Thursday, February 09, 2006

Organic gardening plant pruning question

Organic gardening question

Your goal when growing seedlings is to make them as strong and
sturdy as possible, and do it as quickly as possible.

Excellent instructions for growing healthy seedlings are contained
in Let's Grow Tomatoes pages 51-53 and Grow-Bed Gardening pages 86-
92, and Grow-Bed Gardening has many pictures illustrating the

Regrettably, both these books are temporarily not available in hard
copy, as we have sold out the most recent editions. We hope to soon
have them both available for download on the website. Both books
are contained in the Gardening Library CD, which I highly recommend.

Meanwhile, here is what Let's Grow Tomatoes says about pruning
leaves to keep the plant stems from becoming spindly, with
parenthetical comments added by me:

"When the leaves begin to overlap the leaves of other plants, the
experienced grower who insists on thick-stem plants prunes off the
leaves which overlap (meaning carefully pinch them off with your
finger and thumb). Pruning off the leaves increases the light
around the plant stems, and does not stop the growing tip from
growing (NEVER take off the growing tip, and always leave 2 or 3
leaves! You can even take off a partial leaf.). Pruning off the
leaves temporarily stops the upward growth of the plants, and
encourages the stems to thicken, which is what the grower desires.

"During this temporary period of reduced growth in the plant, the
grower has two choices:
1. to wait 7 to 10 days for new leaves to grow and overlap again and
pinch as before,
2. or, he can shift the plants into larger pots or gallon-size

"In the first choice the leaves must be pruned off again at the
proper time to keep the plants from getting spindly (because the
stems quickly become tall, thin, and weak as the plant stretches
looking for light), using the same procedure as explained earlier.

"In the second choice, shifting the plants into larger containers
provides more space between plants, delays pruning until a later
date, and encourages the stems to thicken - due to increased light
and circulation around the stems.

"If, therefore, space is available in the seedhouse to accommodate
larger containers, it is recommended that the plants be shifted from
the smaller pots into 4-inch pots or gallon containers before they
are pruned the second time."

After 2 prunings, it is recommended that the pots be physically
separated to provide light to each plant, rather than continuing to

Jim Kennard

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Container gardening question how much of Pre-Plant Mix and Weekly Feed to use

Growing Vegetables in Containers – Fertilizers to Use

Question: I have a number of friends who live in apartments, etc., and the only way for them to garden is in containers. Has the FFE foundation worked out the math for how much of Pre-Plant Mix and Weekly Feed to use in say, 5, 10 and 15 gallon planter pots, etc.? Lettuce, carrots, beets, bush beans, zucchini and many others have done well for quite a few.

Answer: Here are suggested amounts to use if you are growing vegetables in pots:

5 gallon pot - 1 1/2 ounces Pre-Plant and 3/4 ounces Weekly Feed;

10 gallon pot - 3 ounces Pre-Plant and 1 1/2 ounces Weekly Feed;

15 gallon pot 4 1/2 ounces Pre-Plant and 2 1/4 ounces Weekly Feed. And etc.

Application should be as follows: The above amounts should be mixed with the soil mix before planting your seeds or seedlings. Thereafter, as soon as seeds are up, or after 3 days for seedlings, begin using Weekly Feed every 7 days until 3 weeks before harvest.

Tframe gardening question answered by the founder of the Food For Everyone Foundation

Question: The Mittleider Gardening Course has a chapter that includes directions for T-frames. Do I assume that there is one T at the end of each 30 foot row? Without any experience using this method it seems there would be sagging of the support wires under the weight of a heavy crop of tomatoes or melons

Answer: You're learning to grow tomatoes the way "the big boys" do it! And if you do it right, your yield will blow you (and your neighbors)


Your question was good, you need one T- Frame every 10 feet maximum. Then you can use heavy-gauge wire, galvanized steel pipe (1/2" is adequate) or even 2 X 4's on edge - between the t-Frames.

If you want to build a frame strong enough to support a plastic

covering in early spring and late fall, I recommend the 2 x 4's.

Then arch PVC on top using 45 degree slip fittings, and hang 6 mil

plastic over the entire structure for the world's least expensive


Please donate to the Food for Everyone Foundation



Armenia Training Center - 2006
Create a Family Food Production Training Center & Train Village Leaders in Productive Sustainable Gardening

We have arranged for the long-term use of a training facility plus 3 acres (1+hectare) in Getk, Armenia, near the Turkish border, and just 4 miles from the center of Gyumri, the second-largest city in the country. We will teach and demonstrate the Mittleider Method of family-based vegetable gardening.

We have constructed a large seedling greenhouse, and are prepared to train 20-30 leaders from several villages in the best principles and procedures for sustainable vegetable gardening.

The best principles of commercial gardening, hydroponic gardening, container gardening, organic gardening, and traditional gardening have been combined, condensed, and adapted to the needs of the poor family farmer, allowing him to compete with the best, but with very little financial investment.

The training will include 2 hours in the classroom and 5 hours in the greenhouse/garden 4 days each week for 10 weeks, plus Friday and Saturday of each week in students' own gardens to replicate what they've learned in the model garden.

At the end of ten weeks, an additional 10 weeks will be devoted to assisting village leaders teach and implement these procedures in the gardens of approximately 200 other villagers.

We hope to provide "Pay-it Forward" loans to our students sufficient to include transportation, food and lodging, training materials, tools, seeds, fertilizers, cold-frames for their own seedling production, and T-Frames to grow their vegetables vertically.

The cost for each student will be $860 per student, and your participation and financial assistance is urgently needed, to assure our success in helping these deserving families get out of the poverty in which they've been stuck because of ignorance and lack of opportunity.

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the extent you are able.

Remember that these students are leaders, and each one will train and assist 25 others, so that our efforts will be greatly multiplied - ultimately helping many, many people to become self-sufficient in their food production.

Even small contributions will make an important difference. Here's what you can accomplish:

$25.00 - - - - - - - Seeds for one family garden

$25.00 - - - - - - - Gardening tools for one student

$35.00 - - - - - - - Training materials for one student

$40.00 - - - - - - - Weekly transportation for one student for 10 weeks

$60.00 - - - - - - - T-Frames for one student to grow 500 plants - to produce 6,000#

$75.00 - - - - - - - Cold-Frame to grow 2,000 seedlings - 3 times per growing season

$100.00 - - - - - - Fertilizers for one student family garden

$200.00 - - - - - - Food for one student for 40 days

$300.00 - - - - - - Lodging for one student for 10 weeks - 4 nights per week

Please keep in mind that each of these students will be a Master Mittleider Gardener, competent in greenhouse seedling production, capable of growing a commercial-sized garden, and able to assist and instruct many others in growing their own home gardens These men and women will be committed to "PAY IT FORWARD" and lead their communities out of poverty and into prosperity and self-sucfficiency!

We look forward to your participation! To donate click here, and God bless you!
Current Projects
Armenia Training Center - 2006
Previous Projects
Armenia - 2005
Madagascar Training Facility
Monument Valley
Papua, New Guinea
Okinawa, Japan
Zimbabwe, Africa
Moscow, Russia

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