Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Heirloom versus Hybrid seeds what is what?

Jim can you explain the diffrence between heirloom seeds and other

I am asking because my understanding is you can harvest seeds from
heirloom veggies and flowers to use the following year.

I saw the seeds in a can on the main site. Is there a company you can
suggest for individual plants.

TY :) Steve

Steve & Group:

Heirloom seeds will produce the same fruit generation after generation. Hybrid seeds will not.

Any of the seed companies that provide catalogs will have both hybrid and non-hybrid seeds in their catalogs. Ask for a catalog and just buy the non-hybrids, if you are more concerned about using the seeds than you are about size, productivity, health (resistance to disease, etc.), and flavor.

Jim Kennard

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Organic gardening fertilizer applications

Fertilizing frequency is an important topic for several reasons. Issues such as
cost, toxicity to plants and/or humans, and seepage into ground water sources
are a few.

I'll answer your questions first, and then explain in detail the reasons for
them. Yes - if you want to continue to produce a crop throughout the growing
season. and yes, the fertilizer slowly feeds the plants.

How many times to feed should only be an issue with ever-bearing crops, such as
squash, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, etc., because single crop varieties, such
as cabbage, lettuce, and spinach only receive between 3 and 5 feedings after
transplanting, and you stop feeding 3 weeks before harvest.

Does everyone remember the comparison I have made with organic growers, who
apply 2-3" of manure on their garden before planting? Let's review that quickly
and make the comparison with the Mittleider Method, to put the toxicity and
ground water polution issues into perspective (and hopefully to discourage you
from indiscriminate applications of manure).

Some folks laud manure because it's only 1% nitrogen, and curse ammonium nitrate
because it's 34%. However, they may not have checked their math on what is
actually happening. Applying just 2" of manure to a single soil-bed (not the
aisles - just the growing area) adds 250-300# of manure to the soil. It also
adds about 2.5 pounds of nitrogen. That's a lot of nitrogen all at once - the
equivalent of over 7 pounds of 34-0-0 - and will often burn young plants or
emerging seedlings.

The Mittleider Method advocates applying 1# of Weekly Feed mix each week to that
soil-bed. The WF mix is 13-8-13, therefore you have added 2 ounces of actual
nitrogen to your soil. For you to apply as much nitrogen as the organic
gardener you would have to apply the WF 20 times! In addition, they apply it
all at once, and much is therefore susceptible of being toxic to your plants
and/or washed into the ground water system. You, on the other hand, never have
more than a couple of ounces at a time in the 3,000+ pounds of soil that make up
the top one foot of your soil-bed.

Your plants need water-soluble mineral nutrients constantly throughout their
growing cycle, but nitrogen is volatile and returns to the air. Also,
phosphorus and potassium become fixed (adhered) to the soil particles fairly
quickly, and so become unavailable also. Therefore, we feed weekly to overcome
those problems - rather than applying everything all at once at the beginning.

Some people are tired of their garden and fresh produce by the first of August.
If you want to continue producing right up til winter frost kills your plants,
you should keep feedingthem until a few weeks before frost. We recommend 8
weeks for tomatoes, 6 weeks for peppers, and 4 weeks for cucumbers.

Jim Kennard

----- I have a question about the
frequency of fertilizing my plants. Say, for example, my summer squash is to be
done 5 times in the growing season (that is if I remember it correctly from the
chart in the Food For Everyone website). We have a long growing season. I start
my squash in February and am still picking squash in late June and July. Do I
need to keep fertilizing for a longer period of time? I also have some Swiss
Chard I planted in September, and it is just beginning to bolt now in May. I fed
it off and on throughout the winter. I'm just wondering how the fertilizer works
in the soil. Does it slowly feed the plants?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Mittleider method versus square foot gardening, we win:)

