The tire rings are from cut tire tanks used out in the grazing paddocks. We will fill the centers with manure and put straw on the edges. That will prevent evaporative losses from the hypothetically hot black rubber. The rubber will also trap water that would not have originally fallen onto the central spot. Going to plant tomatoes on the outside of the rings for something to grow on. Melons, pumpkins and beans will go on the inside. Along with a bunch of other guilding plants. Built a massive hugel row on the outside of the bed to plant different pollinator attractors and pest traps and some more sacrifice veggies for the gophers and rabbits. Should be a fun project. More pictures to come later in the week/months/year. Should be a fun project. All criticisms and suggestions welcome!!!
Another note. This little part of the garden was fallowed last year because of lack of water, bad drought, lack of man power to work it. Pretty young garden. Soil is primarily horse manure and mulch that has broken down over the past few years. This place is in Southern Colorado on the Shortgrass Prairie outside of Pueblo, CO. Soils are really clayey and precip is about 12 in a good year.
The EPA is considering pulling their 'okay' on using tires in children's play areas http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/06/05/new-white-house-playgroun_n_211764.html
some things found in tire mulch (and therefore tires) wrote:
■Benzothiazole: Skin and eye irritation, harmful if swallowed. There is no available data on cancer, mutagenic toxicity, teratogenic toxicity, or developmental toxicity.
■Butylated hydroxyanisole: Recognized carcinogen, suspected endocrine toxicant, gastrointestinal toxicant, immunotoxicant (adverse effects on the immune system), neurotoxicant (adverse effects on the nervous system), skin and sense-organ toxicant. There is no available data on cancer, mutagenic toxicity, teratogenic toxicity, or developmental toxicity.
■n-hexadecane: Severe irritant based on human and animal studies. There is no available data on cancer, mutagenic toxicity, teratogenic toxicity, or developmental toxicity.
■4-(t-octyl) phenol: Corrosive and destructive to mucous membranes. There is no available data on cancer, mutagenic toxicity, teratogenic toxicity, or developmental toxicity.
■Zinc: There is a very large amount of zinc that is added in the manufacturing of tires and therefore there is a great deal of zinc.
Other Chemicals that are often found in rubber tires are:
■Benzene: Carcinogen, Developmental Toxicant, Reproductive Toxicant
■Phthalates: Suspected Developmental Toxicant, Endocrine Toxicant, Reproductive Toxicant
■PAHs: Suspected Cardiovascular or Blood Toxicant, Gastrointestinal or Liver Toxicant, Reproductive Toxicant ,Respiratory Toxicant,
■Maganese: Gastrointestinal or liver toxicants
■Carbon Black: Carcinogen
■Latex: Causes allergic reactions in some people
Why is rubber tire mulch a problem for gardens?
■The rubber mulch has an excess amount of zinc - and the excess zinc stunts the growth of plants. See North Carolina's Department of Agricultural's study on
rubber mulch -http://www.ncagr.com/agronomi/pdffiles/rubber.pdf
■There is the potential for ground water contamination from the chemicals in the ground up rubber tire mulch. For people on residential wells, this is particularly worrisome.
■If the rubber mulch is used on vegetable gardens there is the possibility that the plants will take-up the chemicals found in the used tire mulch.
■The companies producing and selling ground-up rubber tire mulch do not fully explain where the rubber mulch comes from nor the potential danger it presents to gardens, soil contamination, ground water and humans.
I don't know if you have those answers, but are some that come to mind right away. Other than the tires giving me cancer, are there any other design concerns?
Hope that helps.
Jonathan Hontz wrote:The tires are debateably harmful. The link goes to the Earthship Biotecture website, where they've been building with tires for decades. They are primarily packed full of earth and also covered because the tires will biodegrade when exposed to UV, but when buried they remain inert. You're not building an Earthship, but there is a certain similarity there. So in the presence of conflicting evidence, you'll have to read up on both sides and come to your own conclusion.
Hope that helps.
Earthship construction bury tires, especially where they will not be in contact with water or roots. This is an entirely different usage from pouring water over them, leaving them in the sun, and putting living matter all over them. While I agree that using them for building is probably okie-dokie, using them to grow food is an entirely different matter. I have been keeping an eye on endocrine system problems and the sharp increase in such problems lately keeps me away from such uses. The current thinking is, summed: "we haven't researched tire planters, but tires in any other use is toxic," leads me to an answer. I really don't need to be sick any more than I already am, and won't be betting on this empty cup to give me Lucky 7 anytime soon.
Here are more tires-to-grow-food links:
Planting vegetables, particularly potatoes in stacks of tires is pretty popular these days, but there is a growing question whether tire gardens are safe. While there has been no direct research on whether it is safe to grow vegetables in tire gardens, there is research that shows that as tires get older they degrade. According to Linda Chalker-Scott, Associate Professor and Extension Urban Horticulturist, WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center, we do know that "rubber tires will be a constant source of leached metals, PAHs, and other pollutants as the tires degrade. Whether or not it's enough to worry about from a human health perspective is unknown."
This garden has kinda turned into the lazy man's garden, one because it will require very little watering if any at all. AND you don't really have to bend over that much to harvest, which will be great! The tire rings are awesome for this. A few have layers of straw and manure. Some have a base of just manure. Some a base of straw and paper. And some a base filled with alfalfa. All get a topping of alfalfa and then manure/compost/previous garden soil on top! So this is kind of experimental to see which works the best. Going to give everything a REALLY good soak here after the winds stop and hopefully if it rains a few times this summer, they will not have to be watered again.
Look forward to some more pictures as the growing season begins and we get stuff stuff going.
A few more notes. Each tire will get a central leguminous plant to help break down all the straw (Nitrogen sink) and then other plants planted around. There is a "Hugelesque" Bed around the garden which you can see. Currently straw covered in manure and native soil. Going to keep adding and building to that will compost and manure and build it as big as it can go. Again lots of legumes the first few years and lots of manure and compost to start building some productive soil.
Looking at building some trellises for vine plants for wind breaks and sun traps, which will further niche the entirety of the garden. Lots of microniches are going to be built in future months hopefully.
Sometimes when I remove posts I try to help set direction. I find that I am struggling a little this time.
1) There is a post here that has "the truth" and I typically ask folks to not post "the truth" but rather "my position". I feel "the truth" posts discourage other ideas and i want to experience the full richness of other ideas. This particular post, however, just happens to stumble on a type of stuff about content that is and is not allowed on my site, so I guess i will leave it. I hereby exercise my right as sight owner to be as crazy as I want.
2) My mission with these forums to gather knowledge about stuff far beyond organic. I don't want to publish discussions on GMOs, herbicides or petroleum fertilizers - that's for other forums. The use of tires is something that might be considered organic, therefore I will allow it. but just barely. And I do want the resulting discussion to strongly favor NOT using tires.
3) When I first started gardening, I really sucked at it. But I quickly learned that I needed more soil. And one of the things I did was use a big tractor tire and fill it with soil. It worked awesome: the rhubarb planted in it was HUGE! It was about a year later that I started to feel uneasy about the tire and the potential toxins. And a year after that that I started making plans to get rid of the tire. And now I am adamantly against the idea of using tires in gardening. Therefore, i cannot fault this path - I've done the same thing. And I hope that folks coming to this site and reading this thread will come to the conclusion of not using tires in their stuff - thus avoided my past errors.