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Gardening: Grow Potatoes in Tire Towers

The picture to the right
was taken in Summer 2008.

See the bushy-ness in the two 3-tire towers? (That bushy plant towards the back is a rhubarb.) Potatoes are relatively easy to plant, and growing them in tire towers takes a lot less room than hilling rows. The other tires were later used for additional tiers, and a couple were moved for the pumpkin patch. But that's another posting!

Here's how to do the potato tire towers:
  • Drop by your local tire repair place (like Big-O Tire) and ask if you can have some of the tires they are throwing out. Be sure to wear gloves, and get some tires that have NOT used fix-a-flat or don't have steel edges showing. VERY important.
  • Pick a location that will give your potatoes lots of full sun. This section of the fence got about 8-10 hours of full sun.
  • Loosen the top layer of the ground, OR if your soil is as bad as ours, cover the ground with mulch-fabric, or cardboard & newspapers.
  • Lay one tire on top of your prepared area (we did one tire for russet potatoes - left, and one tire for red potatoes - right).
  • Line the inside of the tire with newspaper or plastic.
  • Fill entire tire with topsoil or potting soil.
  • Take 4 seed potatoes (per tire tower) and place them 2 inches down into the soil. Water.
    Watch your potato plants. When they are about 8 more inches about the soil, add another tire, and fill it, leaving a couple of inches sticking out. We had to place enough potting soil to fill only half the tire. When the plant grew a few more inches, we added more soil. Water regularly.
  • Continue with the next tire. And a fourth. Remember to leave some of the foliage out of the soil to allow it to catch more rays. Don't go any higher than 4 tires.
  • Dig out 2-3 weeks after the potato plant has flowered. UNLESS you want more matured potatoes... then you wait until the foliage is dead then dig them up. You can do a tire at a time, if you'd like.

Very easy and a good way to conserve space.


Aaron Thorne said...

That's a pretty good idea! Not sure I have the sun for it though.

Anonymous said...

For those of you who have access to free or cheap sawdust, you can grow your potatoes in it using this method. Just plant the potatoes in or on the ground, then fill up the tires with the wood product.