Saturday, April 01, 2006

Amazing example of how effective the Mittleider method is.

I'll describe growing in a 1-acre garden, using raised beds, or Grow-Boxes,
as Dr. Jacob R. Mittleider teaches. Now, please don't get all exercised at
the details and the cost of setting up this operation. Remember, it is "the
poor man's hydroponic system" and most of you would only want to do
something of 5-10% this scale.

Remember also, though, that just one acre of tomatoes grown successfully
using this method - and selling them for just $.50 per pound, would yield
$100,000 per year! Okay, ready for this? Here goes.

One acre (43,560 square feet) will accommodate 312 - 30' rows of tomatoes,
grown in 4' X 30' Grow-Boxes, with 3 1/2' side aisles, 5' end aisles, and 5'
aisles around the perimeter. Planted 9" apart, that's 12,792 tomato plants
(41 per bed).

Growing a large tomato that averages 8 ounces (some varieties actually
average 10-12 ounces), feeding and watering properly, and growing
vertically, each plant should produce 16# of fruit from July through October
in Utah. A good variety will produce a "hand" of 3-7 tomatoes every 5-7" up
a 7' stem in 4 months' production - 4 per hand X 12 hands = 48. 48 X 1/2# =
24. And I will reduce that by 33%, in order to be very conservative.

This amounts to 204,672 pounds of tomatoes - or $102,336 at $.50 per pound.
Who said you couldn't live off the land!

Now there certainly are costs - as there are to any business. 1) Creating
and filling the boxes, 2) making T-Frames, 3) wires or pipes - and baling
twine strings, and 4) automating the watering are the major costs, but these
are one-time capital expenditures, and will be more than recovered in the
first year.

Now, suppose you'd like to increase your yield (remember, I've said
hydroponic growers can grow 275 tons or 550,000# per year on one acre. Of
course, they have huge investments in year-round greenhouses, etc., etc.).
By simply putting an arched PVC roof over each pair of your Grow-Boxes, and
covering them with 6 mil greenhouse plastic, you can lengthen your growing
season by two months, or 50%! Now you're looking at over 300,000# of
tomatoes per acre, and more than half the yield of the expensive hydroponic
growers - but you're growing "in the dirt", because your boxes are open at
the bottom, so your plants get all the natural nutrients available to them
from the soil. And you don't need the greenhouse covering all the time, so
your plants can benefit from direct sunlight as well.

Do you still think these numbers are hard to believe? Just visit a
greenhouse tomato operation and see tomato plants that are 20' and 30'
long - still producing after more than a year!

Several of Dr. Mittleider's books teach tomato production, and I encourage
you to read them. Perhaps - if some are interested - I could provide
pictures of the 320 plants I'm growing on 1200 square feet adjacent to
Utah's Hogle Zoo, in Salt Lake City.


T Frame placement

Grow-Boxes, or even 18"-wide Soil-Beds:
Do not place the T-Frames in the center of the bed or box, but rather place them on the same side the plants are on - but still within the confines of the bed or box.

Treated-lumber 4 X 4's are recommended for T-Frames because they maintain their perpendicular shape and last much longer than 2 X 4's. They should be no further than 10' apart. That is not to say that you can't make frames any way you want, but those of you who've read all the books Dr. Mittleider has written will see that over the years he has experimented with a great many different types and styles of cages, stakes, and frames (as well as box and bed sizes, etc!), and his massive experience - always keeping records as to which method produced the most success - led him to settle on the sizes as described in The MIttleider Gardening Course.

BillSF9 posts also, suggesting 2 X 4's just outside both sides of the box, and that would probably work. However, we like the clean look and feel of a single post inside the box, out of the way, so the frames are not taking up aisle space. Also in response to Bill, we have found that a 4 X 4 is usually stable with only 15" in the ground, since the pressure is all down. That's unless there is a strong side-wind! If that is a likely event, then you may need to buy 10' posts and bury them much deeper, or alternatively, put side braces in to keep the wind from pushing things over when the tomatoes are tall and they become a big sail to catch the wind (I've doen that).

Now, for those of you who want to do T-Frames in 4'-wide Grow-Boxes, if you will build T-Frames with tops 5 1/2" wide, and plant your vining plants at least 9" apart and 4" in from the outside edges of your boxes, all plants will have equal 24" spaces at the top of the T-Frames for light and air. This is 6" less than they receive in Soil-Beds, so you will need to be strict and regular with your pruning.

Place #6 nails at the top edges of your T, with a second nail 1" in. That will hold your first pipe or re-bar. Then move in 24" from the outside edges and place another nail, with a second nail 1" in. Set pipe or rebar and run four sets of strings down to the two rows of plants and tie to wires run at ground level adjacent to the plant stems. This is the safest way to avoid pulling plants out of the ground or choking them from tying too tight.


