The Q&A Archives: Using Tires as Pots

Question: I've read that it is not recommended to reuse old tractor and automobile tires for raised beds and pots for vegetables because there is a compound in the tires that leaches into the soil and is absorbed into the plants, posing a health hazard. Is this true? I have a friend who wants to use old tractor tires to grow tomatoes. I myself had old tires around my little apple trees as water wells until I read that they were a health hazard and I took them off. Is it still not a good idea to use tires in the garden?

Answer: I too have heard that old tires leach out cadmium and other heavy metals which aren't good for plants. So, with that in mind I would stay away from planting vegetables in them and use other techniques such as black plastic to heat the soil. By the way, the heavy metals tend not to be taken up by the roots of plants, but are a bigger risk being on the leaves of edibles such as lettuce..

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