I would like to get the fertilizing method clarified.
For the past 3 years I have used the square foot
gardening method in raised beds. Last year I wasn't
as happy with my tomato production and realized when
my husband turned the bed that I would have to do
something with the soil. Initially it was 1/3 top
soil, 1/3 peat moss and 1/3 compost. So this spring,
I decided to do some online research on how to fix my
soil and came across the Mittleider Method. I thought
I would be able to encorporated some of these methods
with the square foot method. So, we added a bag of
manure to each raised bed. They are 4' x 10' for 3
and 4' x 8' for two. We worked this into the beds
along with some chopped leaves and peat moss. Once
the soil was well mixed we leveled it off and added
5-10-15 pre-planting fertilizer. As well bone meal
7-5-0 was sprinkled on tope of each bed as rabbit
control. This was done before I read the ebook on the
Mittleider method for fertilizing. Can I continue on
with the weekly fertilizing? Do I really add
fertilizer on a weekly basis? Since my beds are only
10' long, how much fertilizer would I use?

BTW, last year our garden with the exception of
tomatoes did well. I was able to can 21 quarts of
green beans besides what we ate fresh. It was a bad
gardening year too. It was too hot and too dry.
Tomatoes were really so so. Even zucchini did poorly
which is why I started looking for other methods. I
like the square foot method for higher yield
production in small areas yet the fertilizing makes a
lot of sense to me. So this year my garden is a mix
of the square foot method and Mittleider method along
with a heavy reliance of companion plantings.


I can't answer for what you can do, since you didn't say how much of anything you put in your beds, except the manure. I suspect you added more of the things you mention than needed, and you say nothing about the important secondary and trace minerals.

The reason fertilizing using the Mittleider Method produces such great gardens consistently year after year is that we always know just what we are adding to the soil, and we provide just what the plants need of all 13 natural mineral elements, without taking the risks of disease, weed seeds, and bugs that are so often associated with compost and manures.

We apply only small amounts of the Weekly Feed mix (5 ounces to a 10' row of plants) on a weekly basis until 3 weeks before harvest for single crop varieties, and until 8 weeks before first frost for everbearing plants like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, etc.

Best of success to you. I do hope you'll give the Mittleider Method a fair chance. I'm conficent you'll bepleased with the easy and simple procedures, and expecially pleased with your yields of beautiful healthy produce.

Why its not worth it to mix your own weekly and preplant mixes

For most back-yard gardeners it is not practical to find, buy, and mix the
Weekly Feed mix yourselves. The micro-nutrient compounds are relatively costly,
and it's difficult to buy them in the tiny quantities you need for your garden.
A couple of examples are the two Larry mentioned - Sodium Molybdate and Iron
Chelate. The iron costs more than $5 per pound in 50# bags, and the Molybdenum
retails at $96 for 3# (the least they want to sell)!

Iron sulfate is much less costly to buy, but it often becomes "tied-up" or
unavailable to your plants, depending on pH and other factors, and so we do not
use it if we can help it.

Pure potassium would be volatile, but 0-0-60 includes potassium as K2O, not pure
K, so don't worry about it at all.

I recommend that most of you go to the website and click on
Materials, then Fertilizer, and order the packets of Micro-Nutrients. We have
pre-mixed micro's in the proper ratios, so all you have to do is add an 8 1/2
ounce packet to 20# of locally available N,P,K mix (typically 16-16-16 or
13-13-13) plus 3# of Epsom Salt. This gives you a good Weekly Feed mix. And by
the way, we invite comparison with Miracle Grow - both cost and nutrients. We
are usually 1/3rd to 1/4th the cost, and have more elements than MG. You can
use Weekly Feed for every plant in your house or yard, including flowers, trees,
and shrubs.

Don't forget to mix and apply your Pre-Plant mix to the soil in the beds before
planting! This just takes calcium, magnesium, and boron in a ratio of 80-4-1,
with lime or gypsum being your calcium source, Epsom Salt for magnesium, and
Borax for boron.

And remember to apply 2# of Pre-Plant, along with 1# of Weekly Feed to one 18" X
30' Grow-Box or Soil-Bed before planting. Then you go forward with weekly
feeding of the Weekly Feed mix.

