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Old 31-08-2003, 08:42 PM
Gail Futoran
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Default Final Report - The Grand Tire-Gardening Experiment (LONG!!)

"Pat Meadows" wrote in message

Final Report - The Grand Tire-Gardening Experiment

August 31, 2003

[big snip]

I loved reading this. It's so practical and I like
I'm going to be putting in a raised herb garden and might
think about using tires for that, something that I would not
have considered before reading your post. The one potential

5. I question whether the tire-planters would be

in extremely hot and dry places, such as the deserts in

American Southwest, or even in extremely hot (but not dry)
places (Florida comes to mind). There's no question that
the soil in the tire-planters gets warmer than it would on
the ground. This is an asset in our area but would be a
disadvantage in very hot places. Mulch could probably go

long way towards alleviating this, as would painting the
tires white.

I live near San Antonio TX and typically we get hot summers.
This year has been relatively cool, so I've watered raised
rose beds only once per week; other summers I've sometimes
had to water several times per week, and I use soaker hose
covered in mulch, so water isn't wasted.

My new herb bed is going in behind a fence, so aesthetics
won't be a problem. I might try your idea of painting the
tires. I really really like the idea of not spending money
and having to do cutting/drilling on wood for raised beds.
Been there done that!

Anyway, you have given me a lot of food for thought. Thanks
for your detailed report.


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Old 31-08-2003, 09:12 PM
Glenna Rose
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Default Final Report - The Grand Tire-Gardening Experiment (LONG!!)


Final Report - The Grand Tire-Gardening Experiment

August 31, 2003

This season's garden continues, of course, and will until
really cold weather (December probably), but the season is
far enough advanced that I can now make this Final Report.
Also, we are probably moving soon, so I thought I'd better
write this before we get involved in moving and I have no
spare time.

[snipped the meat of the post]

Thank you, Pat, for your informative message. Though I've not yet read it
completely, I've saved it for future reference. I had almost pretty much
decided to put certain things in raised beds, either tire or block (since
I scored all those free blocks last spring and more again a few weeks
ago), but your experiences have convinced me it is definitely a good idea.
I'm also fortunate enough to have a limited supply of corrugated
drain/culvert pipe in larger diameters (18-inch and 24-inch) available to
me which I'm seriously considering putting around my tomato plants next
year. If it works well, I'll be purchasing a full length of the
appropriate size pipe. For those you don't know, the pipe is black and
has "rings" on it about an inch wide which are filled with air (or water
if there is a slight hole that catches the rain) to add strength to the
pipe; it seems to me they would work much the same as a wall-of-water but
be much more long lasting. This year, I placed a few rings of it around
certain plants. It holds in water while it absorbs into the soil directly
below the plant before dispersing into the surrounding soil (depending on
how deep the ring is set into the ground). It also absorbs heat because it
is black as well as providing a border for both mulch and for using a
weed-trimmer. My main intention was a container for extra watering and a
border to keep me from damaging the plant's stem/truck when mowing, but
now the additional advantages of heat and mulch are apparent. For the
roses I transplanted, I placed the rings about four inches in the soil and
four inches above the ground line, and it has been working very well. I
also put larger rings around my kiwi plants but must wait until the plants
are dormant this fall to place them into the soil so as not to damage the

The advantages for me in using this culvert pipe a
- the rings on the pipe are evenly spaced and make it easy to keep all
widths (heights after in place) the same size for a neater appearance
- because the rings are parallel, cutting between them is easy (I use a
pruning saw though there are surely better saws to use)
- the black color absorbs heat into the soil directly around the plant
- the rings (borders) will hold mulch in place (and not allow my chickens
to tear it up!)
- the rings direct water straight down to the plant's roots
- black more readily "blends" into the surrounding areas and is less
noticeable than other colors
- damage from use of the grass-trimmer is eliminated (if you keep the
string below the top of the ring)
- consistency in size of borders around plants
- for decorative plants, spacing them a lawn mower's width apart reduces
maintenance time
- when cages are used for veggie plants, it helps hold the cage in place
- I had been using planter tubs and cutting out the bottoms for this but
they are short-lived and only last a couple of seasons before starting to
break; these are permanent
- when set deeper into the soil, they work well for containing invasive
plants such as mints
- no bottoms eliminates drainage problems that might otherwise exist

The disadvantage to some might be the green stripe on the pipe which is
there for the workers to line up when it's being laid in the construction
ditch. That isn't a problem in my yard but some might consider it
unsightly to have that green stripe on an inch of their borders. I guess
if it bothered me, I'd spray paint the stripe black before putting it
around a plant.g

If my boss with whom I had worked for over 20 years were still living, I'd
ask him to order a couple of lengths of large diameter (3 or 4-foot)
culvert pipe for me for raised beds when he was ordering pipe for a job.
That would allow me to have the contractor's discount and free delivery.
But then, I'd be spending many hours cutting the rings for the individual
planters unless I wanted to also borrow a power saw. Or, if I was lucky,
there'd be enough left over from various jobs that I could glean it from
the finished job sites in smaller amounts.