Growing organic veggies four wide with the Mittleider method

Watering Soil-Beds or Grow-Boxes with 3/4" PVC pipe works well, even for 4
rows of vegi's. Just make sure you are doing the holes right, and placing
the pipe correctly. For those who haven't done this yet, here's how.
Pictorial instructions are on the Garden Master CD and in The Mittleider
Gardening Course at - The Store.

On one end of your pipe, make marks dividing the circle into 4 equal parts.
Two adjacent marks are at 90 degrees. Now make a mark between those two,
and you have the starting points for 3 straight lines down the length of the
pipe that are 45 degrees apart.

Take a piece of 2 X 4 - 6" long and notch one side of it so that a 3/4" PVC
pipe fits snugly. Drill a hole from the top to the center of this notch the
size of a pencil. Insert a sharpened pencil, and as one person holds the
pipe from moving, another person starts at one of the three marks on the end
of the pipe and makes a straight line the length of the pipe. Turn the pipe
to the next mark and repeat. Then repeat a third time.

Next, take a measuring tape at least as long as your pipe, place it
alongside the pipe and draw a line every 4" across the 3 lengthwise lines
already drawn on the pipe.

Insert a #57 drill bit (that's .042", and is found at a hobby shop) into a
hand drill and drill 3 holes every 4" the length of the pipe - on the points
where the lines cross.

If your Bed is longer than the pipe, glue two pipes together - being very
careful to line up the holes on both pieces of pipe.

Attach male threaded ends on both ends of your pipe. On the far end, place
a threaded end-cap, and on the front-end place a ball valve with female

Plumb to your water source (I will post pictures of the Zoo garden, and the
books show how it's done).

Place the pipe in the center of your Soil-Beds or Grow-Boxes, on 4 - 2 X 4 X
6" blocks equally spaced along the length of the bed. Each block should
have two nails in the top center placed 1" apart, to keep the pipe from
falling off.

With the holes at 45 degrees and the pipe 3 1/2" above the soil surface, the
water will quickly fill the 12" planting area and water all plants in the

Jim Kennard founder

Growing organic veggies four wide with the Mittleider method

Watering Soil-Beds or Grow-Boxes with 3/4" PVC pipe works well, even for 4
rows of vegi's. Just make sure you are doing the holes right, and placing
the pipe correctly. For those who haven't done this yet, here's how.
Pictorial instructions are on the Garden Master CD and in The Mittleider
Gardening Course at - The Store.

On one end of your pipe, make marks dividing the circle into 4 equal parts.
Two adjacent marks are at 90 degrees. Now make a mark between those two,
and you have the starting points for 3 straight lines down the length of the
pipe that are 45 degrees apart.

Take a piece of 2 X 4 - 6" long and notch one side of it so that a 3/4" PVC
pipe fits snugly. Drill a hole from the top to the center of this notch the
size of a pencil. Insert a sharpened pencil, and as one person holds the
pipe from moving, another person starts at one of the three marks on the end
of the pipe and makes a straight line the length of the pipe. Turn the pipe
to the next mark and repeat. Then repeat a third time.

Next, take a measuring tape at least as long as your pipe, place it
alongside the pipe and draw a line every 4" across the 3 lengthwise lines
already drawn on the pipe.

Insert a #57 drill bit (that's .042", and is found at a hobby shop) into a
hand drill and drill 3 holes every 4" the length of the pipe - on the points
where the lines cross.

If your Bed is longer than the pipe, glue two pipes together - being very
careful to line up the holes on both pieces of pipe.

Attach male threaded ends on both ends of your pipe. On the far end, place
a threaded end-cap, and on the front-end place a ball valve with female

Plumb to your water source (I will post pictures of the Zoo garden, and the
books show how it's done).

Place the pipe in the center of your Soil-Beds or Grow-Boxes, on 4 - 2 X 4 X
6" blocks equally spaced along the length of the bed. Each block should
have two nails in the top center placed 1" apart, to keep the pipe from
falling off.

With the holes at 45 degrees and the pipe 3 1/2" above the soil surface, the
water will quickly fill the 12" planting area and water all plants in the

Jim Kennard founder

A must read from the Mittleider organic gardening group

Senate Document #264

Presented by Rex Beach June 1936

United States GPO
Washington 1936


Concerning Dr Charles Northen: "This quiet, unballyhooed pioneer and genius in the field of nutrition demonstrates that countless human ills stem from the fact that impoverished soil of America no longer provides plant foods with the mineral elements essential to human nourishment and health! To overcome this alarming condition, he doctors sick soils and, by seeming miracles, raises truly healthy and health-giving fruits and vegetables." Rex Beach

[EDITORS NOTE: Keep in mind, the opening statement above and the text that follows, Senate Document 264, was written by Rex Beach in 1936 and submitted as part of a Congressional investigation into our farming practices because of concern about the quality of our farm and range soils. The leading authorities of the day had been sounding the alarm that depleted soils were causing a significant decline in the nation's health and a statistical and steady increase in the incidence of degenerative
diseases throughout our society. When Congress saw the price tag on repairing the nation's farm and range soils, they got "sticker shock," and swept their own investigation under the carpet. This document is reproduced in its entirety, a copy of which was obtained from the United States Government Printing Office in Washington, DC. Only editorial comment has been added, and in some cases, italics have been added for emphasis. All editorial comment is clearly marked within brackets.]

