For those with little yard space who want to grow vegetables, an old tractor tire is ideal for planting and growing any vegetable which grows above ground, such as tomatoes, peppers or broccoli.
Check with a tire dealer, farm tractor dealer or a junkyard for used tractor tires.
Very carefully using a utility knife, cut the side wall from the inner upper side of the tire. This is just to simply have more room for your plants. It is not necessary to do this to the bottom side.
Be sure to choose a spot in your yard that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight each day. Vegetable plants love the sun! You could even place your tractor tire on your deck or patio.
One week before planting, put a sheet of black plastic under your tire. Then on top of the plastic add a couple inches of manure. On top of the manure, fill the tire with soil. The combination of plastic and manure will cause the temperature of the soil to rise 2 or 3 degrees. The warmer the soil, the better the plant growth.
Ok, one week has passed and now the fun begins!
Here are tips for planting tomato, pepper and broccoli plants.
Tomato plants: (yes, I know tomatoes are really fruit, but let’s pretend)
Dig a hole deep enough to insert the plant in the soil up to it’s leaves. Each plant should be about 2 feet from one another. You can — or not — use plant cages. Keep the soil moist, not soaked by watering regularly. As the plants grow, cut off any leaves that begin to yellow. Wait until your tomatoes are ripe before you pick them off the vine.
Important to note: Unless you really want your tomatoes to taste like the run-of-the-mill grocery store ones, do not refrigerate them. They begin to loose some of that great flavor when kept in temperatures below 55 degrees F.
Pepper plants: (ok, another fruit)
Dig a hole about 4 inches deep for each pepper plant. Space them about 2 feet from one another. Be sure to water the plants often to keep them from wilting, as wilting reduces the yield and quality of the peppers. After the first peppers are picked, add about 2 to 3 tablespoons of fertilizer in the soil, but not closer to six inches from any of your plants; water.
Broccoli: (finally a true vegetable)
These plants appreciate the addition of calcium and magnesium added to their soil. Transplant your broccoli plants about 14 or 15 inches apart from one another. Keep the soil moist by watering regularly. A plus with growing broccoli is that these plants are able to tolerate cooler temperatures and aren’t threatened by a late spring frost. Harvest when the broccoli heads are firm, cutting down on the stalk about 6 inches. This will encourage new growth, providing more smaller broccoli heads during the growing season.
These are just a few ideas for your tractor tire vegetable garden. But it doesn’t have to be vegetables or even a tractor tire. Consider a smaller tire for an herb or flower garden.