To the Editor:
I read in the article, Garden Spaces For Small Places, By Dorothy Ainsworth, about making used tires into small beds for vegetables or flowers.
The only problem is that mulch made from shredded tires leaches chemicals into the soil. A study in an organic gardening magazine mentioned zinc in particular, and suggested that other heavy metals might also be found in quantity.
It would seem to me, that the only difference between tires, and mulch from tires, is the increase in surface area. Shredded tires would leach faster than whole ones. Still, how much faster? Better safe than sorry.
Thank you for your time,
I googled: “Are tires safe for gardening?” and found mostly positive answers and why.
Shredded tires for mulch DO have tremendously more surface area for leaching, so I would NOT recommend that, but whole tires are chemically stable. They have been run at high speeds and the inner surface has oxidized so the surface molecules have formed a seal. If worried, a person can always line the tire with gardening plastic.
I personally am not worried at all, especially for short term use, but to assuage any trepidation, simply google the same question I googled and read the answers. Many of the answers are from scientists and they aren’t worried either about the use of whole tires.
The main culprit
would be zinc but in whole tires it doesn’t leach out fast enough to do any harm according to most of the reports I read. One report said the plant will only take up what zinc it needs and that’s it. Our bodies use zinc, so it’s not like a toxic poison, unless we overdose, but that goes for ANY vitamin or mineral.
True, it IS better to be safe than sorry, and Ben Homer’s question was a good one, but by doing some extra research I still feel secure in using tires for gardening. But after reading all the reports yourself, you are free to draw your own conclusions and make your own informed decision “to use or not to use” tires.