DIY: Recycled Tire Garden Planters

I have to admit, I find these recycled tire planters charming.  Planting containers made from tires are pretty easy to make and cost almost nothing.  Since it costs to dispose of tires, getting a few used wheels from a local auto shop should be a snap.

This pictorial how to from the Jersey City List shows how to make the cuts and turn the tire inside out to create the planter.  If you have leftover rims, you can use that as a pedestal base for your planter and you can paint them to what ever style or color suits your garden.

Of course if you are feeling lazy and just want to just use the tires as is….this actually has a certain charm as well.

image from our laughing place.

And while I am on the subject of planting in tires, does anyone have any DEFINITIVE information about planting potatoes in used tires.  Are there, or are their not issues with tires leaching anything?  Through a lot of online searching I seem to only find passionately opinionated advice on both sides of the coin, but not so much fact, based on tests or scientific information.  Do you happen to know of any facts related to growing root vegetables in tires?

22 Responses to DIY: Recycled Tire Garden Planters

  1. As for tires leaching noxious chemicals into the soil, Ive found very little to support it. Like you have found, it is mostly a fear that people have – that something might go wrong.

    If it bothers you, line the tires with plastic, recycled from bags, pool liners, etc.

  2. I read about the toxins with growing root vegetables in a book called “Getting Started in Permaculture” by Ross and Jenny Mars. I was so excited about using tires for planters after I read their book but they did warn about root vegetables growing in them. They write” Beware: don’t use tires to grow potatoes or other below ground or root vegetables. Leaching of heavy metals and/or toxins may occur, and thus be absorbed in or on the surfaces. They give you so many other uses for them and suggest growing almost everything else.

  3. OMG, I sincerely hope leaching is not an issue! I just made my entire garden area out of tires… which were free and totally easy to situate and prepare for my 2011 raised bed garden. I wanted to do several kinds of potatoes as well and had researched all the youtube videos I could find. I thought about testing my soil before filling the containers/tires and after using them for a season to see if the soil tests showed any strange changes… but honestly, I don’t see how basic soil testing would show the chemical leaching people are worried about. How could you test a tire garden, anyway?

  4. This is a great class project! We cant wait to get started. It’s a great lesson in sustainable and recycled materials.

  5. It was just a week ago when I saw a wine barrel used as a garden planter and with this blog tires are being use as a garden tool. I like the idea of recycling and I support this kind of advocate. Also, I can imagine that the combination of wine barrel and tire can add uniqueness to my garden.

  6. I’m a teacher at an elementary school in AZ. My special ed class made an entire 30x30ft raised garden out of tires last year on our campus. They’re fabulous. The kids painted them solid colors, then painted handprints on them and turned the handprints into flowers. They’re so cute! Plus, they’ve been the best garden containers I’ve ever used. They really hold moisture well and our garden is flourishing even in our dessert heat! The vegetables have just grown and grown, it taught the kids to reuse/repurpose as we got all the tires for free from and auto tire shop. It’s taught them about working together, patience, and being able to grow their own food in the city. Such a great idea!

  7. These planters have been around for ever and ever in the South…along with painting tree trunks with white wash.

  8. I have used a standard car tire and a larger tractor-trailer tire for making raised beds within my veggie garden. I just fill them with a mixture of garden soil and my own good compost, which I thoroughly blend together with my mini tiller. Don’t know if the tires could be sealed against leaching by completely covering with several coats of paint, but contacting a local University Extension Agent may provide a qualified answer. As a side note to all gardeners, the planting zone chart has changed. Here in Michigan I am now zone 6a, when I was zone 5 in 2011.

  9. LOVE this idea!!! Had one question, do you put anything in the bottom to prevent the dirt from falling thru??? Thanks!!!!!

  10. Is there a trick to getting the paint to stick? How long does the paint last? What kind of paint works best?

  11. Leaching – I’ve spent a fair amount of time researching the leaching subject. Cadmium from Zinc seems to be the big issue. Cadmium is a color stabilizer for tires. We absorb Cadmium throughout our lives from many different sources as with other metals, via air, water and yes, food. Paul Farber, the goo roo of tire crafting writes about this specifically on his web site. It’s the best and most credible I could find on the subject. Tirecrafting.com/FAQ section, first item.

    Paint – Outside of tires, good o’l latex paint thinned slightly. Inside where the shiny slippery stuff is. clean & Scrub, wipe with mineral spririts and ad something called Emulsa Bond in the appropriate amount. It’s a primer made by Flood Products.

    ATV tires are great if you can get them. Easier to cut and turn inside out, no steel belting. Jigsaw w/teeth of the blade pointing down and offset ground off so it’s like a knife.

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