Gardening - Other

Making Raised Beds from Discarded Tires

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"Making Raised Beds from Discarded Tires"
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It is common for gardeners to not only try to find different and interesting ways to garden, but to also save money in the process when possible. Using old tires can be good for both. They can make wonderful raised bed planters, especially considering that the rubber tends to heat easily and retain heat well. This can be ideal for plants that prefer growing conditions that keep their roots warm.

Tire selection

Choosing the right tire takes little effort, as a person doesn't really need to choose between sizes or brands. Care should be taken, though, to make sure that the tire isn't so worn out that it can be dangerous. This can happen, for instance, with old steel belted radials, when the steel belts are sticking out where they can cause punctures or cuts. Some people also enjoy making a tiered raised bed, and for this, tire size can make a difference. Generally, the idea is to put a large tire, on its side, on the bottom, fill it with dirt, place a smaller diameter tire on this and repeat with yet a smaller tire for the top tier. 


Some thought should go into where the tire is placed. The best placement tends to be where people aren't going to be tripping over it and where the gardener will have access around the area of the raised bed. One of the easiest ways to do this is to place the tire down, then to step back and see if any problems can be seen with the location. It is a lot simpler to move the tire before filling it with dirt than it is after it is filled up.


If there is a concern regarding the appearance of the tires, the outside can be spray painted in colors that won't clash with the surrounding area. The inside of the tire shouldn't be painted, though, to help protect the plants from absorbing toxic substances. The paint should also be completely dry prior to putting dirt into the tire. Additionally, it should be noted that black tires usually absorb heat faster than those that have been painted a light color.

The soil

Since the plants usually have preferences as to the soil they are grown in, it is a good idea to have the soil ready prior to filling the tires. Because of the shape of the tire, which can make it difficult to work the dirt once plants are growing, rocks and similar debris should be removed before filling the tires. It can also be extremely helpful to put a layer of finished compost in the bottom to add nutrients to the growing plants when the roots get to it. 

Adding the dirt

When adding the soil, do it a little at a time. This helps by allowing dirt to be pushed all the way in to the bulbous rubber part of the tire so there aren't large air pockets. Putting the dirt into the tire all at once can make it harder to fill the tire in completely. 

Using old, worn-out tires as raised beds can be a great idea. They aren't normally expensive to use and they can be quite unique. Best of all, plants that prefer warmer soil can benefit from growing in the tires. The tires can even help get an earlier start on the garden, since the soil usually warms up faster than in a conventional garden.

More about this author: Rex Trulove

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