Do you know that most of us today are suffering from certain dangerous diet deficiencies which cannot be remedied until the depleted soils from which our foods come are brought into proper mineral balance? The alarming fact is that foods, fruits and vegetables and grains, now being raised on millions of acres of land that no longer contain enough of certain needed minerals, are starving us - no matter how much of them we eat! This talk about minerals is novel and quite startling. In fact, a realization of the importance of minerals in food is so new that the textbooks on nutritional dietetics contain very little about it. Nevertheless, it is something that concerns all of us, and the further we delve into it the more startling it becomes.

You would think, wouldn't you, that a carrot is a carrot - that one is about as good as another as far as nourishment is concerned? But it isn't; one carrot may look and taste like another and yet be lacking in the particular mineral element which our system requires and which carrots are supposed to contain. Laboratory tests prove that the fruits, the vegetables, the grains, the eggs, and even the milk and the meats of today are not what they were a few generations ago (which doubtless explains why our forefathers thrived on a selection of foods that would starve us!). No man of today can eat enough fruits and vegetables to supply his system with the mineral salts he requires for perfect health, because his stomach isn't big enough to hold them! And we are running to big stomachs.

No longer does a balanced and fully nourishing diet consist merely of so many calories or certain vitamins or a fixed proportion of starches, proteins, or carbohydrates. We now know that it must contain, in addition, something like a score of mineral salts.

It is bad news to learn from our leading authorities that 99 percent of the American people are deficient in these minerals, and that a marked deficiency in any one or more of the important minerals actually results in disease. Any upset of the balance, any considerable lack of one or another element, however microscopic the body requirement may be, and we sicken, suffer, shorten our lives.

This discovery is one of the latest and most important contributions of science to the problem of human health. So far as the records go, the first man in the field of research, the first to demonstrate that most human foods of our day are poor in minerals and that their proportions are not balanced, was Dr. Charles Northen, an Alabama physician now living in Orlando, Florida. His discoveries and achievements are of enormous importance to mankind.

Following a wide experience in general practice, Dr. Northen specialized in stomach diseases and nutritional disorders. Later he moved to New York and made extensive studies along this line, in conjunction with a famous French scientist from the Sorbonne. In the course of that work, he convinced himself that there was little authentic, definite information on the chemistry of foods and that no dependence could be placed on existing data.

He asked himself how foods could be used intelligently in the treatment of disease, when they differed so widely in content. The answer seemed to be that they could not be used intelligently. In establishing the fact that serious deficiencies existed and in searching out the reasons therefore, he made an extensive study of the soil. It was he who first voiced the surprising assertion that we must make soil building the basis of food building in order to accomplish human building.

"Bear in mind," says Dr. Northen, "that minerals are vital to human metabolism and health - and that no plant or animal can appropriate to itself any mineral which is not present in the soil upon which it feeds.

"When I first made this statement I was ridiculed, for up to that time, people had paid little attention to food deficiencies and even less to soil deficiencies. Men eminent in medicine denied there was any such thing as vegetables and fruits that did not contain sufficient minerals for human needs. Eminent agricultural authorities insisted that all soil contained all the necessary minerals. They reasoned that plants take what they need, and that is the function of the human body to appropriate what it requires. Failure to do so, they said, was a symptom of disorder.

"Some of our respected authorities even claimed that the so-called secondary minerals played no part whatever in human health. It is only recently that such men as Dr. McCollum of Johns Hopkins, Dr. Mendel of Yale, Dr. Sherman of Columbia, Dr. Lipman of Rutgers, and Drs. H.G. Knight and Oswald Schreiner of the Untied States Department of Agriculture have agreed that these minerals are essential to plant, animal, and human feeding.

"We know that vitamins are complex chemical substances which are indispensable to nutrition, and that each of them is of importance for the normal function of some special structure of the body. Disorder and disease result from any vitamin deficiency. "It is not commonly realized, however, that vitamins control the body's appropriation of minerals, and in the absence of minerals they have no function to perform. Lacking vitamins, the system can make some use of minerals, but lacking minerals, vitamins are useless.

