Building Mittleider grow beds

In just a few hours a class of beginners in this Mittleider gardening course  were able to transform this bare patch of ground into a bunch of Mittleider grow beds.  The raised bed allows for proper drainage.  The edges of the gore bed have a raised ridge to confine water during daily watering.  Watering just the grow beds and not the entire garden reduces your water consumption and helps to cut down on weeds. 
   

  

Growing tomatoes vertically in a Mittleider gardenĀ 

These tomatoes are being grown vertically as part of the Mittlieder Gardening Method in Kidder, MO.   They’re pruned and wound around heavy bailing twine to maximize the sunlight and air to the plants while making it easy to harvest.  No wire cages to fight here!   The 2×4 is just over 7 feet from the ground.  Some of those tomato plants are 10 feet tall.

This week I’ve been attending a Mittleider gardening course and have had the opportunity see the system implemented and learn so much.   I will have many more Mittleider posts in the future as I convert my traditional garden to a Mittlieder

  
 

Digging potatoes today and begging a Mittleider garden

It was a little muddy digging these potatoes after the 2 1/8″ of rain we recently received but it was time for them to come out.  My potatoes have never done extremely well, with few getting large and many of them misshapen.  I’ve always contributed it to our soil and have always just accepted it.  

Recently I’ve begun paying attention to a guy on YouTube who goes by the handle of LDSPrepper and ultilizes the Mittleider gardening method to grow all of their vegetables.  Of particular interest to me are the grow boxes where they utilize a mix of sawdust and sand as the growing medium.  

I’m going to attempt my next crop of potatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots in such a setup next year.   My thought is that the sawdust and sand won’t compact like our soil and make it easier for potatoes and carrots to grow large.    We will be converting our traditional garden over to the Mittleider system.
  

The first tomato for the year

Soph went out this morning and took this picture of our first tomato to begin turning red.  It is an heirloom variety, Mr Stripey, and is our first year growing it.   It should be ready for picking in a couple more days.  If we like it then we will save some seeds for next year.   

We have three different heirloom varaties that we are growing this year, two of them are new to us.  In addition to the Mr Stripey I’m once again growing the purple Cherokee that I enjoy.   Our other new variety is a yellow pear cherry.  I enjoy the bite size tomatoes but Soph is crazy about them.  
 

Switching to sexlink chickens

Last fall we had something kill all of our silver laced Wyandotte chickens when they were locked outside over night.   After some thought I’ve decided to switch to sexlinks.  Each spring I will alternate buying a few of either red or black.  This will make it easy to identify which hens are two years old and need butchered. My second year buying reds will give me black sexlinks,that are a year old and reds that are approaching 2 years and ready for making chicken stock.

Our local farm supply store didn’t have any sexlinks the week we were ready for chicks so we ended up mail ordering them.  Some guy wasn’t paying attention during the ordering process and ordered straight run instead of pullets.   So while these cockerels in the picture with Sid are white they are indeed red sexlinks.  The cockerels will all be butchered in a few weeks

I’ve had the reds in years past and really like their temperament and brown eggs.   Two years ago I decided to try something new and went with the Wyandotte.  I liked them and thought they were a beautiful bird but feel egg production was better with the sexlinks.

The disadvantage to the sexlinks is that they don’t breed back true.  The only way to keep sexlinks around for me will be to buy some each year.  This is why we decided  to butcher cockerels instead of keeping them to propagate the flock. 

  
 

Raccoons at the chicken house

i came out to look in the garden to see if rabbits were getting past the electric fence that just went in.  As I came out the door I saw the eyes of 4 raccoons down at the chicken house in the beam of my flash light.  There was an adult and 3 young ones.  I was able to walk to about 15 feet from them before they began to scatter.   This little guy bumped into the bucket while trying to escape and fell into it when trying to jump over the obstacle.

They were eating some corn that got spilled on the ground (you can see it in the picture) and not eating any of our animals.  After showing the girls this young of the year raccoon I trumped over the bucket and sent it on its way.  

So long as they’re not breaking into the coop and killing our critters they’ll not be shot but may be trapped this fall.