Saturday, October 07, 2006

How to extend your growing season

Today I want to assist many of you who are wondering how to extend your growing season for a few more weeks. For some it may be too late, as in high elevations like Randolph, Utah, where it was below freezing more than one night in August, but most of the lower elevations in Utah and around the country are still frost-free as I’m writing this article.

How can you deal with the special challenges of living in colder climates? Several difficult weather conditions make successful vegetable gardening an “iffy” proposition, unless you learn how to protect your plants against them. The Mittleider gardening books, available at, are excellent sources of information on this topic. Let’s discuss briefly what these challenges are, and how you can successfully mitigate their negative effects.

First off, many places have late spring frosts, which keep us from getting started in our gardens – often until mid or late May. Second, many of us have strong winds throughout the growing season that buffet our plants and dry everything out. Third, others of us face the scarcity and cost of water. And finally, we often have early crop-killing frosts, usually followed by several weeks of mild weather that could support continued growth and harvesting.

So how do you handle the shorter growing season with unseasonable frosts, the constant drying winds, and the lack of water? Let’s deal with the wind first, since the solution to that also helps reduce the other problems. To protect your garden’s tender plants, build solid fences or plant trees and shrubs between your garden and the prevailing winds - but put them far enough away that you do not shade your garden! Always remember that growing vegetables need direct sunshine all day long. This means that you also want to place your shade trees so as to leave the garden in full sun.

Some of you do container gardening, or raised boxes. When these are subjected to hot winds they are difficult to keep cool and moist. Consider either larger Grow-Boxes - we recommend 18” or 4' wide and up to 30' in length - or growing in the regular soil. Remember that Dr. Jacob Mittleider promises “a great garden in any soil, in almost any climate.”

Next is watering. You will save ½ or more on your water usage by following these procedures. And it’s amazing how much heat and wind plants can handle if they are properly fed and watered. First, make certain your Grow-Boxes or raised Soil-Beds are accurately leveled, and that Soil-Beds have a 4” ridge around them. Then apply 1” of water right at the soil surface (not by sprinkling!) before your soil becomes the least bit dry – even every day in the heat of summer if needed. This will place the precious water right at the plant roots, and waste none. Finally, automating your watering using ¾” PVC pipes, with 3 tiny #57 holes every 4”, will make watering fast, easy, and efficient.

Extending your growing season is accomplished in two ways. Next February and March we’ll discuss the first, which is how to grow healthy seedlings in a protected environment and transplant them into the garden after the danger of frost is past. The second thing you can do, even right now if frost hasn’t already killed your garden, is to make "Mini-Greenhouses" for covering your plants. By themselves they are good, but with a small heat source they can extend your growing season in both Spring and Fall even more, often by 4-6 weeks.

Use PVC pipe, bent in a capital “A” shape, but with a 6” flat top, to fit your bed or box, and covered with 4 or 6 mil greenhouse plastic. This provides some protection against frost at night, and will warm the plants on cold days. Cover the edges with dirt all around when frost threatens, and open up when it gets warm. More details are at in the Gardening Techniques and FAQ sections. © 2006 - James B. Kennard

Jim Kennard, President of Food For Everyone Foundation, has a wealth of teaching and gardening training and experience upon which to draw in helping the Foundation "Teach the world to grow food one family at a time." Jim has been a Mittleider gardener for the past twenty nine years; he is a Master Mittleider Gardening Instructor, and has taught classes and worked one-on-one with Dr. Jacob Mittleider on several humanitarian gardening training projects in the USA and abroad. He has conducted projects in Armenia, America, Madagascar, and Turkey by himself. He assists gardeners all over the world from the website FAQ pages and free Gardening Group, and grows a large demonstration garden at Utah's Hogle Zoo in his spare time.

Gardening Books, CDs and Software are available at

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Suggestion for type of woood to use for grow boxes

I bought some regular 2x10x12 lumber, not pressure treated, and I haven't
done anything to the wood. A few days ago I looked at the wood on the
interior that is damp most of the time. After four years I can't see any rot
at all. It is my theory that having one side of the lumber totally exposed
helps keep the lumber healthy. If it was damp and in the shade I suspect it
wouldn't be in such good condition.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Mittleider method marketing

Dear Friends:
Are you one of the vital few or the trivial many? (Pareto’s law) I submit that your
knowledge of the Mittleider Method of gardening labels you as belonging to the vital few, and that with that
knowledge comes both opportunity and responsibility.
The book The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell, describes how the few can make a tremendous
positive difference for everyone else, which he compares to an epidemic, or that point before which not
much seems to be happening, and after which effects begin to explode.
Mr. Gladwell uses the law of the few, the stickiness factor, and the power of context to show how this is
We Need to Start An Epidemic - And You Can Help!
Family gardening should be almost as common and important as the family car, because your garden
can feed you even when your car won’t run because there’s no gasoline, or when there’s no food to buy in
the stores, or when there’s no money to buy food for whatever reason. This is the context, or the
overriding reason why the message you carry is so vital for everyone.
And gardening should be sustainable, using true principles and the best methods and techniques, so it will
yield the “most bang for the buck,” making it worthwhile and enjoyable for the long term. The Mittleider
Method will feed your family! It gives you ”the garden you’d want if your life depended on it.”
However, today effective family vegetable gardening is done by only about 1% of the people who
may soon desperately need it.
The best growing principles, methods and procedures are the closely guarded secrets of the large field and
hydroponic growers, while the large majority of gardening families are back in the 19th century, using only
manure and compost – and frightened that any use of “chemicals” will threaten their health, or even their
The one big exception to that bad scenario about family gardening is the Mittleider Method, and you
have found it. It is the method of growing vegetables that’s sometimes called “the poor man’s hydroponic
method” of growing.
It’s called that because it teaches the best principles, methods, and techniques - borrowed from the
large commercial and hydroponic growers - but adapted to the small family garden, and without the
problems so often associated with commercial growers, such as over-use of fertilizers, pesticides and
herbicides, high cost, and lack of freshness and flavor.
The Mittleider Method provides a recipe for gardening success that promises a great garden in any soil, and
in almost any climate. The principles are true and work everywhere, having been tested and demonstrated
virtually worldwide, and the procedures are simple and straightforward.
Now here’s our opportunity – and my challenge to you!
Great changes have always been initiated by just a few people who knew what they wanted, were
focused, and were willing to share their knowledge with everyone they could influence.
I challenge each of you to be the few who help people around you improve their lives while preparing for
the uncertainties of the future, by promoting, teaching, and demonstrating true gardening principles as taught
in the Mittleider Method of gardening, and getting others to do the same. We must not wait to act until the
99% are beating down our doors for food!

