Raised beds in old tires?

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My duaghter has been wanting a sandbox-so A neighbor of ours gave us a tractor tire to fill with sand. Unfortantly, he must have had a small tractor becuase its really not large enough for her. Anyway, my husband said, well you could always use it as a planter for flowers-those are common around here. And I said I needed to get the veggies in the ground before I could even think about flowers and then we both said-hey.......Light bulbs lighting up here! Could we not use tires for raised beds? these are pretty big and I'm sure I could get more-just fill them with soil and compost, Each one could be tailored, soil wise to the plants inside. The problem, is I think, Planting them inside the rubber-I'd be a little worried about hydrocarbons, but Mark didn't think it would be a problem. What do you all think? It would solve a lot of problems......

-- Kelly (homearts2002@yahoo.com), April 20, 2002



We and many others we know have done this for many years. I wouldn't think of going through the work of putting most of a garden inside tires, but it could be done if you were willing. (Be sure to fill the tires with dirt or water standing inside will attract mosquitoes.) What we have always done is plant our tomatoes inside tires. We start the young plant out inside one tire, then add additional tires as it grows. It really does a good job of keeping the plants from freezing so easily in our highly variable climate. If you don't have a fenced off garden area, it also helps to protect the plants from rambunctious kids and dogs.

I have an older friend here in the area who grows an unbelievable garden. He grows many things here that people say cannot possibly be grown in our unpredictable weather. One of the things he's done is build a huge wall of tires on the north side. Huge meaning the width of the garden and maybe 10-12 feet high. He had a humongous garden so this was pretty incredible. That wall heated up during the day and helped retain heat during the night. He also made large, waist high, rock planters and planted melons in them. He painted empty milk jugs black, filled them with water and set them out among the melons during the day. At night he turned them over. The jugs helped keep the plants warm with their heat, and warm water drizzled out on the plants at night. I was amazed at what this guy could grow, and several people who've lived here all their lives have called me a liar, didn't believe he could grow things like that either.

-- Lenette (kigervixen@nospam.com), April 20, 2002.

When we moved here there were several old tractor tires lying around. We didn't know what to do with them , then it hit me. I moved them out by the garden for raised beds. This gave me more space and was fairly easy. My strawberry thrive in them and my lettuce did great. Good luck. Oh, I did have to make sure they had water a little more than I did the garden but it wasn't too bad. God Bless

-- Micheale from SE Kansas (mbfrye@totelcsi.net), April 20, 2002.

I've done it in the past, but have since heard that there is something in the tires that would leach into the soil and be bad for you. See what a good memory I have? lol I'd check into it some more before putting food in them, though.

-- mary (mlg@mlg.com), April 20, 2002.

kelly i use tractor tires and also the inside of a dryer and washer for my strawberry plants. they do really well i don't see why you couldn't use them also.

-- gail akins (gakins@simplynet.net), April 20, 2002.

Sorry to hear that Mary got some bad info. There is nothing in the composition of tires that will harm us, or the environment.

Now that said, I have used tires for raised beds for about 14 years now. The best ones for me are the large loader tires that I get from local sawmills, and they are happy to get rid of them too. Some I have are about 18 inches wide and about 5 feet in diameter. The sidewalls can be cut out of them a bit easier than you might think. I use a lenolium knife.

I like to use the beds for more permanent things like garlic. My smaller tires get stacked up 2 or three high so I do not have to do so much bending over. A lot of things can be planted earlier, in the raised bed tire gardens. It is possible to cover things up with an old window, if planted early.

Now since the low tonight here is to be 30* I guess I should get a flashlight and go cover up my early lettuce.

-- Ed Copp (OH) (edcopp@yahoo.com), April 22, 2002.

Well, I've been researching this and what I've found out is that you should wash the tires well to get rid of any traces of diseal fuel, or road contaminates they may have picked up-you can even seal them with a non-toxic sealent. But as far as the composition of the tires themselves, I havn't seen anything that would pose a risk. I think the chance of a minute contamminate is not nearly as serious as the petrolium pesticide/fertilizer contaminates of store bought produce.

-- Kelly (homearts2002@yahoo.com), April 23, 2002.

I have gardened in used car tires for about 15 years.I have grown beans,squash,corn,asparagus,rhubarb,tomatoes,onions,greens,about anything you can name.I currently have a garden with five rows of ten 14 inch tires in each row,double stacked.I have had a much larger tire garden but have found out that fifty tires double stacked will produce enough food for me and my wife to feed ourselves through the winter.We are mostly vegetarians.I spend about 30 minutes a day watering and weeding.Oh by the way I am disabled and do my gardening from a wheel chair.Will be glad to answer any questions,just e-mail me.

-- Henry free (mtn_recluse@yahoo.com), June 26, 2002.

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