Saturday, May 26, 2012

Tires tires everywhere...

Ask and ye shall receive...

When it comes to tires, that's all ya gotta do. Ask. Everyone wants to give you their old tires! Now that word has gotten out, we've been buried in the dirty (beautiful) old things. I'm getting them faster than I can process them.

I'm trying to lay out the garden as ordered and regular as I can. To this end I'm using measuring tapes and strings to line everything up.

These widely-spaced tires along this narrow strip of garden will be for viney plants such as pumpkins, watermelons, cantaloups, etc. I've put newspapers and wire mesh beneath each tire and they're now ready for planting.

I lined up a series of huge tires along a string to be used as herb beds.

In this respect, measuring tapes are very handy.

Then two evenings ago, we got a call from our friend Jack, who works at a tire store. He was on his way with the company truck to deliver a load of seventy tires (!).

Needless to say, his company is thrilled that we can use the tires, since otherwise they have to pay to have the tires recycled and/or processed. Jack said they'll give me as many tires as I could possibly want. And then some.

See? A veritable mountain of tires.

Then yesterday, Don and I borrowed a neighbor's trailer and drove to a nearby town that has a tire dealership specializing in tractor tires. They had dozens of huge old tractor tires they would be delighted to get rid of. "Dozens" would be a bit much -- these babies are huge and are correspondingly harder to manage than smaller tires -- but we'll take some.

It's hard to appreciate the size of tractor tires until you're up close to them. Don estimates they weighed about 300 lbs. each. The fellow used a forklift to load them onto the trailer.

The trailer held five tires...

...which we strapped down firmly before creeping home with our groaning load of 1500 lbs or so.

We chained up and used the car to drag each tire off the trailer. Don and I were then able to hoist each tire on its side and roll it out of the way.

Okay, time to get these things under control.

I started by trundling 27 of the biggest truck tires into the garden.

These I left uncut and merely stacked by the potato tires, to be held in reserve until it's time to start building the stacks.

That reduced the pile by about one-third. Then I sorted the remaining tires into small, medium, and large sizes.

There were a few small odd-sized tires mixed in, so I'll cut these and use them for flowers.

I stacked the cut-off sidewalls out of the way. We have some ideas for using these discarded parts.

Meanwhile Don tried his hand at cutting one of the tractor tires.

It was hard going, but he finally succeeded. The cut was wavey-ier and more jaggety than he wanted, so he said next time he'll use a chalk string to mark it so he can get a cleaner cut.

Next steps: cutting out sidewalls, moving the tires into the garden, lining with newspaper and mesh, and filling. (Oh, it that all?) I'm encouraged that for all the work I have to do this year, I'll have a whole lot less work to do next year.


  1. Your well on your way to an earthship! I so would love to build one if only I had the land...

  2. Phyllis (N/W Jersey)May 26, 2012 at 8:54 AM

    Who ever said farming wasn't hard work??? Good way to recycle tires - you may have started a trend!
    Love "The Husband of the Boss" scroll on top - Excellent advertising! (Smart move..Lots of luck!)

  3. Ya know... That half tractor tire got me thinkin'.

    Would it work to cut the sidewall out of a tractor tire, seal up the opening in the remaining sidewall and use it as a water source for the critters?

    I don't know about chem. problems, though previously you had stated that the tires wouldn't leach material for the plants. I am also not sure about cleaning, but it is a pretty good bet they won't rust.

    Fun with tires!!

  4. Great idea. Those sidewalls that you have, the flat part, if you have an icing problem on a roof edge in the winter you can lay them along the edge of the roof and they will absorb the solar rays and melt the edge ice on the roof. Love your blog. Thanks from the Kingdomdweller in Vermont

  5. Oh my that's a lot of tires! Praying that this will help solve your gardening woes and that you'll have a great harvest for all your hard work!

  6. Patrice,

    Holly tire!!!!! Wow, you have plenty of tires to last for sometime. Next year, I plan on using tires as part of my potato garden.

  7. I hope this works! I'm sure it will work. It better work after all your work!!! Hee Hee

    It will look so awesome with all the wonderful veggies growing. We used wine barrels and it looks great. I wish I had the room you have. I only have twelve barrel halves. Everything is growing very well. I wish you the best!

  8. next year when you get ready to put in your garden, you are gonna be glad you did this now. and next years garden is gonna be easypeasy too. :)

  9. One use I have made of the tire sidewalls is to throw them on the ground to keep stacked firewood off the ground. Works like a charm.


  10. You can cut them with a reciprocating saw (as shown in your photo), but I have seen where people used a thin blade grinder.

    I imagine it is a matter of preference.

  11. We always used old tractor tires, but only as free playgroud equipment! And if your girls ever get an idea to do agility with the dogs they make great stand-ins for hoops, ramps, ect :)

  12. I can't help wondering about a lot of those tires. Many don't look all that worn in the pictures. Lots of tread and such. Is it possible the nicer ones could be sold as used tires? New tires are getting darned expensive. We live in an area where we get so many flats from nails and screws (lots of construction going on along the road to town, new homes being built, etc.) that I stopped buying new tires for my Jeep. I only buy nice, but used tires now from a used tire shop in town. I've saved a lot of money doing this. --Fred in AZ

    1. We actually asked that of our friend Jack. He pointed out tires that had a wonderful tread were flawed because they were separating. Once he pointed out the separations, we saw a lot of it.

      - Patrice

  13. Good ideas! I might have to try this with my herb garden.

  14. Great idea for old tire usage! I know they're supposed to be recycled into other products, but it seems an awful lot of them still end up in wooded rural areas rotting and contaminating the land for who knows how long. I've written a letter (e-mail, actually) about my concerns. I don't really how to get the right person to read it. My sister's bridesmaids have an e-mail address, but I don't think it's active enough. My e-mail draft is substantive and has good info and can make a difference, I think, but it hasn't done much good just sitting in the drafts folder since January! Any ideas who I can send it to, either e-mail or regular mail would be greatly appreciated! Thanks! Dorothy Ray


    1. Darn, if you were closer I'd take them! As it is, why don't you send me a couple of photos and I'll post this on the blog? My email is patrice @ patricelewis dot com

      - Patrice

  16. I use tires as well. I also get people thinking I am crazy. I use them for toys for my kids, and my goats. I use them for gardening. I cut the sidewalls out, cut the tread in half and then WHAM, rubber siding for buildings. The sidewalls I use as edging around trees. Put the sidewall around the tree, fill with rock. Bam. Easy. Love tires, so versatile!