Yes, I'm one of those unconventional people that is always looking for
something to use that might be better (or at least as good) as marketed
items. Those vinegar/soy sauce 55-gallon barrels I picked up earlier this
summer ($5 each) could also serve as "hot-houses" over tires to allow
planting before the last frost has happened. Last year and the year
before, I used heavy duty commercial clear plastic bags over tomato cages
which worked well but the plastic would sometimes tear in the
mornings/evenings when removing/replacing it; the barrels would not. Of
course, those would be used on only a few plants rather than dozens as
were the plastic bags, but, heck, anything that gets something bearing
earlier in the garden is nice!

Those huge planter tubs the nurseries sell trees in . . . I have three of
them I use for yard clippings. It saves me having to cut branches/vines
into shorter lengths. They have drainage holes so will not hold water.
They can be left in the containers to take to the dump when we have our
free yard debris cleanup each spring. They can also be nested for storage
(or even stacked when being used depending on the contents). I have
several containers in smaller sizes so nesting them together for storage
takes up only the footprint of the largest one. Two years ago, I used
them to haul chicken manure which kept us from having to shovel the manure
out of the truck which would not have been pleasant!

I love this group! There are so many wonderful ideas I've read here as
well as the more conventional gardening wisdom. :-)


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Old 31-08-2003, 09:42 PM
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Default Final Report - The Grand Tire-Gardening Experiment (LONG!!)

Pat Meadows wrote:
Final Report - The Grand Tire-Gardening Experiment

August 31, 2003

Pat, this is an excellent post. Thanks for taking the time to prepare this.


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Old 01-09-2003, 05:02 AM
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Default Final Report - The Grand Tire-Gardening Experiment (LONG!!)

Pat Meadows wrote:

[2] 'Organoponicos' are raised beds made of concrete as used
in urban areas throughout Cuba. A fascinating description
and photos are available at:

This link didn't work for me so I googled for the term "Organoponicos". That
led to an interesting 15 minutes or so coming up to speed on Organoponicos.
THEN I noticed something new and just tiny bit exciting ... the use of a
plant to control slugs / snails.

"Planting and application of botanical pesticides
Solutions are prepared from insecticidal plants and applied to infected
crops. Some insecticidal plants include Neem (Azadirachta indica), which is
effective on a wide range of insect pests and Solasol (Solanum globiferum),
which kills slugs and snails."

Solanum globiferum is a new term for me.
Chased it down to he
and was pleasantly surprised to note that 1) I understood most of the
Spanish on the page and 2) that it is a sort of Calendula. I had forgotten
that Calendula could be useful for this. Thanks!

Zone 8b (Detroit, MI)
I do not post my address to news groups.

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Old 01-09-2003, 06:03 AM
Glenna Rose
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Default Final Report - The Grand Tire-Gardening Experiment (LONG!!)


Oh drool! Why do other people always find this great free
or cheap stuff and I don't?

Actually, it was someone in this newsgroup that posted last year the name
of the company that had these barrels available near PDX airport; the
original poster makes rain barrel systems and has the plans for them on
his page for those who wish to make their own, a terrific idea!

The supplier, whose address I finally found this summer after requesting
it here (the original poster apparently isn't currently reading the group)
now charges $5 each for the barrels but still a bargain. There is vinegar
left in them so a bonus is a gallon or so of 20 or 10 percent vinegar
which I promptly used as a weed killer on my block walkway. Those are the
white barrels; the blue barrels contained soy sauce. Because they both
contain food products, it seemed they'd certainly be safe for veggies. :-)
I could also carry two in my Escort, one in the back seat and one in the
trunk with the help of a bungee cord to keep the trunk lid secured. I was
fortunate to have someone haul six of them for me in the back of his truck
so that saved trips, much appreciated since I don't get over that way too
often and just cannot justify to myself a special trip of 16 miles round
trip to get recyclable stuff.g

You can probably check the directories of various industrial parks for
food processors and start calling to see if any have 55-gallon barrels to
get rid of. Wholesale food suppliers might be another source. Everyone
benefits; they don't have to haul them off, and we get to purchase them at
a reasonable price which also gives them some compensation for the
productivity lost by their employees to get the barrels for us.

