Grow Tomatoes in an Old Tire

Plump, beautiful, red-ripe tomatoes needn't be grown in a cold frame or greenhouse. You can use an old rubber tire instead.


| July/August 1976



tomatoes

An old rubber tire will insulate, protect and trellis your tomato plants.


PHOTO: FOTOLIA/FOTOSENMEER.NL

You don't need an expensive cold frame or greenhouse in which to grow plump, beautiful red-ripe tomatoes . . . over an extended season. All you really need—says Randy Sutton—are a few worn-out old tires and some throwaway plastic clothes bags!

Getting a handle on the art of growing tomatoes can be pretty difficult when you have to contend with wind, rain, or a cool climate . . . and up here in Oregon's coastal rain forest, we receive our share of all three.

Our neighbors, however, have devised a method for successfully growing tomatoes in just such conditions. What they do is use old rubber tires—obtained free from service stations—and leftover plastic film (such as dry cleaners put around clothes) to make a combination greenhouse/wind protector that virtually ensures a bumper crop every year. Here's their exact procedure:

First, in a sunny location, lay out one tire for each plant you want to grow. Then, using a stick, scratch a line around it in the dirt. Remove the tire and till compost or fertilizer deeply into the soil inside the circle.

Next, scoop out a shallow tire-shaped depression (a couple of inches deep) in the ground that you've tilled and fertilized. Plant two or three seeds a half-inch deep in the center of the circle. (If you're transplanting seedlings, bury them up to the first set of leaves . . . this'll permit each plant to send out feeder rootlets from its stem.)

I might point out that weeds dearly love this gardening system too, and that—for this reason—you'd do well to mulch around your seeded area with cut-up inner tubes, wood chips, tar paper, straw, or whatever mulching materials you can scrounge for free.





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