"Neither does the layman realize that there may be a pronounced difference in both foods and soils - to him one vegetable, one glass of milk, or one egg is about the same as another. Dirt is dirt, too, and he assumes that by adding a little fertilizer to it, a satisfactory vegetable or fruit can be grown.

"The truth is that our foods vary enormously in value, and some of them aren't worth eating as food. For example, vegetation grown in one part of the country may assay 1,100 parts per billion of iodine, as against 20 in that grown elsewhere. Processed milk has run anywhere from 362 parts per million of iodine and 127 of iron, down to nothing.

"Some of our lands, even in a virgin state, never were well balanced in mineral content, and unhappily for us, we have been systematically robbing the poor soils and the good soils alike of the very substances necessary to health, growth, long life, and resistance to disease. Up to the time I began experimenting, almost nothing had been done to make good the theft.

"The more I studied nutritional problems and the effects of mineral deficiencies upon disease, the more plainly I saw that here lay the most direct approach to better health, and the more important it became in my mind to find a method of restoring those missing minerals to our foods.

"The subject interested me so profoundly that I retired from active medical practice and for a good many years now I have devoted myself to it. It's a fascinating subject, for it goes to the heart of human betterment."

The results obtained by Dr. Northen are outstanding. By putting back into the foods the stuff that foods are made of, he has proved himself to be a real miracle man of medicine, for he has opened up the shortest and most rational route to better health.

He showed first that it should be done, and then that it could be done.

He doubled and redoubled the natural mineral content of fruits and vegetables.

He improved the quality of milk by increasing the iron and the iodine in it.

He caused hens to lay eggs richer in the vital elements.

By scientific soil feeding, he raised better seed potatoes in Maine, better grapes in California, better oranges in Florida and better field crops in other states. (By "better" is meant not only improvement in food value but also an increase in quality and quantity.)

Before going further into the results he has obtained, let's see just what is involved in this matter of "mineral deficiencies," what it may mean to our health, and how it may affect the growth and development, both mental and physical, of our children. We know that rats, guinea pigs and other animals can be fed into a diseased condition and out again by controlling only the minerals in their food.

A 10-year test with rats proved that by withholding calcium they can be bred down to a third the size of those fed with an adequate amount of that mineral. Their intelligence, too, can be controlled by mineral feeding as readily as can their size, their bony structure, and their general health.

Place a number of these little animals inside a maze after starving some of them in a certain mineral element. The starved ones will be unable to find their way out, whereas the others will have little or no difficulty in getting out. Their dispositions can be altered by mineral feeding. They can be made quarrelsome and belligerent; they can even be turned into cannibals and be made to devour each other.

A cage full of normal rats will live in amity. Restrict their calcium and they will become irritable and draw apart from one another. Then they will begin to fight. Restore their calcium balance and they will grow more friendly; in time they will begin to sleep in a pile as before. Many backward children are "stupid" merely because they are deficient in magnesia. We punish them for our failure to feed them properly.

Certainly our physical well-being is more directly dependent upon the minerals we take into our systems then upon calories or vitamins or upon the precise proportions of starch, protein, or carbohydrates we consume.

It is now agreed that at least 16 mineral elements are indispensable for normal nutrition, and several more are always found in small amounts in the body, although their precise physiological role has not been determined. Of the 16 indispensable salts, calcium, phosphorus and iron are perhaps the most important.

[EDITORS NOTE: Today (1998), many nutritionists, scientists and health care professionals insist that as many as 60 minerals (including trace minerals) are essential to achieving and maintaining optimal health, longevity and resistance to disease. Some of the most convincing evidence on the essentiality of plant derived minerals has come from research conducted by the Department of Agriculture and from veterinary science.]

Calcium is the most dominant nerve controller; it powerfully affects the cell formation of all living things and regulates nerve action. It governs contractility of the muscles and the rhythmic beat of the heart. It also coordinates the other mineral elements and corrects disturbances made by them. It works only in sunlight. Vitamin D is its buddy. Dr. Sherman of Columbia asserts that 50 percent of the American people are starving for calcium. A recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association stated that out of 4,000 cases in New York Hospital, only 2 were not suffering from a lack of calcium.

What does such a deficiency mean? How would it affect your health or mine? So many morbid conditions and actual diseases may result that it is almost hopeless to catalog them. Included in the list are rickets, bony deformities, bad teeth, nervous disorders, reduced resistance to other diseases, fatigability, and behavior disturbances such as incorrigibility, assaultiveness and nonadaptability. Here's one specific example: The soil around a certain Midwest city is poor in calcium. Three hundred children in this community were examined and nearly 90 percent had bad teeth, swollen glands, enlarged or diseased tonsils. More than one-third had defective vision, round shoulders, bowlegs and anemia.