This past month, I saw the *same* barrels at one of our feed stores for
$15 each!

On several, I cut off the bottom third of the barrel, drilled holes one
inch above the bottom of the 1/3 section and use them to set plants in so
I can water them with no worries about overwatering (it drains out) but
ensuring they get enough water. I'm horrible about buying things and not
getting them planted in a timely matter! I'll be using some of the 1/3
sections in the spring for starting plants in pots as well. A piece of
plastic over the top will make it a sort of cold frame also.

The other 2/3 pieces of the barrels became potato planters with drainage
provided by removing the plugs from the tops (since they are actually the
top 2/3 of the barrelsg). I have four of them lined up along the
sidewalk on the section of lawn between the alley fence and the driveway.
Because they are this lovely white (like a picket fence white), they don't
look as tacky as it might sound. I transplanted sunflowers on the house
side of them so the sunflowers growing behind them added a festive look to
them. Next year, I might try to also plant creeping thyme in the odd
areas between the barrels and the sidewalk or at least some marigolds so
they look more like they belong there. Of course, some of that white pvc
trellis would be perfect for making it attractive from the street side
though it might look a bit odd since I have chain link fencing everywhere
else that is fenced. But if I came upon another garage sale special (see
below), that is likely to happen.

In the back, along the east side of my garden (the side that faces my
house), I have pvc trellis fencing in 2-foot widths as my garden fence. I
scored two 8-ft panels for $5 at a yard sale this spring so added four
panels that would have cost me $7 each ($28 for $5) so basically finished
that this year as I had only purchased two panels last year to get an idea
if I wanted to do that. The panels are removable for mowing, tilling,
etc. I fastened the panels to 2-ft long white 3/4" pvc pipe sections with
the strap fasteners which are also white in three places. I have cut 3-ft
lengths of metal electrical conduit to pound into the ground where I want
the fence and set the fence over them. When I mow or use the weed-cutter,
I can easily remove the fence panels to keep a mowed-to-the-edge look if
wanted. Because the electrical conduit goes in and out of the ground
easily, it is a simple matter to reposition them as needed and to store
all the components over the winter months and easily replace them in the

Two feet is an easy height for me to step over but provides a "don't go
there" for people and domestic animals. Even the chickens didn't go over
them when they were loose, surprisingly, but then it was an easy matter
for them to walk around them.g The panels are much more attractive than
the wire rabbit fencing I had used the three previous years and provides a
clear lawn end/garden begin line.

It will eliminate the "portability" of my fence placement, but I will be
adding two rocks of concrete blocks for a raised strawberry bed along one
section of it with one of the cattle panels on the back side for berries
to grow on (to be transplanted there when they become dormant for the
winter). Because this section of garden is in the shade of the magnolia
tree much of the day, the cooler area should be good for all the berries.
Experience has shown that is the best garden area for cauliflower,
broccoli and chard.

On another section of the fence, I have black planter tubs full of potato
plants. The white trellis fencing totally blocks view of the tubs so
makes something that might be considered unsightly by some much nicer to
look at since the tubs are not even visible from the house side. As the
potatoes are harvested, the tubs, and subsequently that section of fence,
will be removed for winter and next spring's garden prep.

Obviously, my garden/yard is not in any way set in stone. LOL

Good look on finding some of those barrels!


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Old 01-09-2003, 04:32 PM
Tom Jaszewski
Posts: n/a
Default Final Report - The Grand Tire-Gardening Experiment (LONG!!)

On Mon, 01 Sep 2003 08:32:52 -0400, Pat Meadows

IMHO, this is quite a sharp contrast to the traditional
attitude of the USDA. I believe that organic farmers and
gardeners in the USA have generally been frustrated by the
very notable lack of support they have received from the
USDA through the cooperative extension and other areas,
although if what I read can be believed the USDA is now
improving somewhat in this respect.

From here it looks like the USDA will muck it up more than help....

Assault on organic standards

It took 12 years of hearings, hundreds of thousands of comments from
the public, and the drafting of 600 pages of proposed standards to
create the "USDA Organic" label.

