Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Plant Vegetables in Tires

stack of old tires image by JoLin from

If your garden space is limited or you don’t have workable ground to plant in, try your hand at planting vegetables in tires. Much like container gardening, growing in tires keeps soil contained, warm, and decreases time spent weeding. You can plant any vegetables in tires that you would plant in containers including tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, onions, peppers, spinach and even potatoes. Typically you’ll want to use one to three tires stacked on top of each other to allow enough growing room for your plants’ roots.

Cut out the sidewall of the tires with a sharp utility knife to expand the growing space.

Set the first tire down on bare ground, or, if you’re working on a balcony or roof top garden, spread an unfolded garbage bag out on the floor and place the first tire over it.

Fill your bottom tire with potting soil. If you are planting lettuce, spinach or onions, proceed to Step 4. If you will be planting carrots, peppers, zucchini or squash, place a second tire over the first and fill with soil. Repeat with a third tire if you plan to grow tomatoes, cucumbers, gourds or melons.

Plant your vegetable seeds or seedlings into the soil in the center of the tire. Lightly cover seeds and firm the soil around seedlings. If your vegetables will require support stakes or tomato cages, add them now.

Water your seeds and seedlings to dampen the soil all around without soaking the soil. Check the moisture of the soil every few days with your finger. Water to dampen anytime the soil is dry 1 inch under the surface.


If growing potatoes, start with two tires high and plant your seed potato into the center. As the potato grows eight inches tall, carefully add another tire and fill the new tire with soil over the majority of the plant. You can continue to add tires up to seven tires high. Harvest after the plant dies back naturally by removing one tire at a time and collecting the potatoes all the way down.

You can start a garden earlier in the season by planting into your tires like normal, then placing another tire over the planted ones. Lay an old window over the top tire to create small greenhouse.


Treat your plants with an edible-safe pesticide or fungicide as needed as soon as you notice a problem with insects or disease.

Garden Guides