How to Grow Vegetables in Old Tires


Before recycle locations were established to dispose of old tractor and automobile tires, homeowners developed their own recycling system: placing the used tires into service as raised flower and vegetable beds. The black rubber tire can take its place in the landscape as-is or can be painted.

Step 1

Hose out the inside of the tire. Cut the sidewall off one side of the tire. Though this step is optional, by cutting the sidewall off, you will have access to the entire soil surface. Force the point of the utility knife into the sidewall close to the tread side of the tire. Use a rocking motion with the knife to cut around the sidewall.

Step 2

Place the tire in a sunny location where it can get at least six hours of sunshine. The tire is best placed over bare soil; however, the tire can be placed on weed-free grass. The soil in the tire will block light from the grass and eventually kill it. If more than one tire will be used, space them about 18 inches apart for ease of walking around the tire.

Step 3

Fill the tire with ground soil or potting soil. Add about 2 inches of organic matter, like compost or leaf mold, if using ground soil. Water the soil to settle it and then add more soil if needed to get the soil level up to the top of the tire.

Step 4

Plant the seeds or starter plants at the appropriate grow time and distance apart according to the package directions. Place taller plants, like tomatoes, in the middle of the tire and lower plants, like zucchini or leaf lettuce around the outer rim of the tire.

Step 5

Add about 2 inches of mulch, like wood chips or leaf mold, around the plants once they are about 4 inches tall. Mulch will help to retain moisture and can block growth of wind-blown weed seeds.

Step 6

Water regularly if there is no rainfall. The soil should be moist 2 inches below the surface. Stick your finger into the soil to test to feel if it is moist (it will feel cooler than the surface soil).

Things You'll Need

  • Utility knife (optional)
  • Organic matter
  • Vegetable seeds or starter plants
  • Mulch


  • Backwoods Home Magazine: A Garden Using Tires
  • Farm Radio International: Gardening in Tires
Keywords: gardening, rubber tires, planting vegetables

About this Author

Barbara Raskauskas is a certified e-learning specialist and certified Microsoft Office specialist. She has written web content, technical documents and course material for a decade. Raskauskas now writes how-to's, product reviews and general topics published on several websites, including Demand Studios.