Saturday, March 22, 2008

Feeding your plants thru the pvc pipes

I am a disabled veteran and hope to be able to produce enough crops to
get off of disability. Unfortunately my check barely covers food and
living expenses so I've not purchased the books. Sorry. I've been
gleaning as much as I can through this group but here's a question I
haven't found an answer to. How can I accurately, or can I accurately
feed the nutrients through the pvc pipes? I have several acres and
hope to create a pick your own farm. That would help me with labor

p.s. can you tell me where to purchase the Boron and other stuff at
the cheapest price? Once things get going money won't be such a problem.

Bob & Group:

Automating your watering will be very nice, will save water, and make watering much easier and faster.

However, if you think the books are expensive you may need to think twice before you plan on automating the watering for several acres of gardens. That will likely cost a few thousand dollars.

Figure this out: 1 acre = 250 soil-beds 30'-long. That one acre will require 7500' of Schedule 200 PVC pipe, plus fittings and ball valves.

You'll need to drill 67,500 holes for those 250 pipes also, unless you pay someone else to do it. Bud don't despair, they go quickly.

You'll also need 2" main-line piping across the head of your garden, and 1 1/2" pipe in front of each row. Plus you'll need threaded step-down "T's" at each row with threaded risers and threaded elbows.

Where we live that will add up costing some serious money. By the way, I've done this for my Zoo Garden in Salt Lake City, Utah, and it has SURELY been worth it!

To answer your question about the nutrients: Yes you can, if you have a way of introducing the fertilizer concentrate into the pipes. Of course that will also cost some $.

But don't let me discourage you - go for it! You can even find the chapter on automating your watering system - from The Mittleider Gardening Course - in the Store section of the website at www.growfood. com. It's free.

Jim Kennard

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Friday, March 21, 2008

When to add preplant mix


I cannot remember whether we are supposed to use preplant mix in the
vegetable garden boxes each Spring before we plant new vegetable
seedlings. Thanks ahead for your response.


Helen & Group:

Pre-Plant Mix is to be added to both containers (Grow-Boxes) and
soil-beds before each crop is planted. In fact, if you plant two or three
crops in the same beds in the same year, you need to apply Pre-Plant each

Jim Kennard

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Correct adjustments to fertilizers other then 20-20-20

I have 4 questions:

1. I'm still in El Paso... I can't locate the 16-16-16, 16-8-16
blend. I've only been able to find 13-13-13. I mixed the weekly feed
but I'm not sure if I need to add anything else to bring the numbers up.

2. I mixed the pre-plant but if I remember correctly, when I purchased
this pre-mixed from you, was it blended with fertilizer as well?
Because after adding the 3 ingredients (boron, epson salt and gypsum)
together, it was pretty much a power. Need some help here...

3. I transplanted some romaine lettuce that I purchaced from the store
into my 5 gal (prepared) buckets I use for my garden. I also
fertilized with the weekly feed only the plants are turning brown and
dying. It's not hot here yet and I had no problem last year with the
lettuce. However, I was using a 16-16-16 fertilizer.

4. Started tomatoes from seed. They just started coming up but the
initial leaves breaking the surface are turning yellow almost
immediately. This has never happened before.

Any suggestions?


1. You can use 13-13-13 with the Micro-Mix the way it is and it's not bad. You might need to give your plants an extra feeding during the growing season.

2. The pre-mixed fertilizer we sell through the stores in Utah, Idaho and wyoming contains some NPK as well. If you want to mix a batch, just mix together the following:

10# - 34-0-0 or 16# 21-0-0, 25# - 0-45-0, 25# - 0-0-60, 1# Epsom Salt, 1/5# Solubor (boron), and 115# gypsum.

3. The problem with your lettuce might have to do with drainage, the amount of fertilizer you're using, or even a disease or something else. I'm sorry I can't tell you better. The difference between 16-16-16 and 13-13-13 should NOT be the source of your problem, if you're using the same amounts.

4. How's the drainage in your seedling flats? Do your flats have good direct sunlight? What is the amount of Weekly Feed that you're using in your Constant Feed solution? It should be only 1 ounce in 3 gallons of water.

Jim Kennard

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Growbox sizes 18 inches 4 feet or five feet??

Jim this is something I still get confused about. (sorry)

My thought is always go with 18 inch growboxes because it allows you
to prune properly the plants get the amount of sun they need and the
roots get space to grow.

How does a person get to the inner sides of the plants to prune with
the 4 four beds? I understand that 4 foot beds still work ok, but I
am going for 100% max. yields.

I could see a 6.5 foot bed with 3.5 feet in the middle but that seems
like a waste of soil material.


Steve & Group:

Sometimes pruning the two inside rows of plants in a 4'-wide box can be a challenge. That's one of the reasons Jacob Mittleider changed his standard-size box from 5'-wide to 4'-wide. The gains from having the same number of plants in 4', instead of 5' usually makes the extra effort worth it.

For plants that are grown only 2 rows in a 4'-wide box it's not much problem, obviously, just reach around to the back side of the plant.

Jim Kennard

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