The Tire Garden Homepage
The Tire Garden Facebook page
After the first few years of growing in these, we realized that not bending down was not only comfortable, it made weeding enjoyable! This made fewer weeds, which meant bigger plants. Because of this, it's very useful for those who don't want to bend down to weed but still like to grow a garden, like your parents or grandparents. Although our first gardens were made from tractor tires, we had a few semi truck tires around too. These turned out to be movable with the fork lift, and therefore pretty handy to give away as presents (yes we asked first). We filled the bottom 2/3 with mulch created as waste from a pallet recycler, filled the top with locally produced compost, and wrapped a "skin" on the outside made from off-cuts of the hardwood and lumber industries. When we found out that one of the world's largest tire dumps which is visible from space, was about an hour from us, it occurred to us that we could perhaps call these neat little gardens "99% repurposed materials"!
Step 1: Stuff You'll Want
Tires, any size but each tire must be within 1" of the tires on either side of it in the stack(I'll explain later)
Tractor tires: 75" and up
Semi tires: ~36"
Car tires: ~18" (good for replacing those rotten whiskey barrels in your front yard!)
2" stainless screws
Mulch for the bottom 2/3 of each stack (your city probably sells it from trimming operations)
NOTE: If you're making tractor tire gardens, they don't have the support to use mulch in the bottom. Take up some space with a few short logs, and see if you can find "fill dirt" which is cheaper than topsoil
Planting soil for the top of the stack (local compost is great)
Skin material, which can be:
Paint, look for old 1/2 cans at a hazardous materials redirection sites
Wood scraps, such as: crown cuts from sawmills, straight liner cut offs from hardwood processing, old fence boards, or pallets (if you're desperate, they're hard to disassemble)
Seeds or plants
If you're using wood scraps, you'll need a way to attach them. We have a pallet bander, which works beautifully, and that's a great option if you can borrow it from your shipping department. Black ratchet straps will work plenty fine, although the buckle might be in the way. A winch and small aircraft cable would work as well, as it can be crimped out of the way. As a last resort, you can screw the boards to the tires.
****IMPORTANT**** You must cover the tires with something (anything) light colored to prevent overheating of the soil and the plants.
Plastic pallet if you want to be able to move it later with a fork lift [optional]
Tools you'll need:
Jigsaw with a lot of carbide wood blades for cutting the sidewalls out
Wheelbarrow and shovel
6' Level or string level and string
Corded drill (no really, putting screws in rubber will destroy the trigger circuitry on a cordless)
Measure all your tires before you pick them! One of the things you'll notice at the tire shop is that the tires have no common diameter. In semi truck tires alone we've measured up to a foot in diameter. In order to stack properly, a tire must match the one below it in diameter by within an inch, less if possible.
Step 2: Cut Out the Sidewalls
Step 3: Level the Base
Step 4: Stack 'em Up!
Step 5: Mulchy Mulch
Step 6: Dirt
Step 7: Protect From the Sun
Step 8: Plant Stuff and Release the Bugs!
Step 9: Further Research
That said, if anyone wants to sponsor us for a third party soil analysis, we do have soil samples from the same dirt at the same age from outside and inside a garden which we deconstructed. Contact us through thetiregarden.com