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Sunday, February 1, 2009

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.


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