Jim Kennard

Sunday, May 21, 2006

How many seed per ounce when planting in sand

Vegetable Seeds – Quantities Per Ounce
Mountain Valley Seed Co

Group: I have extracted this list from the Wholesale seed catalog we
receive from Mountain Valley Seed Co. I recommend you consider
visiting their website and buying the triple-sealed #10 can of
Heirloom Vegetable Seeds. Then you never have to worry about using
hybrid seeds again. Just keep the heirloom seeds in a cool dry
place, and they will last for many years.

Asparagus 600
Bean, Bush 100
Beet 1,500
Broccoli 9,000
Brussels Sprouts 8,000
Cabbage 7,000
Carrot 19,000
Cauliflower 7,000
Celery 70,000
Collards 8,000
Cucumber 1,000
Eggplant 6,000
Endive 20,000
Kale 8,500
Kohlrabi 9,000
Leek 10,500
Lettuce 16,000
Melon 1,000
Mustard 17,000
Okra 500
Onion 8,000
Onion, Bunching 11,000
Parsley 18,000
Parsnip 8,000
Peas 2,000
Pepper 4,000
Pumpkin 200
Radish 2,500
Rutabaga 9,000
Spinach 2,500
Squash, Summer 275
Squash, Winter 150-250
Swiss Chard 1,300
Tomato 10,000
Turnip 12,000
Watermelon 450-700

Jim Kennards thoughts on Greenhouse costs

1. What is your
view of the less expensive greenhouses that can be purchased as kits?

i.e. "Hoop Houses" and the like. Are these valuable tools for
vegetable gardeners? Could you recommend using them to raise
vegetables through their complete cycle... from seeding to
harvesting? ( as opposed to only using these greenhouses to extend
the season for one's crops).

2. Do you recommend the use of large garden tillers to prepare your
soil, cultivate, etc. ? There are also smaller, lighter tillers that
seem quite popular and are often used for weeding/cultivating etc.
(the Mantis tiller/cultivator and others). These are much easier to
manage because of their light weight.

3. Since you often teach your methods in foreign and/or third world
countries, I am wondering if you can provide the addresses of
fertilizer suppliers in countries other than the USA. My home is in
Canada and I would love to know if you are aware of sources of your
recommended fertilizers here in Canada, for instance. If not, would
it be difficult to import these chemicals from your recommended
sources in the States? I am especially wondering about the mixtures
of minor trace elements that I have read about on this site. It could
be very difficult to find a supplier of these ingredients locally.
Another concern might be the high freight costs of importing
fertilizers from some distance, given their weight.

4 And finally, using the Mittleider methods, would it be possible to
learn from you how to raise vegetables in a greenhouse environment? I
am thinking here about producing such things as tomatoes, cucumbers,
peppers, & lettuce in quantities sufficient to sell to our local
supermarkets. Perhaps your gardening methods are not geared to the
special challenges inherent in such small-scale, commercial vegetable
production using small greenhouses. A "Mom & Pop" operation is what I
have in mind here. The overall costs of setting up an income-
producing venture is critical to me too. We would have to be somewhat
frugal regarding the start-up costs and capital costs.

David: I've been to Fredericton. You live in beautiful country.

1) All of them have value, otherwise they would not continue
selling. How much value becomes the question of importance. We have
used some, including a corrugated fibreclass quonset-type only 6'
wide and 12' long, and the Solar Optic 8' X 21' fiberglass units sold
by a company in BC, Canada. We provide the plans free because we
believe you can get the most value for your money and the best design
by using Dr. Mittleider's Continuous Ventilator greenhouse. If you
need better insulation than 6 mil greenhouse plastic gives, you can
cover your greenhouse with dual or triple-wall polycarbonate for less
money than buying a comparable ready-made kit.

