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Planting a Garden in Old Tires

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.


By Ray from Mayer, AZ

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April 5, 20111 found this helpful

This is from vegetablegardeningonline.com

Using Tires as Raised Garden Beds?

by Margaret


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.


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.

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.


Dorothy Ainsworth

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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

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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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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