Gardening in Tires

Q: I was inspired this year by ECHO (Educational Concerns for Haiti Organization) Farms in Florida to do a tire garden! They are doing great things for global farming!

With tires there is always a fine line between usefulness and “the unkept look of a junk yard” so I decided to do my best to make it look nice.

This project cost me approximately $100. The only thing I paid for was soil, paint, landscaping fabric and seeds.

Why a tire garden?
- The tires are free (Tire shops have to pay to get rid of old tires so they will give them to you for free)
- If you paint the tires a light color they will not get as hot
- Tires offer great water retention
- If you fill up the tube area of the tires with bottles you reduce the amount of soil needed.
- Or, you can cut the tires and eliminate any wasted space.
- Tires can be stacked for people who like to grow potato plants by covering them with soil.

Cost……
- $35 for 1/2 cubic yard of organic soil by the truck load
- $20 for supplemental potting soil that was needed towards the end of the project
- $8 for mushroom compost filler additive
- $0 for our own compost filler additive
- $5 for 1 gallon of paint from the clearance rack at the home depot.
- $8 for 2 cans of spray clear enamel to help the paint on the tires.
- $10 for landscaping fabric
- $18 for bagged mulch
- I already owned most of the flower pots and I find them over time at yard sales and thrift stores.

Tips I learned…..
- Go to a mom and pop tire place instead of NTB. Chains can not give you very many tires. I got 14 from a mom and pop shop just by “stopping by” one day.
- Ask for “low profile” tires. They give you the same (or larger) hole than regular tires but have less tube space which is not usable.
- You can avoid this all together and cut the tires, but I think this makes them look more junky.
- Ask friends and family to save bottles of all sizes for a few weeks before the project.

A: Very nice!

Some folks argue that shredded tires can leach toxic materials into the soil but I am not convinced this is true for whole tires such as you are using.

If anyone has evidence that whole tires are somehow harmful to people or plants, please contact me.

Organic Gardening comments on tire planters