Saturday, April 22, 2006

Jim has been busy blogging, and working this guy is amazing

18 April 06

We had 3 new students join us today! There were supposed to be 5, but one ended up in the hospital with liver problems. I surely hope he recovers and can join us. We expect one or two more will make it to Getk this week. It is something of a revelation for these good people, to experience first hand "the poor man's hydroponic method" and see it happen virtually as they watch. The seeds we planted only a few days ago in the hot-bed are coming up already, and these folks report seeds in their traditional cold-frames take about 20 days to show themselves above ground.

Today's students come from the Ararat valley, where temperatures are milder than in the Shirak region, but we still have bigger and better seedlings than they see in their own villages, and we are planting things in the garden that they haven't done yet. We show them how to extend their growing season as much as 6 weeks in the spring by growing healthy seedlings in a greenhouse or cold-frame/hotbed. One reason this works so well is the fact that seeds require warm soil temperatures in order to germinate and begin to grow, but strong, healthy seedlings can grow and thrive in soil that won't even germinate the seeds of the same plant. We will have corn seedlings going into the ground before locals even dare plant the seed. It was fun today - beginning the instruction of three wonderful people, who really have a thirst to learn


Monday, April 17, 2006

Latest Press release 4/17/06 from Food from everyone foundation

Press Release

The Food For Everyone Foundation, currently conducting a humanitarian project in Armenia, reports that interest is being expressed by several organizations and government groups in the greatly improved family-sized farming methods being taught and demonstrated.

The Children of Armenia Fund and Human Dignity and Peace foundations are two of the groups who are sending students for training. All students will receive classroom instruction and practical training in the greenhouse, garden, and field, which promises to increase their vegetable gardening yields as much as 5 to 10 times what they are getting with their traditional methods.

The Foundation's scientifically accurate and sustainable gardening methods have been proven highly successful in 30 countries around the world, and are sometimes called "the poor man's hydroponic method" because the yields are so great as to meke people think they were grown hydroponically.

According to Mr. Jim Kennard, Foundation president, the principles and procedures taught are "better than organic" and far less expensive than hydroponic, since plants are grown right in the ground, and natural mineral nutrients are used to provide balanced nutrition to every variety of vegetable.

A weblog of the Training's progress is being posted to the Foundation's website at In addition, pictures are posted regularly to the MittleiderMethodGardeningGroup Yahoo Groups website Photo's section. All who are interested are encouraged to visit these locations and share in the excitement of this fine humanitarian effort.

Contributions are tax deductible to US citizens, and are used 100% for the benefit of Project participants, as there are no salaries paid to Foundation staff, but all are volunteers. Donations can be made online at

Organic Gardening Material what is ok to usein a grow box

I have a good friend who made the comment "yikes it must cost a
fortune to fill a growbox"

I said no it isnt because you can use a variety of materials such as:

Pine needle (preferably ground up)
Perlite (a bit pricey)
Sawdust (other than black walnut)
Small wood chips (NOT - JBK)

Ok here is the rub,

Lets say a person has only pine needles, is it ok to use them at a
100% ratio? I would guess 95% of people have access to free filler
of some type.

What are the best ratios?
Is it ok to use a combination of whatever you have on hand?

Thank you for the clarification.


Yes, it is ok to use what you are able to find inexpensively, so long as it is clean and weed, bug, and disease-free.

Pine needles can be used - even 100% if necessary - but they really need to be ground up! Run them through a chipper/shredder a few times, or use a hammer mill. They are best, as are all of the other organic alternatives, if you have 30-40% sand in the mix. This is because the sand helps with drainage.

Most any combination of organic materials can be used, so long as you have 30-40% sand (by volume) in the mix.

Here in Armenia I used just 25% sand recently for growing in the seedling greenhouse, and because our wooden trays (aka flats) didn't have wide enough spaces between the wooden bottom slats, they did not drain adequately, and the plants suffered. We had to re-plant using more sand. And we also re-did the flats with spaces of almost 1/4" between each slat. I had allowed the flats to be made with only 1/8" spaces the first time, and when the wood swells it leaves a too-narrow space for good drainage.

Do not use wood chips in your soil mix. Make sure you use only sawdust.