Monday, January 10, 2011

Plantin' Taters

I've wanted to plant potatoes for the last year or so but didn't want to sacrifice any of my vegetable garden space to do it. Well, I found a great way around that!

This year I'm going to grow my potatoes in old tires!

It all starts with "potato seed" which is not actually seeds, but sprouted potatoes. I would suggest getting real seed potatoes and not using potatoes from the store. Store bought potatoes are sprayed with a chemical to prevent sprouting (not that that ever prevented them from sprouting in MY pantry!)

Next come the tires. Tires can be had for FREE! They're everywhere! Just go to a gas station or tire service store and they'll practically load them in your car for you to keep from having to pay the disposal fee for them. Make sure you give them a good washing when you get them home.
You are probably wondering, like me, if tires are safe for growing food. From the research I've done, the answer is yes. Chemically speaking, tires are crazy stable! They do not break down which is why they are such a problem in landfills and such. They will not leach chemicals into your soil, except for zinc, which is a necessary mineral anyway. I feel completely and totally fine with growing our potatoes this way (YMMV~no pun intended!).

Place a tire on the ground and fill with hay, dried leaves, and dirt (I used compost from our bin-FREE!) and place 4-5 seed potatoes in the mix. Cover with more leaves and dirt to make the tire level. In a few weeks you'll see sprouts! When the plants get to be 8 inches above the soil, place another tire on top and fill with dirt until just the top of the plants are showing.

And when that sprout reaches 8 inches above the soil, repeat the process until you have 4 or 5 tires stacked. That's it! During late summer the plants will die back and that is your signal to un-stack the tires and collect your harvest.

You can harvest them all at once or you can just remove one tire at a time and use them only as you need them.

I am very excited to see how this works over the summer and very excited about the possibilities of growing other vegetables this way.

Now, if I can just keep the boys from climbing on the tires....

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