Continuing on in our Abundant Garden Series; this is the final segment in our highlight of the Mittleider Gardening Series.
My 3rd criteria for a gardening method is that it MUST be preparedness oriented. Meaning, if I can do it today when everything is hunky dory, but I can’t do it tomorrow when there’s a financial collapse or a long-term power outage, then that just won’t work for me. I need something in which I can truly prepare for TODAY in order to use it 5 years or 10 years from now. Fortunately, the Mittleider Gardening Method DOES satisfy that need. The micronutrients that are harvested from the bottom of the ocean floor have an unlimited shelf-life—at least one that’s longer than you or I are ever expected to live. So that means that I can stock up on several bags of the nutrients now and have them when I’m gardening 10 years from now. The micronutrients, combined with the Epsom salts and the standard base fertilizer of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium (in amount s of 13-13-13 to as high a 22-22-22) is widely available and have a shelf-life as long as the micronutrients and should most definitely be a focus in the plans of any self-respecting prepper.
Furthermore, the methods TO garden are simple enough and fit my “minimal physical exhaustion and other viable resources” criteria as well. Mind you, gardening does take work, but I found this method to give me SO much more yield in a 50 foot space than what I would have had to work to maintain otherwise in a third of an acre space. That definitely meets my criteria.
4th criteria: Creates nutritional food via all-natural materials: Most people don’t realize that eating their veggies today has nowhere near the same health benefits as eating their veggies 50 years ago. Why? Because the nutrients are stripped from the soil after all of this time. If it’s not in the soil, folks, it’s not in your food and if it’s not in your foods then it’s very challenging to get it any other way nowadays. Vitamins and such are typically full of synthesized nutrients and believe you me, the body can tell the difference between a real nutrient and a “pretend one.” (that’s why our urine is so yellow when we take Vitamin C or Vitamin B supplements—our body is rejecting the synthetics.) There’s also the matter of us overworking the soil. Traditionally, farmers allow parcels of land to rest a growing season while they work to put nitrogen back into the soil to produce proper yields.
Plants need 13 nutrients that man can supply. They are listed in the MGM books, and include the major nutrients of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potash; the secondary nutrients are calcium, magnesium, and sulfur - as well as the chlorine which is a part of the compound most often used for potash, and the trace elements - or micro-nutrients - include zinc, boron, manganese, iron, copper, chlorine, and molybdenum. Only the micronutrients are in the Micro-Nutrient bags. More importantly about the ingredients is the fact that they are in a form that the plants can actually absorb! I’ve said this a lot to folks who are trying to get healthier—it’s not about the nutrients you consume, it’s about the nutrients you ABSORB; and plants are the exact same way.
The good news though is that with the MGM, you’re nourishing the soil at the first of planting and then every week therein until just before it’s to be harvested. This is counter to the required practice of organic gardeners. You see, the USDA requires that organic gardeners stop feeding the plants as much as 12 weeks prior to them being harvested. Doesn’t really make sense, if you ask me—to starve our plants of vital nutrients when they are at their biggest size? Sounds a bit backwards, to me. Whereas with the MGM, you’ll have significantly better tasting produce, larger produce, and MORE produce because you will be giving them—and you, ultimately—all of the nutrients they will need from the beginning to the end. This strategy also covers my 5th criteria: Going Easy on the soil:
Instead of stripping the soil from all she’s got, you’re actually revitalizing it with the MGM approach. You see, when the winds and the rains come, the nutrients in the soil get washed away, down to the creeks and rivers and ultimately over to the oceans where they sit…until folks harvest those nutrients to put back into the soil. If the nutrients were synthetic, then your plants would have little success in absorbing them. The micro-nutrients are nothing more than the recapturing of the vital micro-nutrients needed for excellent soil, healthy produce, abundant yield, AND it will also bless you with a faster germination time. Remember, a plant cannot be any stronger than its weakest soil element. So, healthy soil is vital not only for this year’s crop, but the subsequent years as well. Many years ago a popular, upscale garden attraction in my area claimed publicly that the Mittleider Method of Gardening was killing the soil. Well, some professors at Brigham Young University decided to do some investigation on their own to prove or dispel that claim. They took 45 soil samples from three different gardens ranging from new gardens, middle stage and well-established Mittleider Gardens. Their results? There was ZERO toxicity and ZERO ground water issues.
