Food gardens in used tyresThis is a featured page

This step-by-step guide was provided by SOS Gardening of the KwaZulu Natal Midlands
big tyre garden prep'd and ready to burst with flavour
Step 1

The first step to starting your own tyre garden is to collect a number of used car tyres...

It's a great recycling project as there are so many used tyres discarded every year. The problem with this is that the tyre that get discarded take up a lot of space and take so long to break down. Any project that takes toxic wastes and makes something productive from it, gets our THUMBS UP!

Step 1
Step 2 - cutting your tyres

  • Next you need a solid Stanley cutting knife to cut out the one side of the tyre. This makes more room to increase your yield per tyre.
  • Sit on the ground with your legs either side of the tyre.
  • This is much easier than first expected - the knife slices through the rubber very easily and no force is required.
  • Make sure your blade is sharp, then cut/puncture a small hole in the outer edge of the tyre.
  • Insert the blade of the Stanley knife into the hole
  • Draw the blade towards you, following the thin line around the edge of the tyre. At the same time, lift and pull the cut-away upwards to help the knife do it's thing. Keep rotating the tyre until the whole circle is cut out.
  • Keep the cut-out circle. The rubber can be used for a number of different things. (SOS uses them to make shoe soles, roof tiles, floor mats... share your ideas!)

Step 2

Step 3
Step 3 - preparing your tyre for planting

  • Now it's time to fill the tyre with your prepared soil and compost.

  • SOS uses a mix of 1 part soil, 1 part organic compost, and 1 part composted kraal manure for an extra nitrogen boost.
  • Add the soil, compost and manure, and mix well with your hands. (earthworms are GREAT!)

  • to prevent ants and other crawlies from getting to your veggies, apply grease to the lip of the tyre with your finger as illustrated

  • You can also start a worm farm in stacked tyres.

Step 4

rich soil

Food gardens in used tyres - The Jason's Garden Wiki
Step 4 - transplanting your seedlings.

  • You will either purchase seedlings in trays from a nursery, or you will grow your own seedlings in a tyre (much more price-efficient and rewarding!)

  • Dig out a seedling and plant it in the prep'd tyre. Space the plants so that five vegetables can be grown equally spaced apart.

  • Plant chives, garlic and onions around the perimeter to prevent insect damage.

  • When your tyre is planted out, fill the tyre with water. Your tyre holds water better than any other vessel and still allows for drainage.

Another really cool thing to do with old tyres is to build a "Potato Stack". Don't cut the rim of the tyres for this one. Fill a tyre and plant potato tubers in the soil. When the plant has grown to about 30cm high, cover it with another tyre and fill with soil. Keep doing this as the plant grows through the new soil. Potato tubers grow underground, and the leafy part of the plant that was above ground becomes root when covered with soil, so more potatoes grow underground. When your stack is about five or six tyres high, let the plant grow in the sunlight until it starts dying off. When the plant has died off, kick your stack over and harvest a whole heap of tubers!

seedling tyres

Food gardens in used tyres - The Jason's Garden Wiki
Step 5 - mulching

Common organic mulches include:
  • grass and leaves
  • peat moss
  • wood and bark chips
  • straw

The main functions of mulches are the conservation of soil moisture and the moderation of soil temperature. They moderate internal soil temperatures by retaining heat from the day and radiating it to the soil at night during spring and fall; in the winter mulches moderate soil warming during the day, limiting the stress plants undergo during soil freezing and thawing cycles. They also are used to prevent frost heaving of unestablished plants in winter. During summer, they keep soil cool by blocking direct sunlight exposure of the soil surface. Mulches are used to block evaporation of water from the soil, slowing down soil drying. They also help control the growth of weeds, blocking sunlight and/or smothering weed seedlings under layers of material. Mulch also reflects sunlight back from the ground to the leaves of plants, they also provide a clean and dry surface for ground-lying fruits. They prevent soil erosion from heavy rains, prevent surface run-off of water, and prevent the direct impact of hard rains on the soil surface. Some mulches improve soil texture, adding humus. Organic mulches may add nutrients to the soil as they breakdown. Biodegradable mulches, as they decay, are incorporated into the soil where they provide air spaces and surfaces for fungi and root growth (Louise; Bush-Brown, James (1996), America's garden book, New York: Macmillan USA, pp. 768, ISBN 002860995-6 )

Step 6 - sustain your garden

  • Water daily
  • Make sure your tyres get lots of sun
  • You can erect shade cloth over the tyres by planting stakes in the ground and stretching the protective cloth over the stakes above the tyres.
  • Harvest your crop and tip the soil out to air and mix again with compost before planting your next rotation.
  • Know which plants do best in your area. good to know in theory but only practical experience will reinforce your knowledge.
  • Don't be scared to experiment
  • Don't be disappointed if your plants wither - remember what you did and do something different.
  • Ask

Jason's gardener
veggies flowers are good for bees

Give it a go, start your own tyre garden now, then send us photos of your thriving garden at , tell us about it and what produce it has yielded, and you could win a CD by Jason and the Men of Trees band. We'd also like to come around to your place to take photos and do a story.

Happy gardening!!

learn how you can add your stuff to this wiki too... it's easy, it's fun, and all gardeners are richer for your efforts.

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jasonsgarden Got tyre garden questions? 14 Sep 6 2009, 11:42 PM EDT by novice1
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