Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Organic Gardening guru Jim Kennards latest Blog posts

You Must Do! Not Just Teach.
1 day ago

The Mittleider Method is a recipe for highly successful vegetable gardens, using true growing principles and procedures. When a person follows the recipe carefully and completely they have wonderful success, in any soil and in virtually any climate. I am privileged to know and have experience applying these principles and procedures, but once in a while I forget to apply them completely. After growing some beautiful cabbage and broccoli plants in the protected greenhouse I hardened off some of the cabbage and planted them into our garden. No-one else in this area is planting their cabbage into the garden yet, and the serious growers' plants are typically only on their first set of true leaves - still two or three weeks from the garden. I know from experience that planting them in raised beds, and then covering them with small arches and plastic, can get them through most frosts and even snow and hail. However, sadly I neglected to cover my cabbage, and two hail storms and freezing temperatures have just about finished them off! Then I brought the broccoli outside onto tables to begin hardening it off and went to Church on Sunday. What looked like a nice day at 12:00 noon turned into a terrible day within 2 hours, and a savage hail storm shredded my beautiful broccoli plants. Sob! I have re-learned the lesson that you cannot expect favors from the elements, but must always protect your plants if you are going to extend your growing season successfully. I just hope our students learn from my mistakes and do a better job than I have done this spring.

Previous Project in Madagascar - Student Update
4 days ago

I have been so gratified to receive several email messages from my translator in the Madagascar training project I conducted 3 1/2 years ago! While she has no way of finding out about most of the students' successes, Manda has told me about several who are still diligently applying the principles and procedures learned when I was their teacher. Eulalie is a woman who gave up her comfortable living in France to rescue her family farm from squatters and care for a brother. She was great when we were there, and learned the materials well, even though she missed many classes because of work. She would quiz other students and study their notes, as well as the written materials, and she always passed the quizzes and tests I gave. She continues to use the Mittleider Method of growing, and is teaching the villagers (for whom she built a dam and piped the spring water to the village). Others Manda named include Fidi, who was highly proficient at growing tomatoes, and Alain, who just received a $900 grant from the government to buy fertilizers for 5 hectares he's growing this year. Nine hundred dollars is a LOT of money in that country, and really demonstrates great confidence by the government in Alain's growing abilities. Alain is one who, immediately after our class ended, began to assist village families in an impoverished village some distance from Antananarivo (the Capital city). I pray the Armenian students experience the same level of success! They are very intelligent, experienced, motivated, and hard-working, so I'm confident we'll be hearing from them in years to come.


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