Issued last October, it was a major achievement. Even its toughest
critics agree that any food bearing the organic label must be produced
far more naturally, with far less impact on the environment, than
conventional food. Among the requirements: No synthetic fertilizers,
few chemical pesticides, no antibiotics or hormones, no irradiation or
genetic engineering, no animal byproducts in animal feed, and access
to the outdoors for all livestock.

No sooner did those tough standards go into effect, however, than
various enterprises began to look for ways to cash in on the USDA
Organic label without having to adhere to all the demanding rules. In
October, The Country Hen, a Massachusetts egg producer, applied to its
local organic certifier for permission to use the organic label. But
to meet the rule that its chickens would be able to go outside, the
producer indicated that it planned to put a few porches on its
henhouses, which held thousands of layers. Did this promise fulfill
the requirement for access to the outdoors? The local certifier said
no. But on appeal, the USDA overruled the certifier and said The
Country Hen could use the USDA’s and the certifier’s organic labels.

The certifier has since filed suit against the USDA, and Consumers
Union has urged the USDA to change its ruling. In the meantime,
Country Hen eggs are on the market with the organic labels.

In Georgia, some chicken producers wanted to use the organic label on
their broilers. But they discovered that organic feed, which is what
an organic chicken must eat, was relatively expensive. So the chicken
producers convinced Rep. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.) to push through Congress
a rider to the 2003 Omnibus Appropriations bill saying that if organic
feed cost more than twice as much as regular feed, organic livestock
could eat the regular kind.

As that drastic cheapening of the organic label became known,
Consumers Union and others objected. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.)
amassed enough support to repeal the feed exemption. But there was a
cost. Sen. Ted Stevens (D-Alaska) insisted that the legislation
instruct the USDA to authorize use of the organic label on seafood
caught in the wild. That includes not just salmon from the relatively
unpolluted waters off the Alaska coast but also swordfish and shark,
which the Food and Drug Administration says contain so much mercury
that children and pregnant women should not eat them.

Last October, with no hearings or public discussion, the USDA extended
its rules on organic labeling to cosmetics. There are now shampoos and
body lotions labeled "70 percent organic" based on the fact that their
main ingredient is an "organic hydrosol." What’s that? It is water in
which something organic, such as an organic lavender leaf, has been

Consumers Union believes that Congress must stop entertaining requests
from special interests to cash in on the USDA Organic label and that
the USDA must become a strict steward of how the label is used.
Consumers want and need an organic label they can trust.

What you can do

To learn more or to express your views about these issues to the
appropriate government officials, visit the Consumers Union Guide to
Environmental Labels at

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Old 01-09-2003, 09:12 PM
Gail Futoran
Posts: n/a
Default Final Report - The Grand Tire-Gardening Experiment (LONG!!)

"Pat Meadows" wrote in message
On Sun, 31 Aug 2003 19:36:45 GMT, "Gail Futoran"

and having to do cutting/drilling on wood for raised

Been there done that!

Me too! If space isn't a problem, you don't really *need*
to cut the sidewalls off either, it just limits the space
inside the tire.

That's a good point. I have loads of space and if I can
eliminate one step I'd rather do that. I have arthritis,
too, and although it isn't too bad yet, overdoing even a
little bit has consequences.

Painting them white would probably help, and I understand
that regular latex outdoor paint can be used. I've not

done it myself.

Well worth a try, especially since the tires themselves are
free, and we have housepaint left over that gets hard in
time if not used. Thanks for the recommendation.


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Old 02-09-2003, 04:02 AM
Gail Futoran
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Default Final Report - The Grand Tire-Gardening Experiment (LONG!!)

"Pat Meadows" wrote in message
On Mon, 01 Sep 2003 20:06:09 GMT, "Gail Futoran"


If you do not cut the sidewalls off, you could probably

on them to tend the plants - that's a good feature.

Ohhh, I like that idea!

You could even - if you have enough soil to fill them -

up several tires (as people do when planting potatoes) and
then be able to work on them at a comfortable height -

working on a table. But this would take considerable
shoveling and considerable soil to fill them.

The one thing I'm really good at is moving dirt around.
I would definitely do several levels of tires. There are
piles of dirt in my yard from other gardening projects, if I
can just bring myself to disturb the habitat of Rough Earth
Snakes I discovered last time I dug into the pile.


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Old 05-09-2003, 12:13 PM
Posts: n/a
Default Final Report - The Grand Tire-Gardening Experiment (LONG!!)

