Irish Potato – Planting in Tires

Q: I have heard of planting Irish potatoes in a stack of tires, starting with one and adding more as needed. You fill it with straw or dirt of some sort. Can you give me a better description?

A: Sure I can! Dr. Wayne McLaurin, University of Georgia vegetable specialist demonstrated it for me a few years ago. First, gather four old automobile tires.

Deeply dig a two foot by two foot area; mixing in a quarter-cup of 6-12-12 or 5-10-15 fertilizer. Place a tire on its side over the area. Cut a certified disease-free Irish potato into four pieces and press them shallowly into the soil. Fill the tire with damp, rotted hay or rotten leaves mixed with planting soil.

When potato foliage emerges a few inches above the tire rim, add another tire and fill it with more rotted material. Continue thusly until late June, when you can knock over the tire pile and count your harvest. Be sure to water regularly – the tires really heat up in bright sunshine.

BTW: if you don’t have old tires you can make a three foot wide tube of chicken wire three feet tall and grow the potatoes in that.

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