Calcium and phosphorus appear to pull in double harness. A child requires as much per day as two grown men, but studies indicate a common deficiency of one or the other as the cause of serious losses to the farmers, and when the soil is poor in phosphorous their animals become bone-chewers. Dr. McCollum says that when there are enough phosphates in the blood there can be no dental decay.

Iron is an essential constituent of the oxygen-carrying pigment of the blood: iron starvation results in anemia, and yet iron cannot be assimilated unless some copper is contained in the diet. In Florida, many cattle die from an obscure disease called "salt sickness." It has been found to arise from a lack of iron and copper in the soil and hence the grass. A man may starve for want of these elements just as a beef "critter" starves.

If iodine is not present in our foods the function of the thyroid gland is disturbed and goiter afflicts us. The human body requires only fourteen-thousandths of a milligram daily, yet we have a distinct "goiter belt " in the Great Lakes section, and in parts of the Northwest the soil is so poor in iodine that the disease is common.

So it goes, down through the list, each mineral element playing a definite role in nutrition. A characteristic set of symptoms, just as specific as any vitamin-deficiency disease, follows a deficiency in any one of them. It is alarming, therefore, to face the fact that we are starving for these precious, health-giving substances.

Very well, you say, if our foods are poor in the mineral salts they are supposed to contain, why not resort to dosing?

[EDITOR'S NOTE: "Dosing" is the author's term for "supplementing" with elemental or metallic minerals, and further refers to mineral supplements as drugs in the text below. These were the days before the development of chelated minerals, and only a little was known about colloidal or plant derived organically bound minerals, easily obtained from humic shale.]

That is precisely what is being done, or being attempted. However, those who should know assert that the human system cannot appropriate those elements to the best advantage in any but the food form. At best, only a part of them in the form of drugs can be utilized by the body, and certain dieticians go so far as to say it is a waste of effort to fool with them. Calcium, for instance, cannot be supplied in any form of medication with lasting effect.

But there is a more potent reason why the curing of diet deficiencies by drugging hasn't worked out so well. Consider those 16 indispensable elements and those others which presumably perform some obscure function as yet understood. Aside from calcium and phosphorous, they are needed only in infinitesimal quantities, and the activity of one may be dependent upon the presence of another. To determine the precise requirements of each individual case and to attempt to weigh it out on a druggist's scale would appear hopeless.

It is a problem and a serious one. But here is the hopeful side of the picture: Nature can and will solve it if she is encouraged to do so. The minerals in fruit and vegetables are colloidal; i.e. they are in a state of such extremely fine suspension that they can be assimilated by the human system: It is merely a question of giving back to nature the materials with which she works.

We must rebuild our soils: Put back the minerals we have taken out. That sounds difficult but it isn't. Neither is it expensive. Therein lies the short cut to better health and longer life.

When Dr. Northen first asserted that many foods were lacking in mineral content and that this deficiency was due solely to an absence of those elements in the soil, his findings were challenged and he was called a crank. But differences of opinion in the medical profession are not uncommon - it was only 60 years ago that the Medical Society of Boston passed a resolution commending the use of bathtubs - and he persisted in his assertion that inasmuch as foods did not contain what they were supposed to contain, no physician could with certainty prescribe a diet to overcome physical ills.

He showed that the textbooks are not dependable because many of the analyses in them were made many years ago, perhaps from products raised in virgin soils, whereas our soils have been constantly depleted. Soil analyses, he pointed out, reflect only the content of samples. One analysis may be entirely different from another made ten miles away.

"And so what?" came the query.

Dr. Northen undertook to demonstrate that something could be done about it. By re-establishing a proper soil balance he actually grew crops that contained an ample amount of desired minerals.

This was incredible. It was contrary to the books and it upset everything connected with diet practice. The scoffers began to pay attention to him. Recently, the Southern Medical Association, realizing the hopelessness of trying to remedy nutritional deficiencies without positive factors to work with, recommended a careful study to determine the real mineral content of foodstuffs and the variations due to soil depletion in different localities. These progressive medical men are awake to the importance of prevention.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Those "progressive medical men" were about to get nudged into obscurity by the "age of antibiotics" and an ever growing popular belief that we could find a drug for every ailment. Preventative medicine took a back seat to pharmaceutical politics.]

Dr. Northen went even further and proved that crops grown in a properly mineralized soil were bigger and better; that seeds germinated quicker, grew more rapidly and made larger plants; that trees were healthier and put on more fruit of better quality. By increasing the mineral content of citrus fruit he likewise improved its texture, its appearance and its flavor.

He experimented with a variety of growing things, and in every case the story was the same. By mineralizing the feed at poultry farms, he got more and better eggs; by balancing pasture soils, he produced richer milk.

Persistently he hammered home to farmers, to doctors, and to the general public the thought that life depends upon the minerals!

