Stacked Tire Worm and Potato Farm Combo

africanJune 10, 2009

In the past I grew potatoes in a stack of small used car tires. You plant the sprouting potatoes into the bottom tire ring in a compost/soil mix. As the sprouts grow, you put tire number two on top of tire one and add more of your soil/compost mix. When the sprouts get though that layer, add the next and so on, up to five tires high. Then with the help of levers (or strong friends) you pull out the bottom tire and harvest your potatoes. The loose tire goes back on top - and so on. World without end, amen!

Why not combine this with a stacked tire worm farm, to provide the nutriment, as described in the referred article and you have a beautiful eco-system where one farm feeds the other - and you!

Here is a link that might be useful: Stacked Tire Worm Farm

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That sounds like a neat idea, as long as you use worms that will survive in the soil. But, the thoughts of having to remove the bottom tire sure makes my back hurt!!! ;>)


    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 12:04PM
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You have two tire stacks - one with soil in it for the potatoes. The other is a stacked tire worm farm, that has no soil in it. You simply remove the worm castings from the worm farm and add the vermicompost to the potato farm to keep up the fertility

The stacked tire worm farm works on the same principle as your "designer" stacked bin system. This kind of worm farm is an old country tradition and has been used for years as the cheapest possible worm farm - but it's damned ugly!

Here is a link that might be useful: Traditional Worm farming

    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 3:14AM
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Heck, I wouldn't give a rat's hiney whether it was ugly or not... just as long as it worked!! My back is in bad enough shape that I can't use the typical stacked bin system. I have to use the single bin, harvest when ready, and start all over method. I use an 18 gallon Sterilite bins. And, it works rather well for me. But, if my back was in much better condition, I'd give the stacked tires potato deal a whirl... and real quick!! It sounds to me like harvest time would be much easier than the old fashioned way is... digging them up with a tater fork!!


    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 12:36AM
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Sounds like removing the bottom tire would take some finesse. How do you pry the bottom tire out without the stack falling over? How many tires are we talking about here?

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 2:04AM
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I've not heard of the tire method of growing potatoes for continues harvest, but I have heard of it used for larger harvest. It's entirely too inconvenient over using wood layers you can just unscrew. Of course, if you live in a very poor area where lumber is less available than used tires, then you make do I guess. I have potato boxes going. I only went a couple feet high (three layers, but the starts were placed in the ground below the first layer).

If you want a continual harvest, just stagger plantings in smaller stacks or use 5 gallon buckets or trash cans. Start the poatoes indoors if you are in the cold. Also start a separate stack for that you just keep stacking on top of so that you have a huge harvest at the end of the season. Potatoes store well.

Most people that I know of that do potato stacks/bins/boxes try to avoid the tires for several reasons. They pool water rather than drain it in the edges. They don't allow much aeration at all. They hold lots of heat. The toxicity issue has yet to be studied on this method as far as I know, but shredded tires for playgrounds and such have been and there is a concern over exposure of several chemicals that are present due to dust as the rubber breaks down. One of these chemicals causes gastrointestinal problems amongst other things. Don't think I want that in my potatoes, personally. Tires have been shown to leach selenium, lead, cadmium, and zinc, too. I imagine the combination of heat, black surface, and moist soil on the inside would increase the instance of leached chemicals. If you use them for worms, the castings would likewise be contaminated, right?

Maybe tires are completely safe. I just don't think there is any reason at all to take unnecessary risks when there are so many other ways to make a makeshift container for worms or potatoes. Not to mention of all makeshift containers, tires would seem to prove the most inconvenient and unwieldy.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 8:10AM
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It's funny, Science always seems to prove that whatever you put in your mouth will eventually kill you - if you don't die of starvation first.

In Africa used tires cost nothing, and are used for making shoes, seats, swings and children's toys etc. Timber and metal sheeting in any lengths are a much sought after building material and are always in great demand for constructing housing (shanties). To work with timber you need saws, hammers and nails.
I don't think that the small amount of water that gets trapped at the edges is very significant. Anyway you would put wooden spacer's between the tires to make small gaps for air and drainage and would put the stack in a shady place to keep it cool - if necessary cover it with a cloth or a bit of thatch.

Removing the bottom tire is easily done with two short timber planks or poles, a few cement building blocks (or similar sized rocks) and a crowbar or wooden lever. You first place four blocks at equal positions around the tyre stack. Push the crowbar into the gap you've left between tires, put another block under it for a fulchrum and then lever up one side of the stack to a couple of inches above the lowest tire. Then slip in one of your planks over the two nearest blocks and through the gap between tires to make a supporting bridge, when you lower the lever. Go around the stack and repeat the process with the other plank. Now that you have the upper part of the stack standing free of the lower tire on the bridging planks, you can easily pull the tire out. You then repeat the procedure in reverse, lowering the the stack back onto the ground and you empty the retrieved tire and re load it onto the top of the stack. The whole process takes but a few minutes, although, if the tires are big, lowering the stack might be a two stage process

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 1:37PM
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I agree that it seems everything is bad for you and people go overboard, but I must point out that scientific research has also saved a lot of people and helped to keep bad stuff off the market so that unsuspecting regular people aren't put in compromising positions.

For example: Lead in paint (particularly chips and dust) has proven to increase the incidence of illness, birth defects, and learning disability. Now it's not in use here. Another example is asbestos. The fact is that many lives have been ruined or even ended by ignorance of real danger of exposure to chemicals and heavy metals in things we often do or have thought of as perfectly safe.

To me, it's just common sense. Tires break down. Faster in the sun. Break down causes release of the materials. If you know that the materials in the product are toxic, common sense should tell you it could be and likely is bad for you. Wearing and playing with this product is a far cry different from actually eating its makeup. The fact is that tires are not made for anything resembling food production. Unfortunately, no good studies have been performed because there is not usually funding for using products for something other than their intended use. Plus, the studies concerning effects on people take a long time. Years.

I understand you are saying this is a method for those fighting starvation. . . now. Of course, you made no indication of this in the previous postings that I noticed. If you don't have a choice, you don't have a choice. I'd distill water from urine if it became necessary, but you won't see me doing it if I have a choice not to. Your thread here is based on a question. You asked "Why not combine this with a stacked tire worm farm, to provide the nutriment, as described in the referred article and you have a beautiful eco-system where one farm feeds the other - and you" I'm just answering the question of why not.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 5:28PM
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Sorry, I meant to mention that the tires also pick up a ton of toxins during intended use on roadways. The toxins I mentioned are from the original makeup. Didn't even touch the fact that they absorb lots of stuff in use as a car component, too. Washing them with a hose doesn't cut it.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 5:37PM
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