Friday, July 18, 2008

Mittleider gardening classes

Hi again with questions.

Are there ever classes taught on this method? I'd never heard of this
until I read a blog belonging to another Idahoan who does it
successfully. I think this is a wonderful gardening method, one I am
transforming my garden with!


Beth & Group:

We are only able to teach in-person classes when we get a large group together who are willing to commit substantial time to becoming gardening experts. This most often happens in the developing countries as the result of a Humanitarian Project - and takes the form of a 3 month-long intensive agronomy course.

In America we are able to get people to listen for 2-4 HOURS, and so we conduct 1/2 day seminars to groups. The seminars are free, but our costs have to be covered, so most of what we've done has been within a few hours drive of Salt Lake City, Utah in the past.

We moved to Birmingham, Alabama last year, and we are actually being asked to do a couple of seminars in Tennessee and Kentucky, so if any of you live in those states you may want to consider identifying yourselves so we can include you if we pull one or both of these off.

Meanwhile, for those who are serious about wanting to really learn and become a Master Mittleider Gardener, we have digitized Dr. Mittleider's Gardening Training Videos - about 75 of them - for $97. They can't be found on the website yet, but must be ordered directly from me - jim@growfood. com.

These are used daily in the 3 month training projects we conduct around the world, and there is a wealth of information, with something in the neighborhood of 7,500 color slides, narration, and scrolling text, and covering every facet of vegetable gardening, as well as showing gardening projects in over 20 countries around the world.

Jim Kennard

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Gardening and health and good karma

My mother tells me that I've been planting seeds since I was 7 years
old - I asked her - if I plant this pumpkin seed - will it grow some
pumpkins? - She replied - only if I really cared for it...

There has never been a year without a garden. I grew up being
indoctrinated in the J. I. Rodale's Organic Gardening school of total
disdain for that evil factory fertilizer.

The gardens have always produced something, but when I moved to
Pinole, a suburb of San Francisco - very much a foggy coastal climate
- the tomatoes didn't ripen - the potatoes never sized to any thing
worth taking in for dinner - the thornless blackberries were mostly
small and totally seed - and I knew all the reasons/excuses why -
- - because - I know more than you.....

Four and half years ago I died. With the Grace of God and a skilled
heart doctor, and a kidney surgeon that tossed out the tumored right
one, I began a slow recovery. My garden didn't do too well during
that first year.

I decided that, having been given a second chance, I would quit the
ways of the first 50 years and try to LISTEN to that voice that daily
offered direction for most of Life's profound and silly questions.
So, my garden attitude began to change from one of knowing, to that of
listening - trying new things (arrogance & tradition hadn't work too
well, so why not...).

You have been messing with my head for many years. I've bought your
books twice, but couldn't make myself even try what you taught. Talk
about a slow learner! Last year I started to apply your techniques,
and some of that "evil poison for the soil" ---

it was a letter - you responded quite simply to that classic question
about the use of the chemical fertilizer - constant and small
quantities - something changed, and now in my "real" second
year as a Mittleider novice, the garden just works - strong,
beautiful plants - more BIG tomatoes already this year than the last
15 years put together - - - strange though - still the same summer
chill every night - still the same frequent foggy, cool days, same
beds of clay (although I did put a layer of saw dust on some of them).

I trust that our planet will have the courage to let go of the
stifling prejudice that dooms each next generation to the bondage of

Please keep up the effort to teach us - it's a slow process -

I AM grateful for your help.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

New to the mittleider method whats the fertilier all about

I, also, have just found out about this method. I got the book and
read faithfully after I had put in most of the garden. I have
planted 13 tomato plants in a row about 25 feet long. Finally tying
them up was educational. I did it this morning. I have pipe above
about 6 foot and used clothes line to tie them up. Cutting off the
strong shoots hurt me and probably put the plants into shock. I did
keep the shoots that were flowering so three of the plants have two
strong stems tied up. What do I do with the one that is really a
bush of many small shoots. I left it alone for now and will try to
treat it as a bush and only thin it a little.

OK - Do I dress the plants with the #1 and weekly now? This is the
first time this land has been used as a veg garden. I tilled it last
fall and twice this spring prior to planting anything. I did no
testing of the soil nor did I add anything prior to planting. At
planting I added 16,16,16. What should I do now to my corn, zuchinni
and acorn squash, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant.

Keeping up with the weeds is daily work.

Thanks for being such a good recourse.

With plants 2' apart you can certainly let more than one stem grow. Keep them guided around your "string", and prune future sucker stems.

Is the tomato that looks like a bush a determinate? If it's roma, celebrity, or other patio variety then leave it a bush. It it's indeterminate you're best served to try and limit the stems, or it will be all stems and little fruit.

If you did not add calcium to your soil before planting I would certainly do THAT now. Make the Pre-Plant formula by combining lime (or gypsum if you receive less than 20" of annual rainfall), Epsom Salts, and 20 Mule Team Borax in a ratio of 80-4-1. Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) per running foot, and work into the top inch or two of the soil, along with the #1 (Weekly Feed) mix.

Each week after doing this make-up feeding apply the Weekly Feed mix to your rows of plants at the rate of 1/2 ounce (one tablespoon) per running foot.. Corn is fed only until it tassels. The others are best fed until 8 weeks before the first expected fall frost.

Jim Kennard

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