How To Use Old Tires In A Garden [12 Easy Tips on Tire Gardening]

You know those old tires sitting around? If you are like me, at one time or another, you have thought about what you could do with them. In this article, I will be sharing ideas on how to use old tires in a garden.

They are cluttering up your driveway or yard, and you know they need to go somewhere. I recently had my attention directed towards those old tires as my husband was dragging them across the yard. The idea hit me like a ton of bricks! Recycle those old tires into something useful for your garden beds or lawn, such as planters! Tire gardening is a wonderful method to help the environment while also increasing your productivity and lowering the amount of effort needed to have a successful garden

The possibilities are endless when it comes to using old tires in your garden. Why not add some color and flare to an otherwise dull yard? There is no reason for you to put those old tires in the trash when you could repurpose them into something new. It’s also simple. Grab a tire, put it in the garden, and fill it with soil. Plant your seeds. It’s as simple as that!

So, if you have been looking for a way to get rid of those old tires lying around, I have included a short list of tips for tire gardening to get you started. 

Tips on How to Use Old Tires In a Garden. 

1) Only use whole, clean tires 

Tires with holes in them will allow water and other nasty things to collect inside the tire instead of draining off. If you have a pile of old tires that aren’t in use or won’t be used anytime soon, it’s best to cut out the middle section of the tire so it can dry and not create a breeding ground for mosquitoes. 

2) Plant only non-edible plants in tires 

The main reason is that if your plants become container bound, you will have to cut them out of the tire and this could be dangerous. You should also plant poisonous plants or dangerous plants in tires only if they are secured tightly against a fence or wall so children can’t gain access to them.

3) Grow plants in the tire first before adding dirt around the plant

Many times, gardeners will just start planting seeds and then once they come up, realize that there is no room for the roots to grow without being damaged. You wouldn’t cut a large plant into pieces and then try to reassemble it. So why would you plant something and expect it to grow if the roots are smashed? Give your plants room to grow by planting them first in the tire, allowing them to get established and giving them time to put out their taproot (the main root of the plant) before you fill the tire with soil. 

4) Fill the tread of the tire with potting mix or rich compost before adding your seedlings

This is to ensure that you have a nutrient-rich medium for your plants, instead of using plain dirt from your yard which may not contain enough nutrients for healthy growth. Putting potting mix or compost in the tire first also helps eliminate competing with existing grass and weeds for nutrients. 

5) Keep water off the seedlings themselves 

Don’t allow direct watering to fall on your seedlings if at all possible because this will cause damping-off and other diseases that can kill young plants. Water around them, but not directly on them.

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6) Fertilize regularly with diluted organic fertilizer, but don’t overdo it

Young plants are growing very fast and need all the help they can get, but be careful not to overfeed them because you could burn the roots of your seedlings.

7) Keep an eye out for pests, specifically slugs, pill bugs, mole crickets and cutworms

These are the most common pests you’ll find in tire gardening. If you have problems with these insects, move your plants into another part of the yard or place a tin can filled with beer at their base to trap them overnight.

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8) Plant large veggies

Large vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, bell peppers and carrots will do best in tires. Smaller vegetables like lettuce, spinach, onions and peas may have trouble growing to maturity because they often run out of room before they are ready for harvest.

9) You can grow a lot of veggies in a single tire garden

The average car tire is about 18 inches tall and can easily hold three tomato plants, four bell pepper plants and six cucumber plants. The same sized tire can also hold up to a dozen or more staked beans, bush beans or peas that have been harvested several times already.

10) Keep in mind the weight limitations of your tires 

An average car tire weighs between 20-30lbs when it is dry. If you tend to walk on your tires while caring for your plants, make sure the surface below the tire is strong enough to not give way or collapse under your weight.

 Use old wood in place of bricks or cinder blocks to stack the tires upon each other if your garden will be more than a few feet high. Your tires should be evenly spaced apart on all sides, even when stacked together.

11) Make a path between your tire garden and the rest of your yard where you can walk without damaging any plants or compacting the soil underneath. This is especially important for smaller plants that will get trampled very easily.

12) Use old tires for raised garden beds as well.

An old tire with the middle cut out could be used for a raised bed that will provide flowers, vegetables or both with unique growing conditions. Cut off any of the wires still poking out from inside the tire before planting anything in it, however.

13) Use old tires to make a worm farm for composting food scraps. Fill the tire with shredded newspaper and other dry materials like leaves, grass clippings or sawdust before adding the worms.

Other Ideas for using old tires in a garden

Tire Planter Boxes

This is an easy one. Remove an old tire from your vehicle or go buy yourself an inexpensive one at your local tire shop. You can either cut it open or drill holes around the tire on all sides, then use gardening twine to stitch up any of the remaining edges that are not laced with holes already. Next, you will want to line your new planter box with some sort of porous material so your soil will drain properly. I would recommend using landscape fabric over newspaper to line your box, as it will be easier to manage and dispose of the paper before planting. It also works better for this purpose because the paper can act like a wick, drawing water up into your planter through the porous material that you are lining with.

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Once you have your box properly lined, fill it up with some fresh soil or compost. If you are in an area where irrigation is readily available, you could plant directly into the ground in your new tire planter. However, if this is not an option due to lack of rainfall, then I would recommend planting in containers instead within your new planter.

This is also a great way to stage your tire for further repurposing or art projects. You could staple an old vinyl record or other flat, reflective surface to the side of your tire for an added feature in your yard. Or, get really creative and hang bunches of brightly-colored glass bottles off of the spokes.

Line a garden in rows

To line a garden in rows without digging into the ground, use tires that you have filled with dirt. The tire bottoms may be easily lined by placing them on top of each other. Make sure that no tire is on top of the one below it, but stacking them in this way may be helpful if you are short on storage space. 

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Tire Seats for the Deck or Patio

Planters are not the only thing you can make with old tires. If you would like, you can turn your tire into something functional as well, such as a garden seat! This is my favorite way to repurpose an old tire. I simply took one off of my vehicle and removed the valve stem. I then used large bolts to attach it securely to a slab of wood in my backyard. The tire serves as a seat for when guests come over and also helps me to get down low enough to plant my flowers or harvest vegetables from my garden beds!

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Those are some of the ideas I was able to come up with on how to use old tires in a garden. Collect your old tires before they are taken away by the garbage collection service or dumped illegally in someone’s yard to create a tire garden of your own for next year!

Remember that composting is not just about making compost, but also an opportunity to learn about things like growing plants and insects. As you maintain your garden, you will be able to learn a lot about the soil, plants, and insects in your area.

Remember that taking good care of your tires is important for your tire garden! Old tires can get damaged easily by sunlight, rain, and other factors out in the yard if they are left unattended. Make sure that you inspect them on a regular basis and repair any holes or problems with your tire garden.

Remember that there are many alternatives to using tires for gardening. Bricks, cinder blocks, and wooden pallets can all be used as substitutes for building your garden beds. Just make sure that whatever you use is safe and strong enough to support the weight of your plants without collapsing under their weight.