If you are using a greenhouse to grow crops to maturity a tunnel may
be okay if you're only growing short crops. You need to be able to
raise the sides easily, to give ample ventilation. A Mittleider
greenhouse is tall enough, sturdy enough, and inexpensive enough to
justify building for crop production, and they have been used for
that purpose hundreds, if not thousands of times. And with the roof
ventilation, plus both sides if necessary, and doors on the ends, the
ventilation is excellent.

2) We teach people who have no money for even a good shovel, and
have many advocates who are millionaires with tractors - along with
every level in between. Buy equipment to fit the job. I own a
Mantis, and haven't used it for years. I also own a 5-horse Troy-
Bilt and 2 - 7-horse Troy-Bilts, and use them all the time. Of
course my garden is 1/2 acre. If I was gardening in a space 5' X 15'
or in Grow-Boxes the mantis would be fine and the others would not
even fit.

3) Are there ANY farms within 50 miles of you? How about truck
farms or greenhouses. The ingredients for the Mittleider Magic
fertilizers are so common that every agronomist knows them and where
to get them. Canada is not a backward country and has some of the
best farming practices in the world. I am aware of hydroponic
growers in BC who grow 330 TONS of tomatoes PER ACRE! You can find
the simple ingredients for the fertilizers most ANYWHERE IN CANADA,
with the possible exception of the Northwest Territories. You can't
be looking under a rock for them, but they are not hard to find.
Start with farm supply stores.

If my answer seems a little strong, please forgive me, but we have
found the fertilizers in the middle of the most backward countries in
the world. And it is ALWAYS worth the effort.

4) The Foundation teaches a 3-month agriculture course. If you
follow me to Zimbabwe or Madagascar, you could even join us and learn
how to really do it right. Or you could buy the books Let's Grow
Tomatoes, Gardening by the Foot, and the Garden Doctor set, along
with Food For Everyone (the text for the 3-month training course),
and by following the steps laid out, you can be successful. Those
books only cost about $130, and are a great investment for the
serious gardener. But let me suggest what might be even a better
opportunity. We have digitized all of these books, plus 3 more, and
9 technical manuals, then we created a Searchable database on a
single CD ROM disk. We call it the Mittleider Gardening Library.
And for the next two weeks, instead of costing $69.95 it is $50, plus
we also include - again for the next two weeks only - the Garden
Wizard CD, which has a good database of plants, a garden designer,
etc., etc.

So, what I'm saying is, yes it is definitely possible to learn from
us how to grow vegetables in greenhouses, or most anywhere else
there's some heat, light, and water.

Success to you. I highly recommend the archive of posts to this
group, the FAQ section of the website, the free chapters from Dr.
Mittleider's books in the Store section of the website, and as a last
resort, springing for a few bucks and get a book or two.

Jim Kennard

How to help the Food for everyone foundation.

Food For Everyone Foundation (FFE) is trying to teach productive gardening
to families everywhere, and you can help in the following areas:

1.. If you have a website, please connect to FFE using the following:

Organic gardening

2. If you have local gardening clubs and nurseries in your area, please
contact them and tell them about FFE, give them the site URL, and ask them
to link to us.

3. Ask your local library to carry the FFE books, etc. The Foundation
webmaster is working on uploading the manuals for donation to local
libraries' websites. Also ask them to connect to the site via the code

4. Call your local universities (particularly Agriculture Departments and
Libraries) and county cooperatives; introduce the method to them; if
possible offer assistance; and as in all cases ask them to connect to the
FFE website. Universites and schools can really help people to find us.

If you are a teacher I would ask that you work with the Agriculture or
Gardening teacher to spread our message to the students.

This is another area where I can assist, by making materials available free
of charge to educational institutions (including libraries) via a digital
download. (6 Steps to Successful Gardening and The Mittleider Gardening
Course should be available in the next week to 10 days)

Thank you again for offering your help Steve. We are going to change the
world one garden and one family at a time.


Jim Kennard, President
Food For Everyone Foundation
36 North State Street, SLC, Utah 84103 - 888-548-4449
"Teaching the world to grow food one family at a time."