On Sun, 31 Aug 2003 14:58:22 -0400, Pat Meadows wrote:

Final Report - The Grand Tire-Gardening Experiment

2 questions Pat:

1) where did you get the nylon net...i 've been looking for a fine mesh
variety for some time

2) were you concerned at all about toxic material leaching from the tires
into the soil?


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Old 06-09-2003, 01:12 PM
Tom Jaszewski
Posts: n/a
Default Final Report - The Grand Tire-Gardening Experiment (LONG!!)

On Fri, 05 Sep 2003 08:42:17 -0400, Pat Meadows

2) were you concerned at all about toxic material leaching from the tires
into the soil?

I was.

I did what research I could on it, and I found *NO* evidence
of anything harmful leaching from the tires. Not much
information is available, but I could find nothing that
indicated harmful leaching: nothing at all.

I sent for Paul Farber's research sheet (the man who has the
Tire Crafting website), and he found no evidence of anything
harmful either.

The little evidence I *was* able to find on it indicated
that the tires are fine - from what I can gather, the few
tests performed indicate nothing harmful leaching.

" Waste tire in subgrade road beds" published by MPCA in February,

The following points summarise the findings of the study:
1. Tyre samples exposed to acidic solutions leach higher
concentrations of metals
than those subjected to neutral or basic solutions.
2. In neutral solutions (pH 7.0) tyre samples did not leach any
contaminants of worry.
3. Samples subject to a pH of 3.5 produced leachate metal
concentrations that
exceeded the Minnesota Department of Health Recommended Allowable
(RALs) for drinking water standards.
4. Metals detected in the highest concentrations included barium,
chromium, lead, selenium and zinc.

· 33,000 buried tired are leaching toxic chemicals into ground water
in Georgian Bay-area site which is 50 kms southeast of Owen Sound;
neighbours sue the province (Toronto Star, February 28, 1998)

1,3-butadienerugs, rug underpaddings, rubber tires, rubber consumer
products, nylon, gasoline, auto exhaust, groundwater leukemia,
lymph cancer, blood cell cancer; tumors of breast, bronchial tubes,
stomach, large intestine, liver, heart, thyroid (in mice: testicular
tumors, leukemia) (references 1-5)
1. Mehlman MA. "Dangerous and cancer-causing properties of products
and chemicals in the oil refining and petrochemical industry. VIII.
Health effects of motor fuels: carcinogenicity of gasoline--scientific
update". Environ Res. 59(1):238-49 (1992).
2. Landrigan PJ. "Critical assessment of epidemiologic studies on the
human carcinogenicity of 1,3-butadiene". Environ Health Perspect.
86:143-7 (1990).
3. Arce GT, Vincent DR, Cunningham MJ, Choy WN, Sarrif AM. "In Vitro
and In Vivo Genotoxicity of 1,3-Butadiene and Metabolites". Environ
Health Perspect. 86:75-78 (1990).
4. Melnick RL, Huff J, Bird MG, Acquavella JF. "1,3-Butadiene:
toxicity and carcinogenicity in laboratory animals and in humans".
Environ Health Perspect. 86:3-5 (1990).
5. Morrissey RE, Schwetz P, Sikov MR, Hardin BD, McClanahan BJ, Decker
JR, Mast TJ. "Overview of Reproductive and Developmental Toxicity
Studies of 1,3-Butandiene in Rodents". Environ Health Perspect.
86:79-84 (1990).

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Old 07-09-2003, 05:02 AM
Tom Jaszewski
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Default Final Report - The Grand Tire-Gardening Experiment (LONG!!)

On Sat, 06 Sep 2003 10:03:15 -0400, Pat Meadows

But the research I've been able to find does not worry me
particularly, especially in view of the fact that tires used
for planters are not ground, but intact (except for the
sidewalls having already been cut off - but this doesn't
make the tire crumble or dissolve).

Thanks Pat, as usual you are very thoughtful. There are enough
unknowns for me to be anywhere near as comfortable as you are. I see a
lack of research, and that absence continues to concern me. I'm not
ready to experiment with my food grown in tires. I only eat certified
organic....and tire grown wouldn't pass....
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Old 08-09-2003, 03:04 AM
Phaedrine Stonebridge
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Default Final Report - The Grand Tire-Gardening Experiment (LONG!!)

In article ,
Pat Meadows wrote:

Final Report - The Grand Tire-Gardening Experiment

A truly awesome report, Pat. Thanks so much for sharing all that
valuable information!

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