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How To Grow Potatoes in Old Tires

The biggest issue about our immediate future, which I am getting from the news  March 3, 2022, is about lack of grain production because of this Russia/Ukraine war. We must grow as much food as we can to make up for the difference. You can plant potatoes in tires stacked and filled with earth. Pour earth into one, plant it, then stack on another tire, plant it and continue 3 or 4 tires high. Potatoes are very healthy food, and provide the complex carbohydrates and calories we need. 

This is the easy way to have potatoes growing even if you have very little space for planting and can’t stand the work of bending to the earth to harvest them. You can grow potatoes very easily using old tires as planters. The method is simple, see the photos and especially look at the chart to understand.

Grow Potatoes in Tires

See how easy?

Your potatoes will be ready to harvest when the tops of the plants begin to die. To harvest your potatoes, remove the tires. Not only will you have a bunch of good topsoil, but you will also have a whole bunch of delicious. home-grown potatoes.

This is a great alternative to the traditional way of raising potatoes in rows and best for any confined space. Growing potatoes in tires is not expensive, fun for the family, and it’s good for our mother earth. As you continue planting and raising, you produce more compost and topsoil, and make your earth healthier for yielding more potatoes and other vegetables.

The news I read and see indicates we’ll have a lack of wheat and corn, and other grains. This is a very serious issue no matter where you live. We need COMPLEX carbohydrates in the form of vegetable matter. (SIMPLE carbohydrates are white flour, white rice and the simplest is actually a drug. It’s white table sugar! That stuff eventually will kill you.) 

In my kitchen I mix about 20% brown rice with 80% white rice for flavor, texture and to have more fibre. Add a Knorr Chicken Broth Cube to the water, stir to help it melt, stir it into the water completely, add the washed rice, stir again, cover and lower the light. Do this for a week and see if you feel better. I think you will!

Back to Potatoes….

Step 1: Placing the tires can be done on an small patio, garden area, or even a balcony.

Potatoes might get disease or rot if they get water-logged so have good drainage below the tires.

A bed of rocks under the tires works best. If on a balcony, I’d try strips of 1″ x  2″ wood. Lay those down about 4 – 6 inches apart and place tires on them. 

If you can tolerate the tires being old and black, they’ll absorb more heat. The warmer earth and warm water encourages more plant growth. No matter what you do with them, they won’t be very decorative…. but they make excellent planters and you might get the old used tires from a repair shop free of charge.

Step 2: Tater-tire

  • Choose a sunny spot in your yard, garden or on a patio or balcony.
  • Stack two or three tires and fill them with damp earth and compost to just over half the depth of the stacked tires.
  • Then place 4 or 5 seed potatoes in the stack, about 2 inches deep, with the eyes or shoots facing up.
  • Cover with a couple of inches of soil and don`t forget to water

Step 3: Grow Chart  STUDY THIS CHART CAREFULLY and you’ll get the full understanding.

study this to visualize the 3 steps  Planted                          growing and adding more soil                        plants rising, potatoes awaiting harvest

As the plants grow to about 2 to 4 inches, add another tire to the stack.
Add more soil around the young plants as well to support them.
Continue mounding up the soil around the emerging plants until your stack is 3 tires high.
Young potatoes will be forming all the way up the stack of tires

Your potatoes will thrive in the warm environment of soil filled tires.

In most areas of the U.S. early potatoes can be planted at the end of March. Your main potato crop can be planted in April or early May.

If conditions are right, you will see healthy potato plants growing after about 6 weeks. You will be able to harvest early, “new” potatoes when the flowers on your potato plants have opened or their buds have fallen off.

Dig around in the soil and check for size. The young potatoes should be about the size of a hen’s egg. Wait to harvest your main crop of potatoes until the potato plant foliage has turned brown. Then cut off the foliage leaving  the stems, wait a few days and pull up the plant with potatoes attached, or dig down and lift the potatoes out and into the washing bucket.

Potatoes should be grown UNDER the top of the soil. If you are growing potatoes exposed to sunlight, they may develop a green skin and can cause stomach sickness. Be sure the top tire potato plants are growing as leaves and stem are rising.  Add enough soil to cover the potatoes well so they don’t get direct sun on their skin.

The potatoes should come out of the soil looking like the top photo. If they’re green, you might be able to wash, peel and eat them, but test by eating just a little piece. If it bothers your stomach, throw it away.

When they’re grown and look right for eating, scrub with a brush and a bucket of water. Save your top soil. Start the process over again.

I have heard of some gardeners stacking the tires higher than 3 deep. You might try adding a 4th tire, and see how it goes for you. If you have the space for it, and warm weather all year, plant a stack every month, and harvest each month. Potatoes make for good dining, and they provide excellent nutrition.

If you’re inclined to sell potatoes this is an efficient way to do it, and an honorable work for your community.


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