Tag Archives: Mittleider

Mittleider Gardening Method

What is the Mittleider Gardening Method?

So what is the Mittleider Gardening Method, who created it and how is it different? The Mittleider gardening method is a complete system that was developed to allow any gardener to grow a healthy garden in any climate and type of soil.  It is a system that ensures the plants have all 16 nutrients they require.  Those nutrients are added on a weekly basis.  It was developed to be easy and inexpensive for anyone in any part of the world.

It is a system that was named after the man who developed it, Dr. Jacob Mittleider.  It allows the gardener to combine the best parts of growing in soil with the results of hydroponic gardening.  It allows us to get results similar to hydroponic gardeners but without the massive costs.  The Mittleider garden is known as the poor mans hydroponics system.

Mittleider gardening method growing tomatoes vertically
Mittleider gardening method growing tomatoes vertically

 

Dr. Jacob R Mittleider

Jacob Mittleider perfected this system over the course of 43 years to allow gardeners to maximize the use of their resources, space and even their time.  The amount plants are large in a Mittleider garden because the crops are grown close together and through nourishing the plants with natural minerals.  No special or expensive equipment is needed to apply the nutrients!

Jacob R Mittleider - creator of the Mittleider Gardening Method
Jacob Mittleider – creator of the Mittleider Gardening Method

Six laws of plant growth

Jacob Mittleider defined the six laws of plant growth.  These scientific laws of plant growth are non-nonnegotiable  yet very few gardeners follow or fully understand them.  If the gardener can figure out these 6 laws of plant growth and implement them in their Mittleider garden they will see a bountiful harvest.  Ignore just one of these six laws of plant growth and your garden could be a total loss.

A quick outline of the six laws of plant growth:

  1. Light
  2. Temperature
  3. Air
  4. Water
  5. Nutrition
  6. Competition

 

A mittleider garden comprised of soil beds and grow boxes
A Mittleider garden can be grown in your own soil or even a grow box full of sand and sawdust

Mittleider gardens provide all the nutrients plants require

Because all the required nutrients are provided on a weekly basis a Mittleider garden can be grown in any soil, even sand and sawdust! Traditional gardening methods provide very few of the required 16 nutrients.  When you provide all the nutrients necessary your plants will grow large, taste better and resist disease far better than an underfed plant.  Regardless of how nutrient poor your soil may be, you can grow a Mittleider garden.

The first three nutrients the plant is able to provide its self with access to the air.  Those three airborne nutrients are :

  • Oxygen (O)
  • Hydrogen (H)
  • Carbon (C)

Next comes the primary nutrients.  These three macro nutrients are:

  • Nitrogen (N)
  • Phosphorus (P)
  • Potassium (K)

The secondary nutrients are sometimes used in traditional gardens. Of the three secondary nutrients magnesium is often used for tomatoes.  The three secondary nutrients are:

  • Calcium (Ca)
  • Magnesium (Mg)
  • Sulfur (S)

The last of the nutrients needed by all plants are known as the micro-nutrients or as the trace elements.  There are 7 of them:

  • Boron (B)
  • Copper (Cu)
  • Iron (Fe)
  • Manganese (Mn)
  • Zinc (Zn)
  • Molybdenum (Mo)
  • Chlorine (Cl)

Mittlieder Gardening Method maximizes garden space

To maximize the available garden space, Dr. Jacob Mittleider began to grow vertically.  For example, tomatoes can be grown a mere 9 inches apart when utilizing the Mittleider method and grown vertically under t-posts or a frames.  That is 13 tomato plants being grown in one row that is merely 10 feet long!

When grown vertically a 170 pound test, or greater, baling twine is used to direct the tomato plants to grow vertically.  The twine is wrapped around the plant as it grows.   Every other tomato is trained up the twine in different directions towards the top of structure to a heavy gauge wire.  If the gardener stands at one end of the row and looks toward the other they would see a “V” shape as shown in the picture below.

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While the plants grow upwards they get further apart allowing them all access to sunlight and the air.  Air and light are laws 1 and 3 of the six laws of plant growth.  The gardener will prune the tomatoes or other vertical crop as they grow. As a result of pruning the plants are all able to get access to sunlight and air as they grow towards the top.

Growing vertically such crop as crooked neck squash keeps you from tripping on the vines and breaking plants.  Going vertical makes weed control such much easier.  Pruning, visual inspections for disease and insects and even harvesting is such much easier with crops grown vertically.

