The First Thing To Do
There are questions as to whether or not it’s safe to grow food plants in tires; certainly most rubber products will break down over time and could be leaching dangerous chemicals into the ground and thus your plants. For this reason, it is recommended that you line your old tires with plastic sheeting before starting your spuds.
Pick and Prepare Your Place
Potatoes require very good drainage, so once you’ve selected a good place to put your tire planters, put down a layer of rocks or gravel. This will allow your potato plants to drain off excess water and prevent the damage that can happen with too much moisture.
If you plan on painting the outsides of your tires, do so now, before you start planting. A layer of spray paint can liven up your tire planters, and you can even paint pictures or decorative patterns on them!
Put the ‘Taters in the Tires
- Be sure you’ve chosen a sunny spot for your potatoes. Whether in the garden, on the balcony or patio, sunshine is a must.
- Take two or three tires and place them, separately, in your chosen spot.
- After lining with plastic, fill them with dirt and compost. You want the dirt to fill the halfway point of your tire.
- Place a few seed potatoes, four or five of them, in the stack. Put them two inches deep in the dirt, with their shoots or eyes pointing upward.
- Add a couple more inches of dirt and water. Don’t forget to water.
- Once your plants have grown to about four inches tall, add another tire on top of the first one, and add a few inches of dirt. Mound the dirt up to support the plants so they can continue to grow.
Repeat this process until your tower is three or four tires tall. You will have potatoes growing in every layer you’ve created.
Tires are Great for Potatoes
Because they are black, tires absorb heat and keep your potatoes warm, which they like.
When your potato leaves are brown, it’s time to harvest. All you have to do is cut the stems of the plants and then wait a couple of days. You can pull your potatoes out of the tires two or three days after the cutting!