Can I use diffrent shaped beds with the Mitttleider method of gardening?
I have downloaded the Gardening Course book and am waiting for my Micro-Mix packets to arrive.
Earlier this year, we had a pretty extensive landscaping project done by a contractor. Our yard wraps around the house - fronts north - on the east side, we have an area that we told the contractor to prepare for a vegetable garden (not knowing at that time what is involved). He laid out a semi-circular pattern adjoining the fence - 4 beds, about 20" wide, raised beds (about 3") of about 8' each and 12-16" aisles. He has put in a mix of garden soil with sand and compost and covered it with mulch. There is a spray-type irrigation system on a separate zone for the area. Now I find out about Mittleider's wide aisles and watering systems :-(. Well, it is what it is and I want to use the method adapted to the set up I have.
a) Should I be testing my soil prior to adding the pre-mix? Per the course, too much fertilizer/nutrient s is equally bad too. I don't know how rich or poor my soil is. I am in Houston, with heavy clay type soil - the contractor has mixed it up with garden soil, sand and compost to a depth of a foot or so. To my knowledge, the soil has no added nutrients or amendments in it (other than some compost) and I think I can go ahead with the pre-mix.
b) Can I still go with two ridge lines given the narrower aisle? Perhaps use a staggered pattern for the planting? I am not growing for sale or bulk, primarily for personal use by a family of 4 (and a dog :-)) plus some sharing with friends (if there is excess).
c) I have gotten seeds for tomatoes, okra, cauliflower, arugula, lettuce, bush beans, and cucumbers.
d) We also plan to buy and plant some fruit trees in January - would the Mittleider methods (pre-mix, weekly fertilizers) be good for those as well? Or would the methods need to be amended? Planned fruit trees include guava, mango, lychee, star apple and wax jambu - mostly tropical that have been reported to do well in Houston.
PS: I have a close friend who is a Texas Master Gardener, grows her own vegetables, has not heard of this method, she uses conventional methods. This will be an opportunity for me to compare the two methods.
Prashant & Group:
With the aisles as you describe them you are guaranteed FAILURE, unless you are only planting plants that stay small, like lettuce. Your other plants require much more space than it sounds like you are planning on giving them.
Traditional plant spacing is two rows in 5' width. That's 30" per row. We have the same 5' width, but put the two rows close together and provide a wide aisle.
The narrow beds allow us to use half the water and half the fertilizer while reducing weeding, keeping the garden dry and inhospitable to bugs and disease, and increase yields substantially.
There is no need to have your soil tested. If you use the Pre-Plant and Weekly Feed formulas as provided you will have a great garden
You must learn to grow vertically, and religiously prune and remove sucker stems. Otherwise your plants will become a mass of stems and leaves and your production will fall DRAMATICALLY! Remember this when you forget to do those two things and you have a mess on your hands - and don't blame the Method, because without proper pruning and suckering it's NOT the method.
The fertilizers will work great for all your fruit trees. Go to the FAQ section of the www.growfood. com website and look under Trees as a subject.
Best of success to you.