Putting the Garden to Bed - Recycling Old Tires

Gardening is over for us here in the Midwest.  Well, for me anyway :)  I decided enough was enough and pulled all the big plants out and tilled it up.  

The one last thing on my list was to spread a layer of fertilizer over the bed.  And the fertilizer in this case would be chicken poo.  One of THE best fertilizers, I have used it for about 3 years now and am just thrilled with the results.  Everything has grown just wonderful year after year. 

We raise our own fertilizer you might say.  Our laying hens and broiler chickens give us plenty!  Through the year I clean out our layer coop and the pen we keep our broilers in.  It's quite a bit of wood chips, hay and poo by the time I am done.  But I can't just throw the fresh droppings on the plants.  There is too much nitrogen in the fresh stuff and that would burn the plants.  Also not good idea because you wouldn't want to contaminate your produce with the fresh manure.

So it's needs a place to sit for about a year.  Similar to composting, but I don't babysit it .  I just store it and forget it.  That brings me to my next eco friendly idea.  I store all of this in old tractor tires I found behind an old shed here at our house.    They weren't sitting all pretty and lined up when I found them.  Luckily they were upright and I could just role them to my spot.  Still rolling them was quite a chore! 

I will clean out 2 of these for this fall.  The third batch will be used for spring fertilizing.  It will also make a good mulch around seedlings. 

This tire has been sitting since last summer/fall.  Something already decided to grow here!

Now I know that most of you don't have gigantic tractor tires just sitting around in your backyard.  But I bet you can get your hands on some old car tires pretty easy.  This method can easily be put to use with those smaller tires.  You can even stack them to be more space friendly.

No chickens either?  The regular method of composting (grass, leaves, kitchen scraps) can be used with the tires as well.

A Little Bit About Tires

 Did you know that Americans discarded nearly 281 million tires, weighing some 5.7 million tons. That's a whole lotta rubber!!
A few more ideas for USED tires. New tires are full of chemicals and heavy metals- and that defeats the recycle purpose now doesn't it??
  • Raised beds-fill them up with soil and plant away
  • Tire swings
  • Stabilize buckets and trash cans
  • Retaining walls
  • Use as a bumper in you garage
  • Sand box - the bigger the better for this one! 
I found a site with some of the most AMAZING things to make from tires.  I would never guess that some of these are actually tires!

Check out this article about how one New Mexico community used their old tires.  Bales of tires, each bale containing 100 used tires, where placed in wet cement to create a base for erosion control along a river. In the end they used 250,000 old tires!

Ok, so back to work now!  We scooped 2 tires out- about 4 trips to the garden.  I wish I had access to some sort of a front loader with a scoop.  That would be just too easy now wouldn't it!

I tried to make a bunch of little piles throughout so the spreading would be easier.

A little bit a raking and she's all ready for bed now.  Nighty night garden, see you next spring :)
ThriftyThurs Thrifty Thursday Week 47


  1. What a great idea! The old tires would work well to keep it all from just blowing away out here! LOL!!

  2. Oh, I also read somewhere about the toxic elements in tires. Are you sure that old ones are ok to use? (I never read on to understand, simply decided to stay away just in case).

    There are some cool ideas for tire recycling on the web site indeed!

  3. That is an excellent point. I have done a lot of reading about the health concerns of using tires in food production.

    Most articles I have read say that the oxidation that occurs from long periods of road use gets rids of most toxins. That the heavy metals in the tires are so tightly bonded with the rubber that they will not leach out. That tires are safer than treated lumber.

    On the other hand. I have read that long term use as planters will have the tires eventually leaching chemicals into your soil and that root crops are most vulnerable to this.

    Here are some links with both sides if you are interested.





    It really just boils down to what you are most comfortable with I suppose. I certainly wouldn't use them in your food production if you have any doubts.

    Thank you for bringing up that point. It's always better to be informed :)

  4. Terrific idea! Interesting to read about how safe it is too! thanks for this!


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