Use less water and help control weeds with the Mittleider gardening method

Watering a Mittleider garden soil bed is easy and uses less water than a traditional garden.  A Mittleider soil bed is raised to permit good drainage.  It has ridges to contain the water inside a 12 inch wide area.  Because the water is only given to the plants in a narrow row, less water is used.  When the water is contained inside the grow bed ridges no water gets into the isles to encourage weed growth.  As a result of watering a narrow row there is far less water used as compared to traditional gardening methods.

Where can you learn more about the Mittleider gardening method

James (Jim) Kennard now runs the Food For Everyone foundation and maintains the website.  You can learn more about the history of the Mittleider Gardening Method and even order the book from the Grow Food website.   Jim and Araksya run a Mittleider group on Facebook.  For those who like forums to share and search different topics relating to a Mittleider garden try the Mittleider Gardening Forums.

The MGC is the instruction manual for growing a Mittleider garden
The Mittleider Gardening Course book the instruction manual for growing a Mittleider garden

If you’re interested in trying out the Mittleider method you can even download the first 7 lessons in a digital format from the Mittleider Gardening Course Book for FREE.  Those lessons cover everything you need to know to grow a Mittleider garden in your own soil.

Can you take classes on Mittleider gardening method?

Indeed you can.  The Food for Everyone Foundation offers week long classes each year in Missouri and Idaho.   These Mittleider Training Courses (MTC) are described as:

“…the Mittleider Training Course (MTC) is a one-week intensive immersion experience in this amazing system of growing, and for those who experience it their paradigm is forever changed. They KNOW how to grow a highly successful garden and they also have the confidence to assist, teach, and demonstrate success to others.”

For the visual learners who use YouTube

Finally, for the visual learners you can follow us on YouTube.  We are still learning how to do the whole video thing so please be patient with us.

Mittleider garden – grow in your own soil

Grow in your own soil on a budget

We are putting together this video series on how to grow a Mittleider garden cheaply and to grow in your soil.  Most homes already have the tools needed to grow in your own soil.  With a little of your labor you can have your own beds in and ready for the next step before planting.

With these tools you can grow in your soil
With these tools you can grow in your own soil

You don’t have to garden in grow boxes to have a Mittleider garden

There seems to be this misconception that one has to have expensive grow boxes to grow a Mittleider garden.  That is absolutely not true.  You can grow as good of a garden in your own soil for a lot less money.

Grow in your own soil
Using the Mittleider method allows you to grow in your own soil

But you don’t understand, my soil is horrible

Those words are heard a lot when trying to convince someone to stop amending their soil and grow with the Mittleider method. You can grow in your soil.  Because we provide all the nutrients the plant needs on a weekly basis the lack of nutrition in your soil is entirely irrelevant.  With the Mittleider gardening Method the soil is used for the following:

  1. it provides the plant with anchorage and protection for the roots
  2. Holds air and water for the plant
  3. It stores the nutrition we apply to the soil beds
  4. regulates temperature
  5. provides drainage
Grow in your own soil with raised Mittleider beds
Raised Mittlieder beds allow you to grow in your own soil

Get the 7 lessons on growing in your own soil for FREE

Jim Kennard and the Food for Everyone foundation has been gracious enough to offer the first 7 lessons out of the new Mittleider Gardening Course book for FREE !!  Just use my link and download your own copy in a searchable PDF file.

YouTube video series – grow in your own soil

This is an ongoing series on how to grow an inexpensive garden in your own soil.  Be sure to subscribe to see future videos to learn how you too can grow in your soil.

 

changes to the in garden greenhouse

Changes to the in garden greenhouse

Recently we made changes to the in garden greenhouse.  Arguable some of these changes are improvements.  They were all minor additions that didn’t add much cost to the project.  Ideally these changes would have been made and implemented during the build.  If you are considering building this I’d highly suggest altering your build plans to include these changes.

changes to the in garden greenhouse
changes to the in garden greenhouse

During our time with the Mittleider in garden greenhouse I’ve changed a few things about it and added my own personalized touches to it.  I’ve outlined these things in this little video we shot today.

We built the in garden greenhouse from the instructions provided in the Mittleider Gardening Course book.  We don’t provide a supplemental heat source to it, but are able to increase our growing season by about 6 to 8 weeks.   It allows us to start planting hardy plants 3-4 weeks before our average last frost of the year.

After the first frost of the year it also allows us to continue growing and protecting our vegetables by simply closing it up and protecting the plants from the cold.  On a sunny day we can easily see temperatures inside the  greenhouse rise 30 degrees above the outside temperatures.

Watch our video to see the changes we made

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 grow bed have a raised ridge to contain 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 garden 

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 begining 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.