn't go out and buy new seeds every season. I've often had great success with years-old seeds.

So, my suggestion (who am I to give "advice"?) is: Go for it, Ray, and have fun! (I'll be thinking of you at least until I can get my own above-ground tire-garden started again!) (04/02/2011)

By AuntieBim

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March 31, 20110 found this helpful

How safe is it to use old tires as a raised garden? I have tried for many years in my back yard with no success. I have many old tires and was wondering about that. I know I can do flowers but just wondered about a small garden. Thanks for your help.

Patsy from Salem, MO

Answers:

Planting a Garden in Old Tires

I have seen it done at a garden show in an exhibit for square foot gardening. I have also seen it used for potatoes (in stacked up tractor tires). I have never heard they are not safe, but have heard a lot of warnings against using RR ties. (03/03/2009)

By mom-from-missouri

Planting a Garden in Old Tires

I have found articles on the internet stating that the tires leach toxins into the ground therefore affecting the crop, making it unsafe to consume. Besides considering the opinions on this site, I would google the topic and see what else you find.

I have seen container gardening done using barrels, maybe this would be a safer option providing the barrels haven't been exposed to toxic chemicals.
Good luck and be safe. (03/04/2009)

By Squirrley

Planting a Garden in Old Tires

I know this isn't exactly what you asked about, but since you have plenty of tires, why not find out how to cut them up and make dog toys? They are selling these like crazy and my dogs love them. Just another use for the tires :-) (03/04/2009)

By fab4mom

Planting a Garden in Old Tires

Never use tires to plant a veggie or fruit garden! Very toxic and the toxins will enter the plants and then you eat them. Only use for flowers.

Jim in Jax (03/04/2009)

By smartfell-r

Planting a Garden in Old Tires

Here's a good article for you to read. I'm trying it myself this year. Can't beat the cost of 'em!
http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/sanders98.html

The EPA says, "There is no current evidence showing that products containing recycled rubber from scrap tires substantially increases the threat to human health and the environment as compared to the threats associated with conventional products." (http://www.epa.gov/garbage/tires/faq.htm#ques14), but they're talking about ground tires in road beds and their effect on groundwater (though they have a lovely picture of a squash plant growing in a tire right close to this statement.) (03/08/2009)

By LMcCay420

Planting a Garden in Old Tires

I would not trust what the EPA says about tires. To use small pieces of old tires for walkways and driveways is fine. But I would never use old tires as planting veggie beds as there are chemicals that leach from tires and will be taken in by the plants.

Jim in Jax (05/06/2009)

By smartfell-r

Planting a Garden in Old Tires

How about stacking 4-5 high and lining with plastic? Are you then eating the plastic? (03/28/2011)

By Ray S

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