Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Compare Mittleider Method With Commercial Produce Growers

Q. The commercial produce growers in my area use black plastic with drip lines. They mix fertilizer in their irrigation water and pump it to the plants. What makes the Mittleider method more productive and efficient?

A. Large commercial growers of things like lettuce, cabbage, etc., who water and feed accurately, especially those who feed regularly right in the water supply, and who eliminate weeds completely, are at least as good and productive as the Mittleider Method. They also have very large investments in materials and equipment.

The Mittleider Method is sometimes called "the poor man's hydroponic method" because it borrows principles and procedures from the large hydroponic, greenhouse, and field growers, and adapts and sizes them to the small family farmer and family-size garden. And we produce great yields without the large capital investment large growers must face.

Most family gardeners don't understand the importance of a constant water supply, just to the root zone of the plants. They don't appreciate the value of regular feeding with a complete, balanced nutrient, and they don't realize how much weeds rob their garden of nutrients that are essential to the well-being of their vegetable plants.

Beyond those three principles, the Mittleider Method teaches vertical growing, with the attendant pollinating, pruning, and protection issues the hydroponic growers handle so well.

These are the primary elements that set the Mittleider Method apart from typical or traditional FAMILY GARDENING and make it SIMILAR to (not better than) hydroponic and large commercial growers.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Storing water for the garden and future use

With the economic situation I think we should all stockup on everything

We have a number of 55 gallon barrels with water, but I feel
less than totally secure drinking out of them, and using chemicals, etc. to
treat it is almost worse. If we were without gas and power, boiling could
be a problem, although I have a solar oven that can not only be used to cook
(I have made meals and baked bread in it.), but one could boil/sterilize
water in it as well. When we were without water at the house for a few days,
I used water from the larger containers to flush toilets and clean things
(chlorox is pretty good at killing any microbes), and I had boxes of two
liter soda bottles I had rinsed out and filled with water. I just filled
them with tap, but sealed up, the chlorine from the tap water couldn't
evaporate, so it was perfectly o.k. as drinking water and didn't taste bad.
Of course, storing seeds to sprout can be a source of fresh vegetables even
in the winter when your garden may be dormant. Sprouts tend to have a lot of
vitamins, minerals and key enzymes you may not get in stored food, and some
sprouts, like soybeans can be refrigerated after they get big enough to eat
and will continue to increase in vitamin C for several days in the

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