His work led him into a careful study of the effects of climate, sunlight, ultraviolet and thermal rays upon plant, animal and human hygiene. In consequence he moved to Florida. People familiar with his work consider him the most valuable man in the state. I met him by reason of the fact that I was harassed by certain soil problems on my Florida farm which had baffled the best chemists and fertilizer experts available.

He is an elderly, retiring man, with a warm smile and an engaging personality. He is a trifle shy until he opens up on his pet topic; then his diffidence disappears and he speaks with authority. His mind is a storehouse crammed with precise, scientific data about soil and food chemistry, the complicated life processes of plants, animals, and human beings - and the effect of malnutrition upon all three. He is perhaps as close to the secret of life as any man anywhere. "Do you call yourself a soil a or a food chemist?" I inquired.

"Neither. I am an M.D. My works lie in the field of biochemistry and nutrition. I gave up medicine because this is a wider and a more important work. Sick soils mean sick plants, sick animals, and sick people. Physical, mental, and moral fitness depends largely upon an ample supply and a proper proportion of the minerals in our foods. Nerve function, nerve stability, nerve cell-building likewise depend thereon. I'm really a doctor of sick soils."

"Do you mean to imply that the vegetables I'm raising on my farm are sick?" I asked.

"Precisely! They're as weak and undernourished as anemic children. They're not much good as food. Look at the pests and the diseases that plague them. Insecticides cost farmers nearly as much as fertilizer these days.

"A healthy plant, however, grown in soil properly balanced, can and will resist most insect pests. That very characteristic makes it a better food product. You have tuberculosis and pneumonia germs in your system but you're strong enough to throw them off. Similarly, a really healthy plant will pretty nearly take care of itself in the battle against insects and blights - and will also give the human system what it requires."

"Good heavens! Do you realize what that means to agriculture?"

"Perfectly. Enormous savings. Better crops. Lowered living costs to the rest of us. But I'm not so much interested in agriculture as in health."

"It sounds beautifully theoretical and utterly impractical to me," I told the doctor, whereupon he gave me some of his case records. For instance, in an orange grove infested with scale, when he restored the mineral balance to part of the soil, the trees growing in that part became clean while the rest remained diseased. By the same means he had grown healthy rosebushes between rows that were riddled by insects.

He has grown tomato and cucumber plants, both healthy and diseased, where the vines intertwined. The bugs ate up the diseased and refused to touch the healthy plants! He showed me interesting analyses of citrus fruits the chemistry and the food value of which accurately reflected the soil treatment the trees had received.

There is no space here to go fully into Dr. Northen's work but it is of such importance as to rank with that of Burbank, the plant wizard, and with that of our famous physiologists and nutritional experts.

"Healthy plants mean healthy people," said he. "We can't raise a strong race on a weak soil. Why don't you try mending the deficiencies on your farm and growing more minerals into your crop?"

I did try and I succeeded. I was planting a large acreage of celery and under Dr. Northen's direction I fed minerals into certain blocks of land in varying amounts. When the plants from this soil were mature I had them analyzed, along with celery from other parts of the state. It was the most careful and comprehensive study of the kind ever made, and it included over 250 separate chemical determinations. I was amazed to learn that my celery had more than twice the mineral content of the best grown elsewhere. Furthermore, it kept much better, with and without refrigeration, proving that the cell structure was sounder.

In 1927, Mr. W.W. Kincaid, a "gentleman farmer" of Niagara Falls, heard an address by Dr. Northen and was so impressed that he began extensive experiments in the mineral feeding of plants and animals. The results he has accomplished are conspicuous. He set himself the task of increasing the iodine in the milk from his dairy herd. He has succeeded in adding both iodine and iron so liberally that one glass of his milk contains all of these minerals that an adult male requires for a day.

Is this significant? Listen to these incredible figures taken from a bulletin of the South Carolina Food Research Commission: "In many sections three out of five persons have goiter and a recent estimate states that 30 million people in the United States suffer from it."

Foods rich in iodine are of the greatest importance to these sufferers.

Mr. Kincaid took a brown Swiss heifer calf which was dropped in the stockyards, and by raising her on mineralized pasturage and a properly balanced diet made her the third all-time champion of her breed! In one season she gave 21,924 pounds of milk. He raised her butterfat production from 410 pounds in 1 year to 1,037 pounds. Results like these are of incalculable importance.

Others besides Mr. Kincaid are following the trail Dr. Northen blazed. Similar experiments with milk have been made in Illinois and nearly every fertilizer company is beginning to urge use of the rare mineral elements. As an example I quote from statements of a subsidiary of one of the leading copper companies:

Many states show a marked reduction in the productive capacity of the many districts amounting to a 25 to 50 percent reduction in the last 50 years...Some areas show a tenfold variation in calcium. Some show a sixty-fold variation in phosphorous... Authorities...see soil depletion, barren livestock, increased human death rate due to heart disease, deformities, arthritis, increased dental caries, all due to lack of essential minerals in plant foods.

