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Monday, February 8, 2010

Potatoes and old tires... awesome recycling idea!

If you have ever grown potatoes, you know how they like to grow up.


But did you know that growing them in old tires is the way to go for containing your potatoes as well as getting the maximum growth and potatoes for the year!

Picking your potato is the first step. I personally like the little Alaska Red which is a small to medium sized red potato which is sprung from a Red Beauty and Alaska Russets for their small firm body and golden colors. They are both good if there is a frost and do well in even chilly or cool summers.

Now, on to the tires and what to do when you acquire them. You can get these for free in most cases, such as posting on craigslist or another free website asking for bald tires. Do not pay for them if you do not have too. I would recommend at least 10 tires; there is a method to my madness.

After you receive the tires… pick one side of the tire and take off the wall of the tire. But only cut off one side! Pick a spot in your yard that gets partial sun, good drainage. Take a tire and put it on the ground, cut side down and add some of your soil that you choose to use and put a few potatoes in it. Then stack another tire (cut side down) on top of the first tire, add some soil and let it sit. The reason you do not want to use the whole tires is 1. Water can collect in the rounded part of the tire and rot your potatoes, 2. You can breed insects you never wanted, and 3. It will make life easier for you when you take them apart to harvest them.

When you start seeing the tops of the potatoes coming up, you will need to have at least 4-6 inches of growth. You will then take another cut tires, stack with the cut side down on top and add soil. You will need to keep doing this throughout the summer. Adding the tires to the new top growth of the potatoes will actually MAKE the growth sprout, and sprout MORE potatoes!

When I finally decide to pull the potatoes, it is or can be anywhere from late August to the beginning of October. Make sure to pull your potatoes BEFORE a big freeze or you are going to be working your buns off. Frost resistant types work best for Alaska… but I also say experiment.

My easy way of working potatoes. You can have as many “stacks” as you would like but I do not recommend that you go over 5 tires a stack. Be careful with child concerning these stacks as you know how they like to climb on things. And when you pull the tires off, throw the dirt in a corner with some lime, fertilizer and other goodies to use again. Do not use the same soil more then 3 times on your potato stacks and transfer what soil you have into your garden.

2 comments:

Gen-IL Homesteader said...

Great post! I wouldn't have thought about removing half of the tire, but it makes much more sense. Last year I did potatoes in buckets, adding soil as they grew. It was definitely easy that way.

Anonymous said...

Saw another site where they recommended cutting off both sides of the tire. Thoughts?

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