Any Health Problems with Tractor Tire Gardening?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Ken Scharabok, Jul 24, 2005.

  1. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    A friend is considering raised bed gardening in old tractor tires. Could there be any health risks as the rubber eventually deteriorates?
     
  2. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I do not know for sure, but there is bound to be some leaching into the soil. It would help prevent this if the tires were lined with a couple layers of visqueen. Turning the tires inside out like they do for cattle feeders would sure make some beds with lots of height, and open up more surface space to plant.
     

  3. minnikin1

    minnikin1 Shepherd

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    There are some companies that are shredding tires and selling the shreds as a "long lasting" replacement for wood chip garden mulch. You might get more accurate information from them about the potential problems. I'm sure the shredded tire would tend to leach out faster if it were going to happen.

    We considered the idea and decided not to do it for fear of contamination. Who knows what the manufacturers put in the mixtures over the years...
    There are already so many unknown sources of problems with our food, we couldn't see risking another. Especially because there are so many alternatives.

    Recently in CountrySide we saw someone mentioned putting tires in livestock water tanks to prevent freezing. I would be afraid to do that, also.

    Maybe you can find a use in a non-food landscape?
     
  4. timmcentire

    timmcentire Active Member

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    Not really associated with the tire's deterioration, but there could be other health problems. We set up a tractor tire sand box for the kids. It took about a year, but those black widow spiders sure found it to be quite the habitat.
     
  5. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    They get really hot in July and August, too. Require a lot of water to keep the plants' roots from baking. Personally, I don't care for how they look, either, but that's just me.
     
  6. TimandPatti

    TimandPatti Texas

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    Paul James show "Gardening By The Yard" recently showed a gardener that grows veggies in old tires. They were discussing raised beds.

    I think it would be perfectly safe. My Granny always used them way back and she lived to be 96.

    I looked on the HGTV site for Paul James show and this is what it said.

    "If carpentry isn't your thing, there are always old tires around," says Hoffman. "And they make great raised beds." Tires are perfect for crops that need a warm spring to get growing, such as squash, sweet potatoes and peppers. Just stack two tires on top of one another, and fill them with soil. If you live in a high wind area, you may want to stick a couple of stakes inside to hold the tires in place. Because black rubber absorbs heat, Hoffman plants heat-loving peppers. "One word of caution when using tires as a raised bed: in the summer, they can get very, very hot. You may need to water the plants every day."
     
  7. Old Jack

    Old Jack Truth Seeker

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    If you do decide to use them take a sawsall and cut out one sidewall on each. Makes it easier to fill w/ dirt
     
  8. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Put a coat of white paint on the outside to help keep them cooler.
     
  9. whiterock

    whiterock Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I don't know the formula, but greenhouses used to mix up a form of whitewash they put on in late spring that would weather off before winter.
    This would allow heat for planting and young plants, cooling for the summer and be gone for the next planting or winter crops.

    I have used tractor tires, I would pack the outer area with old hay/manure and soil in the center. Leaving the sidewall on will give you a place to sit or kneel(morning only). I had no problem with spiders, but the fire ants loved them. Sometimes its a tradeoff.
    Ed
     
  10. 65284

    65284 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I use the plastic tubs that molasses cattle supplement comes in. Drill a few drainage holes in the bottom, some rock, and ground cover cloth, fill with soil and you have a very nice and efficient raised bed. Most folks that have cattle will have some of these tubs around.
     
  11. Rivka

    Rivka Well-Known Member

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    My whole garden is in tires. I got the idea from the gardening thread here. Search back and there were a lot of posts about the inert properties of tires etc.
    I cut the rims to the treads out on both sides and turned the tires inside out- planted nasturiums (sp?) at the edges to hide the tires.
    I live in VT, where heat is a rare thing. Although this summer has been quite hot. I've had no drying out problems. I think that because I cut the rims, I reduced the surface area of the tire (but increased the planting area)- I don't have the drying problem.
     
  12. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    Yes, Rivka, and it will probably extend your growing seasn with heat conservation.

    We used them one summer only. For potatoes and to grow squash in. They got very hot and though there were no spider problems, that was probably because the blister beetles took over the world that summer. Never had them before or since. We never used tires again after that.

    I might be tempted to use them in creating a small hothouse box again though. I used to make those using straw bales and old windows. Worked great. But tires might work.
     
  13. marvella

    marvella Well-Known Member

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    i used them for everal years without problems. i'm pretty sure there are no health risks. read it is organic gardening mag.

    i stacked up a few of them in pyramid shape to save space, filled them with dirt then planted in them.

    they actually hold water better, as the rain water would pool inside them. think of old tires left laying around and how hard it is to get water out of them when you want to move them.

    i'd do it again without reservation, except this time i built my beds out of cinder block that was already here. i brought home the used tires we used to find on our community litter pick ups.
     
  14. seedspreader

    seedspreader AFKA ZealYouthGuy

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    So how do you like the cinder blocks? do they draw moisture away?
     
  15. Oxankle

    Oxankle Well-Known Member

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    Considering the size of some farm equipment these days a combine tire or big tractor tire would make a pretty good garden.

    Cutting out one sidewall does inprove them, but try to leave enough to sit on. Cutting out part of the sidewall also lets more water get into the lower sidewall where it pools as a reserve.

    A cousin starts all her tomatos in an old tractor tire in the spring. It is behind a South wall, covered with plastic at night and on especially cold days. She just scatters seed and grows a jungle of plants for her garden---tomatos, pepper, eggplant and so on.
    Ox