"It is neither a complicated nor an expensive undertaking to restore our soils to balance and thereby work a real miracle in the control of disease," says Dr. Northen. "As a matter of fact, it's a money-making move for the farmer, and any competent soil chemist can tell him how to proceed.

"First determine by analysis the precise chemistry of any given soil, then correct the deficiencies by putting down enough of the missing elements to restore its balance. The same care should be used as in prescribing for a sick patient, for proportions are of vital importance.

"In my early experiments I found it extremely difficult to get the variety of minerals needed in the form in which I wanted to use them but advancement in chemistry, and especially our ever-increasing knowledge of colloidal chemistry, has solved that difficulty. It is now possible, by the use of minerals in colloidal form, to prescribe a cheap and effective system of soil correction which meets this vital need and one which fits in admirably with nature's plans.

"Soils seriously deficient in minerals cannot produce plant life competent to maintain our needs, and with the continuous cropping and shipping away of those concentrates, the condition becomes worse."

A famous nutrition authority recently said, "One sure way to end the American people's susceptibility to infection is to supply through food a balanced ration of iron, copper, and other metals. An organism supplied with a diet adequate to, or preferably in excess of, all mineral requirements may so utilize these elements as to produce immunity from infection quite beyond anything we are able to produce artificially by our present method of immunization. You can't make up the deficiency by using patent medicine."

He's absolutely right. Prevention of disease is easier, more practical, and more economical than cure, but not until foods are standardized on a basis of what they contain instead of what they look like can the dietician prescribe them with intelligence and with effect.

There was a time when medical therapy had no standards because the therapeutic elements in drugs had not been definitely determined on a chemical basis. Pharmaceutical houses have changed all that. Food chemistry, on the other hand, has depended almost entirely upon governmental agencies for its research, and in our real knowledge of values we are about where medicine was a century ago.

Disease preys most surely and most viciously on the undernourished and unfit plants, animals, and human beings alike, and when the importance of these obscure mineral elements is fully realized the chemistry of life will have to be written. No man knows his mental or bodily capacity, how well he can feel or how long he can live, for we are all cripples and weaklings. It is a disgrace to science. Happily, that chemistry is being rewritten and we're on our way to better health by returning to the soil the things we have stolen from it.

The public can help; it can hasten the change. How? By demanding quality of food. By insisting that our doctors and our health departments establish scientific standards of nutritional value. The growers will quickly respond. They can put back those minerals almost overnight and by doing so they can actually make money through bigger and better crops. It is simpler to cure sick soils than sick people - which shall we choose?"

[EDITOR'S NOTE: It would seem that what we chose instead was NPK, chemotherapy, prednisone, below-the knee amputations, pacemakers, bypass surgery, lift-gates and wheelchairs. One fourth of our Gross National Product (1.2 trillion dollars) is now spent on medical care, affectionately referred to (by doctors and drug reps) as "health care."]

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The importance of water conservation what are our options

When thinking about water conservation we came to the conclusion one of the keys was a good way to collect and store the water. Seems like common sense but there are a lot of options available.

With that in mind we did an Internet wide search for the highest quality and durable rainbarrels we could find. After many hours of work we have come to one conclusion buy for quality and durability. This is a rain barrel you want to last for decades. The type you can pass down to the Grandkids like everything else that has passed the test of time. We found a young man named Aaron who sells a wonderful product.

We highly recommend Aarons products, they might seem a bit pricey at first but you will get generations of use out of them. We calculated it would take us approx. 12-18 months per rain barrel to recoup our investment.

Aarons barrels are especially useful if you have a mid sized farm or large family garden.

It the most basic sense a rain barrel is a rainwater harvesting system that is connected to a down spout tube from a house or building.

Aaron makes quality rain barrels that collect, store and divert rooftop runoff during a rain shower. Take advantage of what mother nature is giving you. On a scale of 1-10 we rate Aarons barrels a 10.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Weekly feed home mixture

If you can't find N, P, and K pre-mixed in fairly equal ratios -
between 10 and 20% each, then check a farm-supply store for bags of
each separately.

For example, you may be able to find 21-0-0 (ammonium sulfate), and 0-
45-0 (triple super phosphate), and 0-0-50 (potassium chloride). If
so, mix 12# 21-0-0 with 4# 0-45-0, and 4# 0-0-50.

That gives you 20# of a 2/1/2 mix, which is the ratio your plants use
the three Macro-Nutrients. Then get an 8 1/2 ounce packet of Micro-
Nutrients from the Foundation's website, and 3# Epsom Salt from your
pharmacy - mix it all together and you have the Weekly Feed mix.

