Friday, April 11, 2008

Large scale Mittleider gardening yes it works.

I'm a newbie, and just love what you are doing.
I will be making some Grow Beds this gardening season
and using Mittleider Method's.
I also have some pasture land and would like to try the
Mitteider Method on 2 or 3 acres. If possible?
How much pre-plant would I use per acre?
How much Micro-nutrients per acre?
How often?


Hillwert & Group:

If you are broadcasting you need 1,000 pounds per acre. If you are applying it into just the bed area you need 500 pounds (250 30' beds per acre).

Do not use the micro-nutrients by themselves. They are only to be used after mixing with the proper amount of NPK and magnesium sulfate.

Weekly Feed is applied in 1/2 the quantities Pre-Plant is, but it's applied several times. If you were growing wheat you would apply 500# if broadcasting, and 250 if applying just to the planted areas.

Jim Kennard

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Companion planting yes or no?

I want to grow 1000 tomato plants using the Mittleiter method,
interspersing another 1000 basil and a handful of good
companion plants such as garlic, onion, marigold, melon...

(We don't recommend companion planting at all - JK)

How many grow boxes should I make to fit them all?

I know the formula for 'normal' agriculture is nine square
feet for each plant, but I figure using this method, I will
need a lot less space, right?

(25 18"-wide Grow-Boxes of 30' in length will grow 1,000 tomato plants. This would require 3,750 square feet of garden space.

If you use 4'-wide beds you can plant 2 rows in 7 1/2' width, giving you 1,000 plants in 2,812 square feet of garden space.

Of course in order to do this you have to grow those plants vertically, and we recommend the use of T-Frames to do that.

Jim Kennard

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Is the Mittleider method organic yes or no?

Question: "Is this method OMRI approved. I was told at Steve Regan it
was not organic. Please enlighten me." Patricia

I've written quite a few articles - in the archives of the Group and
in the FAQ section of the www.growfood. com website - on this subject,
and you can find out more by reading some of them. I'll try to give
you a brief answer here:

All of the natural mineral nutrients used in the Mittleider fertilizer
formulas are approved by the USDA for use in organic gardening. And
in my personal garden, which is seen by about 800,000 people each
year, we use no pesticides, fungicides, or herbicides.

We are more concerned with producing healthy crops by feeding them
exactly what they need, and in using the best cultural practices to
avoid diseases, bugs, and weeds than in using only manure, compost,
bone meal, etc.

For the past 45 years Dr. Mittleider (37 years) and I (8+ years) have
spent much of our time conducting Family Food Production training
projects in 31 countries. In those countries as well as others around
the world people do the very best they can using only organic methods
- and many of them are starving. And it's not uncommon for families
in developing countries to spend 70 to 80% of their time providing for
their food.

Meanwhile their gardens are often filled with weeds, bugs, and
diseases - often spread by the very organic materials they use to
fertilize their gardens. Even in America a great many gardeners are
arguably hurt more by the weeds, bugs, and diseases their unsterilized
organic materials bring into their gardens than they are helped by
their fertilizer content.

And many others here and abroad end up burning their sprouting seeds
and tiny seedlings by applying too much fertilizer salts to their
gardens at the beginning, and then having their plants stop producing
in mid-season because they are starving for mineral nutrients.

We teach them a better, safer, cleaner, and more productive way of
growing food, part of which includes applying only very small amounts
of balanced mineral nutrients several times to assure even healthy
growth throughout the plants' growth and production cycle.

We believe some of the most zealous organic gardeners are actually
replicating the same primitive 18th and 19th century methods we
encounter in the developing countries, while we are trying hard to
help people everywhere learn some of the scientific principles and
procedures that have allowed one American farmer to feed more than 100
of us, in a better and healthier way.

That may be why some people say the Mittleider Method is "the best of
organic." I just say that you - and everyone - can have "a great
garden in any soil, in virtually any climate", and I travel the world
to demonstrate that reality to all who are interested in and willing
to improve their food production methods and results.

Jim Kennard

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Can I leave grass between my soilbeds?

I will have a small residential garden (3 20 ft rows) to start. Is it
OK to leave grass between the rows?


Bill & Group:

I consider it a very bad idea for several reasons.
1. How do you water it? If by sprinkling you will also water the vegetables the same way, which wastes much water and encourages weeds, bugs, and diseases.
2. If you don't water it it becomes ugly and unpleasant.
3. Either way it is a haven for bugs and disease.
4. The grass will constantly be invading your soil-beds or Grow-Boxes.

There may be more reasons, but it's late and I've got to call it a day.

Jim Kennard

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Monday, April 07, 2008

Correct sizes for growboxes

In many of the books the Grow-Box width is very different. What is the
latest recommendation on the ideal size of Grow-Box width? 1 foot? 18
inches? 4 feet?


Mite & Group:

Thanks for the question. The need for the question illustrates the
fact that Dr. Jacob Mittleider experimented with the different aspects
of his growing procedures throughout the many years of his worldwide
humanitarian work. He tested and measured the results of everything
he did, to determine the very best way to do things.

In 1975, when his second book More Food From Your Garden came out,
Jacob was advocating Grow-Boxes of 5' width, often with plants growing
in rows across the width of the box. He taught and demonstrated
growing in that size box for a number of years - always with great
success. And even today there are thousands of growers - even
commercial growers - who swear by their 5'boxes.

He also sometimes grew in boxes that were only 1' wide during those
years. And some of the boxes shown in the book Let's Grow Tomatoes
are 1' wide.

Over the years, however, after much experimenting with different
sizes, Jacob settled on a height of 8" and widths of 18" and 4' as
being ideal for growing vegetables, and those are the sizes we teach,
demonstrate, and advocate today.

Eighteen inch-wide boxes or beds are excellent for growing one (large
and climbing plants) or two rows of any vegetable crops, and usually
work best in the family garden situation. Four foot-wide boxes or
beds allow for even more concentrated growing of crops for serious
growers. However, when using 4'-wide boxes or beds more careful plant
spacing and pruning are necessary to assure plants have adequate light
throughout the growing season.

Large crops should only be planted in two rows lengthwise of the box
or bed and on the outside edges. And smaller crops can be planted in
four rows one foot apart, starting at the outside edges. This gives
only a 2'-wide "aisle" in the center, rather than the 3 1/2'-wide
aisle we normally recommend.

It's that narrow center aisle that saves a foot and a half of space,
but it's also what makes proper spacing and more diligent and careful
pruning so important.

I recommend you use narrow boxes or beds when starting out, and then
perhaps work with some of 4' width as you gain experience in caring
for a high-yield intensive garden.

I will try to download some pictures of the Model garden we created
and grew in Popayan, Colombia in the next day or two, to show you some
4'-wide "double beds" in action.

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