Country Living Series

Friday, October 7, 2016

Why we garden in tires

We're working on a project that required a trench to be cut. A kind neighbor brought over his backhoe and did the job for us.


Looking down into where the machinery bit into the earth, we could see the shiny clay sides.


This clay layer is so slick and so impermeable that growing anything has been a constant and unending challenge.

Seeing the interior of the trench reinforced that our decision to garden in tires was the right one. Tires (essentially, raised beds) allow us to bypass the problems associated with clay: weeds, lack of drainage, compaction, and everything else.

So tires it is.



No regrets.

15 comments:

  1. I imagine the black tires hold heat also to release at night when temps drop. There's certainly more than one way to be successful at growing food.

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  2. Given what tires are made from, isn't there any danger of petrochemicals leaching into the soil, and thus, into the plants? I'm not criticizing; I'm just trying to get info. If you've already done the research, it'll save me from... well... reinventing the wheel...

    By the way; that's an impressive setup!

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    Replies
    1. Please see this blog post:

      http://www.rural-revolution.com/2014/01/in-defense-of-our-tire-garden.html

      It has answers to your questions.

      - Patrice

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  3. Your posts about the benefits of raised beds has moved us to using them. This year we were mostly building them but we did grow potatoes in one. It turned out well. We look forward to getting more done next year. Thanks for the tip.
    Deborah

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  4. It certainly looks like the wisest course of action.

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  5. First it is great to live where neighbors help each other. Your tire/raised garden beds have produced much wonderful food.
    I had the same soil,about fifteen years ago. A combination of manure, grass clippings and leaves has changed it 110%. I now can stick my hand eight inches into the soil, with ease. The depth below that is changing too.
    I garden with a garden tractor, so use the old fashion rows. I plow, till, plant & cultivate using, my garden tractor. I even use it to harvest root crops. My garden is not large, by any means, not much over 2500 sq ft. This all works for me, as
    I still farm, and at age 75 need all the help I can find. Besides that am getting a little lazy!
    Everyone have a great weekend at your homestead.

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  6. Your use of tires is an awesome solution to poor soil. Plus you get the added benefit of a back-saving raised bed.
    Montana Guy

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  7. Are you planting garlic this year?
    A.jones FL

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    Replies
    1. Already planted and mulched. But you reminded me I need to do a blog post on that -- thanks.

      - Patrice

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  8. There is an up side to your soil. You can make a pond, like you have, and it will hold water well. We have 2 one holds water well and the other is deeper and it looks like we went through the good clay layer as it does not hold water nearly as well.

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    Replies
    1. Agreed. Our pond holds water very well for this exact reason.

      - Patrice

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    2. Good for some things, bad for others... much like being 10 feet tall. My heavy clay soil looks just like Patrice's and when we have a heavy winter snow and spring rains, we cannot even walk out on to the ground in the springtime without destroying any grass roots on the path out to the chickens. The clay holds water well into July so that it is tough to mow in the lower areas of my yard. You can completely forget about driving your car around to the barn to drop off heavy sacks of feed, etc. until late July-early August. Raised beds are the only way to go here although up until now I've only used wood. I will seriously reconsider the tire option. Thanks Patrice!

      God Bless,
      Janet in MA

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  9. Post Alley CrackpotOctober 10, 2016 at 5:11 PM

    Just so you know, tire rubber in specially treated form is used as a cadmium attractant, but that involves heat treating it so it becomes especially porous ...

    US National Institutes of Health PubMed --
    "Adsorption of cadmium on carbonaceous adsorbents developed from used tire rubber":
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21550713

    "Significant porosity developments are achieved only when [used tire rubber] is heat-treated, in particular in steam ..."

    It appears that the significant risk with the tires involves the rubber becoming powdery, and even then it might act as a cadmium attractant.

    Counter-intuitive, but there you go.

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  10. Followed a link from Survivalblog here. Glad I did. We've been using old tires as raised bed gardens for a good while now. They will heat the soil up more so take that for what it's worth in your growing zone. One of the most beneficial uses of tires to garden in is they double as ballistic cover. Strategically placed on your property in triangles, where the sides "overlap" the tire next to it, stacked two or three high, make great areas to protect your family and property. You can sit up or go prone, depending on height of stack, if God forbid the worst case scenario happens. These tires filled with dirt, laying down make it all but impossible for "normal" ammunition to pass through. I cannot speak for anything in the 50 caliber arena but 30-06 and down will NOT pass through it. Yes, we have tried them all. Herbs gardens and potatoes flourish in these and intruders are none the wiser. YMMV.

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  11. Well that is certainly interesting!

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