There are numerous other mixes of the "Big Three" nutrients -
sometimes with two of them combines, such as 18-46-0 and 15-0-53. If
you find that, just find some nitrogen and mix enough to get the
2/1/2 ratio, and you're there.

Shhh the secret formula for the organic gardening pre plant mixture

Jim has been kind enough to spill the beans and give us the base formula for the preplant mix::

If you can't find the Pre-Plant mix, just mix your own. You need to
use lime if your annual rainfall is more than 20", and gypsum if it's
less than that.

Mix 5# lime or gypsum, with 1 ounce boron (Borax), and 4 ounces
magnesium sulfate (Epsom Salt).

Use two parts of this and one part Weekly Feed mix in your beds,
mixed with the soil before planting.

Yikes how much should I mix of what HELP


I am confused by the multiplicity, or variances
in fertilizer formulas in the different books. I am finding one
formula in one book and different formulas in other materials.
My latest confusion stems from the "Garden Master" CD.
This has a default grow box dimension of 4 ft. by 30 ft. Naturally
for many vegetables this is wide enough to allow for two "rows" in
each box. Now the question - do I apply 16 ounces of weekly
feed fertilizer each week for each "row" OR is it 16 ounces spread
over the entire box?

Perhaps another related question - this relates particularly to
those vegetables which are planted close together thus rendering
it difficult to apply a weekly feed without actually running the risk
of burning the plants. Is it possible to take the 16 ounces of
weekly feed and dilute it in sufficient water so as to NOT burn
the plants? If so - how much water and any special dosage


Regarding the various fertilizer formulas in the books: Dr.
Mittleider constantly experimented with the natural mineral nutrients
he was using, and put the formulas he felt were best at the time in
his books as he wrote them. They all work, and will give you
success, but they were always in the process of being improved as Dr.
M. gained more experience in more countries and conditions around the
world. Therefore, the formulas on the website, on the CD, and in the
Mittleider Gardening Course are the best, being the most recent.

For a 4'-wide Grow-Box you will apply 2 - 16 ounce cans - one can
down the center of each of the two rows of plants. And when the
plants get so big that you can't easily get the fertilizers placed
between them, you could dissolve the 16 ounces in 5 gallons of water
and evenly distribute that down the length of the 30' bed, and then
water it in more thoroughly. Normal watering of a 30' bed will take
15-20 gallons, so don't forget to do this, or the salt concentration
will be stronger than you want, and could hurt the plants.

Organic gardening rules :)

Comparison of the poor mans hydroponics Mittleider method

Fertilizer – Mittleider Magic compared to J.R. Peter's – Pete Lite
Q. I have found a source of Peat Lite 20-10-20 manufactured by J.R.
Peters Co. at $15.50 per 25 lb bag. It is a water-soluble
fertilizer. Please advise whether or not it can be used as a
substitute for the Mittleider formula, and what, if any additions
should be made.

A. I can't answer for the usability of any other fertilizer, not
having field-tested them. But water-soluble fertilizers are intended
for use in a greenhouse or hydroponic growing environment, where
feeding is done in the daily watering. So, for seedling production,
it may work for you (with the caveats stated below), however, where
we feed weekly in the garden, Pete Lite may leach beyond the plants'
root zone before the next feeding, and your plants could go hungry.

Nutrient Mittleider Magic % Pete Lite %
Nitrogen 13. 20.
Phosphate 8. 10.
Potash 13. 20.
Magnesium 1.3 .25
Sulfur 6.4 .00
Calcium .9 .00
Boron .16 .02
Manganese .15 .05
Zinc .20 .016
Iron .02 .10
Copper .04 .01
Molybdenum .03 .01
Cloride .10 .00

Dr. Mittleider's worldwide experience has shown us that the high %'s
of NPK are not needed. That may be why some folks are concerned with
toxicity in many commercial fertilizers.

On the other hand, we almost always experience a need for higher
amounts of the next three - or secondary - nutrients than are
customarily applied. Notice we have 5 times the magnesium, and Pete
Lite lists neither of the other two (in their defense, they recommend
a separate calcium-source application, similar to our Pre-Plant
Mix). Sulfur should be supplemented - especially in a low-
rainfall/high pH area (sulfur lowers the pH).

And most of the micro-nutrients are substantially higher in
Mittleider Magic - for good reason. Sometimes, however, the %'s of
Micro-nutrients can be misleading. For example, if a chelated
compound is used, the nutrient is more available than if a straight
sulfate compound is used. This is the case with our Iron - and
that's why we use less than Pete Lite does. Perhaps they use
chelated compounds of some of the others, whereas we do not.

Even an organic garden can use a good watering system

Instructions on building T frames or watering techniques with pvc pipe.

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)

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