Tractor Tire Garden FAQ: 30 Ideas & 14 Questions Answered!

What are the most common questions about tractor tire gardens? How do you make a garden out of tires? What can I grow in my tire garden? And what is the best way to maintain it? These are just some of the questions people have when they first hear about this unconventional gardening idea. In this blog post, we will answer these and more!

Are Tires Toxic for Gardening?

The inside radials of tires are loaded with heavy metals, which are toxic to plants. Gardeners who are careful to select tires that don’t have any damage to their outside shell won’t normally run into this problem, since the metallic substances will be all kept inside of the tire.

What Can You Plant in a Tractor Tire?

Solid tractor tires are great for ornamental plants, and they’re probably the best option that many people have for them. Rather than laying out a raised bed, you can position all of your flowers into a set of large tires and dramatically reduce the amount of resources that you’re using to grow them.

Can I Plant Vegetables in Old Tires?

Assuming that the tires are solid and you plant something like potatoes or radishes that have the right kind of soil needs to be in tires, you can grow vegetables in them. Be cautious about any tire that has internal cuts in order to reduce the chances of any material getting into the soil, which vegetables can pick up.

It’s best to use authentic rubber tires if at all possible, since these are the most natural. Unfortunately, many modern tires are made more out of petrochemicals than anything else.

Are Tires Good for Raised Garden Beds?

Using tires actually helps to prevent the need for actually making a raised bed in many cases, because the elevated height of the tire itself serves as a bed. As long as you can position them in a way that’s solid and won’t move, you can use them in much the same way that you’d use any other container.

That being said, you could also position them into a frame.

What Happens if You Bury a Tire?

Vulcanized and natural rubber tires will break down over time if they’re buried. Many modern tires are made more from petrochemicals and artificial compounds, however, and these may biodegrade very easily.

How Do I Use Old Tires in My Garden?

While you can decorate them and use fun paint colors if you’d like, you don’t really need to do anything to recycle tires as planters besides these steps:

  1. Place the tire on a level surface
  2. Check the underside to make sure moisture has a place to escape from
  3. Fill bottom with rocks for drainage
  4. Spread the rocks out evenly
  5. Put down cloth mesh to keep the soil in over the rocks
  6. Add in soil
  7. Put plants in the tire in a way that’s conducive to their growth
  8. Stand up sticks or other material to help the
  9. Water and fertilize plants as usual
  10. Stabilize the tire as the plants grow to reduce the risk of tipping

How Do You Make a Tractor Tire Planter?

Tractor tires provide a rather unique opportunity as a result of their size, as the following instructions show:

  1. Check the rubber shell to make sure that it’s solid
  2. Set aside any tires that appear to show their metallic interior, since these aren’t good for plants
  3. Clear an area of your garden of weeds
  4. Layout and install a layer of mesh weed control fabric
  5. Position tires over the fabric
  6. Fill the tires with potting soil
  7. Transplant your crops into the
  8. Position the soil around them to reduce the risk that they’ll dry out
  9. Water all of the plants you put in the tires deeply so they get soaked to the roots
  10. Continue to care for your new tire garden using the same care instructions you usually would for the plants you put in

Can You Grow Potatoes in Old Tires?

Since potatoes aren’t known as one of the plants that bio-accumulate material as much as many others do, they might make an ideal candidate for growing in a tire. This is especially true of those who want to consistently reuse their planters after they’ve put them in place.

Do You Need to Line the Tires in a Tire Planter?

It can be helpful to line the bottom of the tire with some kind of weed barrier, which can also help to stem off the deterioration that naturally occurs to most tires over time. On top of this, you could consider lining the inside with soil as you go.

Is the Smell of Tires Harmful?

Under normal circumstances, the smell of tires isn’t harmful to people who plant things in them. It’s best not to sit down and actually inhale the fumes from a tire, of course.

Some people don’t like the smell very much, but it should usually only cause headaches and no other problems. Regardless, it’s best to avoid too much exposure.

Why Do Farmers Bury Tires?

Some farmers bury tires in the hopes of making small pools or other regions of water, which can then help to feed thirsty plants. Others have used them as below-ground planters that are good for crops with long roots.

How Long Does a Tire Take to Decompose?

Modern tires, which incorporate vinyls and other types of petrochemical-based plastics, can take years to fully break down. Some plastics won’t completely break apart for centuries.

Natural rubbers, which are made from tree-based latex, will break down in a considerably shorter period of time. According to a report from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, it can take over two millennia for a synthetic tire to completely break apart.

Do Tires Contaminate Soil?

While your tractor tire garden layout is unlikely to contaminate the soil, those that are thrown away on a regular basis may. Landfills have to deal with the presence of heavy metals that leach into the environment over time and cause massive problems for those managing the water table.

In fact, that’s why recycling them is so important.

What Do You Put in the Bottom of a Tire Planter?

Rocky gravel is good for drainage and many people will put weed barriers right at the bottom. Others will simply allow the hard ground beneath their planters to serve as a welcome binding post for their plants to grow down into.

The decision of what to put underneath the tire depends on how stable it is and what kind of soil is right underneath the hole on the bottom.