Gibson Priest

Gibson Priest

Are old tires a problem or a solution? Well it really depends at if you are a glass half full or half empty type person.

Americans keep on moving about and thus used tire piles get larger and larger. These tires are bulky and are a double-edged sword because of their longevity.

On one side, their long life is good because they do not break down and can be used instead of other natural elements. However, them not breaking down is also terrible for the environment when they are put into a landfill.

Tire tread can be shredded and used for mats and yard mulch but a very large, expensive machine shredder is required. So why not try doing something with a portion of these tires that require very little work and can benefit us in some way.

Gardening with tires is a big step in the right direction. Yes, tires have heavy metal compounds in the rubber but they are deep seeded and do not leach into the soil. The main reason tires work so well is the fact that they decompose very little over time. This allows for gardens to last a long time and keep the shape preferred.

Gardeners can raise their beds up higher with tires so they are easier to get to. Especially for the elderly, this is an excellent way to increase outside activity for older gardeners and children alike. The raised beds allow for the soil to heat up quicker and allow earlier planting and drier soil.

Soil that stays drier is much healthier for the plant and decrease the amount of bacterial and other negative organisms from surviving. Yes, more water may be required but at least you will not have to bend over so far.

Producers can plant Tomatoes earlier in the spring due to the higher soil temperatures and the plants are easier to cover if there is a cool front coming in.

Compost bins are easy to make out of tires as well. All you need is a few tires stacked on top of each other and you can put anything in it that will fit due to the stability of the rubber.

When you decide to use the compost, pull one tire off and use that amount and so on. Potato’s and other root vegetables can be grown in tires especially where space is limited.

Got a concrete slab for a back yard? Doesn’t matter. Put a tire out there and go for it! Tires are great buffers for retaining walls also. If you have a spot where there is erosion, place a few tires in the way and back fill till desired. The hard rubber will hold the soil in place as long as there is some type of anchoring there.

Finally, tires can really help a gardener with their property and garden. They not only help allow gardening in small spaces but can also allow those with disabilities to get in on the fun as well. The tires used for landscaping can be painted and add to ascetics of the landscape also.

If you have any questions regarding gardening or the use of tires in the garden or on the farm, you are welcome to contact the extension office at 770-749-2142 or email

For more information and details on upcoming events, check out the Polk County Extension office on Facebook by searching “UGA Extension Polk County.”

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