How to Grow Potatoes in Tires (3-Step Tutorial)

How to grow potatoes in tires

Tips for Growing Potatoes in Tires

There’s something special about growing your own food. In years past I have loved going out to the garden as I prepare dinner and pick fresh herbs, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, and more!

Personally, I think that garden fresh veggies taste more vibrant and are just fun to grow. So, I decided that I want to try growing potatoes in tires because it looked interesting and my family loves potatoes baked, mashed, as a salad, in a soup, and just about any way that they can be prepared!

Here’s a little bit of information about when to plant your potatoes:

  • Early potatoes can be planted as from the end of March.
  • Maincrop potatoes are usually planted in April, with the latest planting taking place at the beginning of May.

The main thing affecting planting time is frost; potatoes are only half-hardy and any frost will kill off emerging plants.

What you will need:

Step 1: Find tires and get them ready for planting.

I just happened to have a stack of tires from when we changed over the tires on our van, but I have also gone to our local tire store and asked them for their trash tires. They were happy to give me all I needed for free.

After you get your tires, make sure to wash off the tire grime! I used our pressure washer, but you could also use the jet stream on your garden hose. My big kids had a lot of fun running the pressure washer! I came behind them to scrub them down and do a final rinse down before calling it good.

Washing tire grime away before planting potatoes

After I washed the tires I cut away the sidewall so that I would have more growing room. Honestly, this was the hardest part of the whole tire planting process, but it went pretty quick once I figured out a good technique with my utility knife.

IMPORTANT: Please make sure to always handle the knife safely by cutting away from you to prevent cutting fingers or legs. I also slipped on work gloves because after handling the first tire bare-handed they were raw. So, I recommend the gloves! 🙂

Cut tires ready for planting

Step 2: Prepare the ground and tires for planting.

Potatoes love water, but they don’t love sitting in it, so make sure there is drainage below the tire. I chose the spot that I would use for my tire to sit and then cleared away the ground to make it level.

I also removed the weeds, then covered the area with 1-2″ of small river rock. After getting the ground ready I placed the tires where I wanted them then added additional rock to bring it up to the rim of the tire.

Next, fill the tire with soil/potting mix/compost to just over half the depth of the tire. I used a mix of all three in equal amounts, but you can also use straw in the mix in order to prevent the soil from compacting. Loose and airy soil = room for the taters to grow! Now you’re ready to plant!

Growing potatoes in tires

Step 3: Plant, water, and watch your potatoes grow!

To get your potatoes ready, cut the potatoes into about 2-inch cubes with at least one eye per cube. Allow the potato pieces to sit out overnight to scab over which helps to prevent molding and diseases. Here’s a picture of my potato seeds before planting:

Preparing the potatoes for planting

Next, place 4 seed potatoes in the tire equally spaced, with the eye or shoots facing up, and then cover with a couple of inches of soil. Once you have your potatoes covered, keep the soil moist, and in about 6 weeks you will have healthy plants growing!

When the young potato plants are 2 – 3 inches high, add a second tire to the stack and add more soil, almost but not quite covering them. Continue covering the plants with soil until your stack is 2-3 tires high.

Potatoes (tubers) will be forming all the way up the stack of tires. Be cautious in keeping the potatoes covered while they are growing. Exposed potatoes may become toxic, and you don’t want to have to toss out all of the hard work you are doing!Growing potatoes in tires

Conclusion

Enjoy your beautiful harvest of potatoes – I can hardly wait to see how this will turn out! 

 During this process, I stepped back to ask myself whether or not growing potatoes in tires was going to be safe for my family. After doing a lot of reading and researching about the topic, I came to my own conclusion that there is just not enough evidence to suggest that the tires cause harm while growing veggies inside of them. You will have to make that decision for yourself, but I also ran across this and wanted to share how this gardener answered the question in depth.

A few things to remember:

  • GREEN potatoes are poisonousGreen potatoes often contain high levels of a toxin called solanine which occurs when they are exposed to light. It can cause gastrointestinal and/or neurological symptoms upon ingestion. To avoid this, make certain that potatoes are completely covered in dirt throughout the growing season. 
  • Always grow potatoes from seed potatoes which have been certified as virus-free.

If you’re wanting to use something other than a tire, check out this handy planter!

Potato bag

Potato Deck-Patio Planter Bag

Ships Free with Amazon Prime (Try a FREE Membership)

  • Potato deck-patio grow bag planter – perfect for gardening in small areas. You can also move it around from year to year. 
  • Made of flexible polyethylene – Can be stored easily during the winter season.
  • Drainage holes in and around the bottom
  • Measures 18-inch height by 14-inch width

Click to see the price on Amazon

More Gardening Tips:

See all our gardening tips!

Tips for growing potatoes in tires

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