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How to Use Tires in Gardening

By Nannette Richford ; Updated September 21, 2017

Planting flowers in old tires may not be anything new, but for many gardeners, growing tomatoes inside old tires is likely to be a new experience. Using old tires to hold tomato plants not only serves as support for the growing plant, it holds the fruit safely above the soil making harvesting easy, reducing the risk of disease, as well. Tomatoes love the increased temperatures and protection from the elements, resulting in rapid growth and abundant fruit.

Place an old tire on the ground and mark the area with a stick or with the edge of the hoe. Remove the tire and dig the soil inside the area to be covered by the tire to a depth of 8 to 10 inches.

Remove any rocks or plant debris turned up in the soil. Add 2 to 3 inches of compost or well-rotted manure and mix in well wit the existing soil.

Dig hole 8 inches deep and 8 to 12 inches in diameter in the center of the loose soil and plant one tomato seedling to each tire. Lay the seedling down and gently bend the top of the plant upward. Fill in with soil and firm down to secure the plant and remove air pockets. Water thoroughly.

Center the tire over the tomato plant. Fill the reservoir inside the tire with water and cover with clear plastic. this creates a mini-greenhouse. The black tire absorbs heat which warms the water. Water evaporates increasing humidity. At night, the water releases heat, keeping the air and soil around the tomato plant warm

Add another tire once tomato plants grow above the surface of the first tire and cover with plastic. Monitor plants for any signs of wilting or stress due to high temperatures. Open the plastic during the day to provide air circulation and to reduce humidity. Water when the soil feels dry to the touch.

Remove the plastic once the plants reach the top of the second tire, or they begin to set blossoms. This allows bees and flying insects access to the blooms to fertilize the flowers.

Keep the reservoir inside the tire filled with water to encourage lush growth and abundant fruit.


Things You Will Need

  • Two old tires
  • Clear plastic
  • Tomato seedlings

About the Author


Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with more than four years' experience in online writing. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in teaching 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.