This is how viral marketing works. Word of mouth follows a geometric progression similar to epidemics.
Ideas, messages and behaviors spread just like viruses do. They share an underlying basic pattern; they are
contagious, little causes can have big effects, and change does not happen gradually but seemingly in one
dramatic moment.

I also need your help and feedback to package the Mittleider gardening message in such a way as to
make it irresistible. All we have to do is find the stickiness factor – or the thing that helps people
remember it as valuable to them. This is very important, especially when we suffer from so much information
overload these days. Capturing someone’s attention and getting the information to stick is paramount, so
share your ideas as to how we can make the message more compelling – please!

What can you do? Small, close-knit groups (150 or less) have the power to magnify the epidemic
potential of a message or idea. So, choose the 150 individuals or families with whom you can have a
genuinely social relationship, and help them understand and appreciate the value and importance of family
gardening. Your email list, a church congregation, gardening group, voting district, family, or neighborhood
association may give you a good place to start.

Loan them a book or CD. Tell them of your own success. Offer to teach a seminar. Point out the benefits
of learning and doing it now, before their need is urgent and it’s too late to learn or prepare.

If you do nothing more than get them to buy a can of vegetable seeds and a couple bags of fertilizer,
you’ve done tremendous good. A triple-sealed #10 can of 16 heirloom vegetable varieties that can be
stored for many years can be purchased at the Foundation website or at Seeds &
fertilizer are a must for any long-term food storage program!

The Foundation will help you by making materials available for you to use in spreading the word, at our
cost. For example, here’s something new you haven’t seen, but you should!. And I’ll bet you have friends
who’d be interested in a short video about Madagascar – that strange and fascinating island off the east
coast of Africa. Watch it yourself and see if it isn’t compelling!

The ½-hour video of a training project I conducted there will show the amazing difference between
Mittleider gardens and those being produced by other methods. And the country and people are so
interesting! It took many thousands of dollars to produce the video, but replication costs are low, so I can
make it available for only $6 in quantities of two or more ($10 for one).

Any of the books and CD’s will also be made available for direct order (after your personal copy) at a 40%
discount, to help you get them out to others.

Do any of you have other ideas as to how we can help? We are happy to entertain your thoughts and ideas.

Do something now! Make your voice heard, and your influence felt. You can make a difference for good in
the world around you. And remember “out of small things proceedeth that which is great.”

Thanks for your interest in gardening, your willingness to do it right, and your courage to share.

Jim Kennard, President
Food For Everyone Foundation
“Teaching the world to grow food one family at a time.”

Monday, October 02, 2006

Organic gardening is it a fruit or a vegetable?

I love my vegetable garden, and I suspect you enjoy yuors too. We eat
one or two meals a day from our garden, and my wife Araksya is an
outstanding cook when it comes to using fresh garden produce.
Sometimes I'll look at a meal with 6 or 8 items from the garden and
think "how great it is to have such a wide variety of vegetables to

But I was reminded last week that many things we consider vegetables
are really fruits, botanically speaking! Let me give you a list of
the items from a typical garden that are actually fruits, rather than
vegetables - even though we eat them as the main part of the meal,
rather than for dessert.

Garden fruits include Peppers, eggplant, pumpkin, squash, and tomatoes.

While I'm classifying things, let's distinguish some categories of
vegetables, as well: Those whose leaves we eat include basil,
brussels sprouts, beetgreens, cabbage, chard, cilantro, endive, kale,
lettuce, mustard greens, onions, parsley, spinach, turnip greens, and

We eat the roots of beets, carrots, parsnips, radishes, rutabagas,
sweet potatoes, and turnips. And we eat tubers of potatoes and yams.

We eat the seeds of several kinds of beans, corn, peas, pumpkins, and
sunflowers. And we eat the seed pods of chili peppers, green beans,
okra, snap peas, snow peas, and wax beans.

We eat the stems of asparagus, celery, leeks, green onions, and

We even eat the flowers of artichokes, broccoli, and cauliflower. And
in places like Japan people prize the squash flowers, and eat the
petals - hopefully after they are pollinated.

Let's not forget the bulbs of onions and garlic - these are used more
often in our garden cooking than just about anything else.

Did I forget to list your favorites. As you put your garden to bed
for the winter, begin to plan now for the vegetables and fruit you
want to grow and eat next spring.

Good Growing,