Growing Potatoes in Tyres

by Annette Welsford No Comments
Potatoes growing in Tyres
Potatoes growing in tyres

Just when you thought it would be impossible to grow potatoes in your own backyard, someone tells you about the ingenious – although no longer new – idea of growing potatoes in old car tyres. What could be more sustainable than this? You get to find a use for what would probably otherwise become landfill, and you get to grow veggies for your family to eat and enjoy.
While you won't get anything near a commercial crop out of a few tyres, who cares? You'll get a fair number of potatoes and they'll be home-grown. You don't even need to have a veggie garden to grow potatoes this way.

First step is to find some old tyres. That's not usually difficult and shouldn't cost you a cent. Aim for four tyres for each batch of potatoes – three to four plants.

The second step is to find a suitable site to grow your potatoes. The most important factor is that it should be sunny. There should also be good drainage under the tyres. So don't plonk them on a concrete slab.

Then get yourself some disease-free potatoes to grow. You will find these at most good nurseries, generally cut so that two eyes are left in place. You can, of course, use supermarket potatoes that have developed eyes and sprouted but the success rate will be less. Still, if you are doing this as an experiment, on a budget or to show the kids how easy it is to grow potatoes, try that route first. 

Now you need soil and it should be good quality, clean and fertile stuff that your potatoes need to thrive in. If you are in any doubt, rather than digging out existing soil from your garden, invest a few dollars in some potting soil. Mix in a little fertiliser too.

Fill the tyre with soil and plant your first few (three or four) potato "seeds". All you do is dig little holes that are about 100 mm deep and place the potatoes into the holes, eyes facing upwards. Cover the potatoes and water well.

Once the potato plants are between 200 mm and 350 mm high (that's about eight to fourteen inches), add another tyre on top and fill that with soil. Keep watering regularly so that the plant grows through the new soil.

Repeat this process until you have a stack of four tyres.

Generally, once you see little flowers blossoming, you can dig into the tyre stack and harvest your first new potatoes. Just don't dig them all out. Leave some to carry on growing into nice, big potatoes that you can bake in the oven and stuff with tasty treats.