Friday, November 07, 2008

Mittleider Organic or not?

Thank you for some wonderful advice! Just wanted to clarify some things you wrote in this email.

My garden has become a focal point for the Master Gardeners in this area and I will be demonstrating the Mittleider Method to all of them next spring.

I am still a bit confused about:
1. What is the difference between the fertilizers we use
a. the 13 trace mineral packet mixed with
b. Triple 16
and "organic fertilizer"?

2. Do you not recommend building our own compost piles?


The fertilizers we use and recommend are natural mineral nutrients - ground-up rocks, some of which have gone through a simple cleaning and concentration process to assure we get exactly what we bargained for, which is "the most for our money".

Every one of the fertilizers used in mixing Mittleider Magic Weekly Feed and Pre-Plant mixes have been approved by the USDA for use in an organic gardening operation.

Some folks have gone so far with the "organic fertilizer" thing that they won't use anything but manures, compost, egg shells, blood & bone meal, etc. They believe that anything other than those constitutes a "chemical" and is somehow harmful.

The truth is that - as Organic Gardening magazine's J. I. Rodale said - "We've gone too far. . . a plant can't tell the difference between nitrogen from a leaf and that from a fertilizer bag."

Furthermore, everything in this world is a chemical. All the elements in manure and compost are chemicals. So how did we get into this mess?

Years ago people were hearing that things like DDT were dangerous to fish, birds, animals, etc. and the movement to ban those powerful substances gained momentum until many useful chemicals were totally banned worldwide. And today millions of African children die of malaria when they could be saved simply by using DDT to eradicate the mosquitoes.

We humans often allow the pendulum to swing too far, and I believe it has swung too far in the organic gardening movement, when people refuse to use ground-up rocks that contain exactly what their plants need to thrive, and instead limit themselves to the use of materials the exclusive use of which kept 20-25%% of our ancestors on the farm in order to feed the rest of us (today I believe it's less than 1%).

I've also seen the pictorial proof Dr. Mittleider accumulated worldwide of the problems unsterilized manure and compost cause in gardens, with crop destroying diseases, bugs, and weed seeds.

So, if organic materials are CLEAN I say it's fine to till them into the garden. But how many of us KNOW our compost and manure are clean?

Unless they are composted aerobically at sustained temperatures over 140 degrees Fahrenheit whatever was in them - and whatever else may invite itself into the pile in the composting process - will end up alive and well in your garden.

So, to answer your second question, If you will compost your materials at a constant temperature of 140+ - the way the "Zoo-Doo Man" did (see article in Files section) - you can probably use them in the garden without worry of bringing bad things into your garden.

But that still doesn't answer the question about WHAT GOOD your compost is doing. Does ANYONE know which nutrients, or how much of each is contained in the compost or manure they are putting on their gardens? I would guess there's not one in 100 people who submit their compost or manure to an accurate soil test before applying it to their garden. And so they are guessing on what they are giving their plants.

In order to make "sure" they have enough, and to avoid the trouble of multiple applications, manure and compost gardeners apply the amount they hope will feed the whole crop ALL AT ONCE at the beginning.

This creates three problems: First, germinating seeds and small seedlings are often burned and killed by too much salinity; second, excess fertilizer salts are sometimes leached into the ground water; and third, the nutrition from the manure gives out after a few weeks, and the crop stops producing just when it should be at its strongest.

I believe the points I've covered above explain to some degree why the Mittleider Method is referred to by many of its adherents as "the best of organic".


Monday, November 03, 2008

How to help us spead the message about the Mittleider method of sustainable garden.

Knowledge of the Mittleider Method of sustainable gardening makes you
one of the "vital few," and with that knowledge comes both opportunity
and responsibility.

In The Tipping Point Malcolm Gladwell describes how a few people can
make a tremendous positive difference for everyone else, which he
compares to an epidemic.

You need to help Start An Epidemic of Family Gardening - Why?

Because your garden can FEED you -- even when:
• Your car won't run because there's no gasoline (or you can't afford
to buy it) ...
• There's no food to buy in the stores ... or
• There's no money (or not enough) to buy food for whatever reason.

This is the overriding reason why the message YOU carry is so vital
for everyone.

And gardening should be sustainable, using true, proven principles and
the best methods and techniques, so it will yield the "most bang for
the buck," and be worthwhile and enjoyable for the long term.

The Mittleider Method can feed you and those around you! It can give
you "the garden you'd want if your life depended on it." And it very
well may.

The best growing principles, methods and procedures have been the
closely guarded secrets of the large field and hydroponic growers,
meanwhile, the large majority of gardening families are back in the
19th century, using only manure and compost, scared into believing
that ANY use of "chemicals" will threaten their health, or even their

What makes the Mittleider Method so unique - and so vitally important
- is that it teaches the best principles, methods, and techniques used
by large commercial and hydroponic growers, but adapted to the small
family garden. It works in any soil, and in almost any climate. The
procedures are easy to learn, simple and straightforward.

In addition, the Mittleider Method eliminates the problems so often
associated with large-scale commercial food production, such as
overuse of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, high cost, and lack
of freshness and flavor.

Now here's your opportunity ... and my challenge to you!

Great changes have always been initiated by just a few people who knew
what they wanted, were focused, and were willing to share their
knowledge with everyone they could influence.

I challenge each of you to be among the "vital few" who help people
around you improve their lives while preparing for the uncertainties
of the future.


By promoting, teaching, and demonstrating what you're learning about
the Mittleider Method of sustainable gardening, and getting others to
do the same.

Choose a group of people with whom you have a genuine, social
relationship. Your church group, email list, gardening club, voting
district, family, or neighborhood association are all good places to

Show them your own garden. Tell them of your own success. Loan them a
book or CD. Offer to teach a seminar. Point out the benefits of
learning and doing it NOW, before their need is urgent and it's too
late to learn or prepare.

Share articles, tips and advice from the Food for Everyone Foundation
Website. Share back issues of Sustainable Gardening Ezine and
encourage people to subscribe.

Even if you do nothing more than persuade them to buy a can of
vegetable seeds and a couple bags of fertilizer, you've done
tremendous good. A triple-sealed #10 can of 16 heirloom vegetable
varieties that can be stored for many years can be purchased at the
Foundation website www.growfood. com or at www.mvseeds. com.

Do something NOW! Make your voice heard, and your influence felt. You
CAN make a difference for good in the world around you.

It's time to spread an epidemic ... (Not bird flu. The gardening "bug!")

We can do it. And remember: "out of small things proceedeth that which
is great."

Thanks for your interest in gardening, your willingness to do it
right, and your courage to share.

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