1992 - Volume #16, Issue #4, Page #20[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Garden beds made from old tires"Old worn out tires make great raised gar-den beds. They're surprisingly attractive and offer a lot of benefits over conventional or wood raised gardens," say Steve Bryce and Bob McIntyre, Rhodes, Iowa.
They cut off the top sidewall, turn the tire inside out, and fill it with soil, then cover the top of each plant bed with a layer of mulch to keep weeds out and to conserve moisture.
"It keeps tires out of landfills and turns a disposal problem into a resource," says Bryce. "I like them better than conventional gardens because there's no bending over and no need for rototilling. You never have to worry about accidentally stepping on plants or getting your shoes muddy because even if you water the plants the area between tires stays dry. You can apply mulch or crushed rock around the tires, or cover the bottom, paint them, and place them on your patio. We use a Weed Eater to control any stray weeds between tires.
"Each tire is a microenvironment that acts as an excellent heat sink in the spring and offers wind protection for starting plants. The space between tires is a barrier to pest movement so insect problems are isolated in individual tires. The mixture of soil in each tire can be individually controlled according to plant needs. If your soil is poor and you need to buy topsoil, you can save money because you only have to buy enough for the tires instead of the entire garden.
"Tire gardens are less expensive than wood raised beds and work better because they won't rot or decay. The raised beds are easily accessible for handicapped people and keep rabbits from feeding on plants. Burrowing animals can be kept out by mounting screen over the bottom of the tire. However, we normally leave the bottom of the tire open for drainage and so that roots can penetrate the ground."
Bryce and McIntyre cut the sidewall and top bead out with a Saws All. The next step is to turn the tire inside out by pushing the remaining bead through the center of the tire. They then fill each tire with soil, or alternating layers of soil and compost.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Ecotire, 1079 320th St., Rhodes, Iowa 50234 (ph 515 493-2494).
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