Gardening Tip: As an added boost to the health of your soil, you can plant pea vetch or Hairy Vetch (Vica viislloa) in the spring or fall to introduce valuable nitrogen into the soil as well as an abundance of organic matter, even in acid soils. If you mow over it just as the blooming starts, or allow the plants to just die, you’ll leave a natural mulch behind that will require little to no tilling for planting. If you allow it to set to seed, it will be a perennial plant for you. Hairy Vetch is also EXCELLENT as a weed controller. Some folks like to plant the Vetch around their newly planted trees or shrubs.
#6: Maximum Yield for the Space: Because the garden is being nourished so thoroughly, you’ll find that you will get a much larger yield. Part of the MGM is founded on creating a garden that will grow vertically wherever possible. Even a melon or squash up to 6 pounds can be trained to grow vertically. This is such a vital principle that if a person were to solely adapt the art of growing vertically they’d find as much as a 30% increase in their yield! The taller the plant, the less energy that’s wasted in growing it.
Gardening Tip: It doesn’t’ matter which way your gardening rows face. What does matter is that your bigger plants don’t block the sunlight from your smaller plants, so be sure to put your taller plants in the North or East section of your garden and the shorter ones more south and west.
#7: Inexpensive: I had no idea how many die hard gardeners there were out in the world until I started on this journey several years ago. Moreover there are some extremely opinionated folks too when it comes to “the” garden method to use. But when I began looking at the methods based on the costs involved in getting the gardens going, I couldn’t believe some of the astronomical expenses that folks would go to all because they watched some slick movie or a series of YouTube videos. Square foot gardening, for example, I found to be a waste of time and expensive. Biointensity method—the only thing I found to be intensive was the amount of money and work I needed to expend to get it up and going. Back to Eden gardening—most persons who set this up dedicate a great deal of money for this method too, primarily in the form of wood chips. Most fertilizers sold out there have only 1% of the actual NECESSARY ingredients and nutrients but a whole lot of stuff you don’t need. That’s one of the reasons why this method is more inexpensive than others is because you’re not paying for stuff you don’t need.
Furthermore, while I believe that everything that I’ve purchased on the Mittleider method, Jim Kennard, who’s the founder of Food for Everyone.org has taken the most important chapter in each of his books and made them available on his website for free.
Gardening Tip: You’ve no doubt heard that drainage is critical to having good plants but you might not realize that the drainage has a lot to do with the proper airflow that the roots need. So be sure that you’ve given appropriate attention to ensuring proper drainage. The roots need AIR, the plant itself needs the water and the leaves need the sunlight.
#8: Grow Food Fast: I need great soil and nutritious food NOW, not three years from now that the Back to Eden Gardeners have to wait. Can you imagine what kind of disaster would have occurred if the settlers in Utah didn’t plant any crops along their trek for the benefit of those that would follow all because they wanted to create “better soil” that required three years?
It’s no mystery that the kids who are fed better in the U.S. outgrow the kids the same age in third world nations. It all comes down to the children being given what they need. Well, with the MGM, you’ll get what you need faster than any other method I’ve seen. Every MGM gardener gets pretty excited when they see the pace in which their very first MG crop comes in. As a result, they discover that the crops are ready to harvest faster than the same crop would without the MGM. This means that not only can you expect a higher yield, but you can actually squeeze in some extra crops in one growing season. You know what tastes better than perfectly sweet 84 day corn? 84 day sweet corn in 62 days! *grin* This is the ONLY kind of “fast food” I allow in my home now. *grin*
Gardening Tip: The majority of all fertilizers are salt. (Salt and seeds do not get along very well, by the way; they burn! Most fertilizers encourage 2 ½ pounds of salt in the same area in which the MGM only uses SEVEN OUNCES.
#9: Easy to Maintain: There’s a great book made available by the Food For Everyone.org entity called “Six Simple Tips to Gardening Success”. It’s one of the many that Mittleider published. This one is written in such a way that an 8 year old could follow it and use it to maintain the garden. (Remember the story about Jim Kennard’s 8 year old daughter taking care of his highly visible featured garden while he was touring?) Yes, there’s work to get started, but I can tell you that you don’t HAVE to set up everything just the way the MGM suggests. For example, you don’t have to do the PVC piping at the roots for watering, but if you DO, then instead of getting up each morning around 6:30 a.m. to water your plants by hand (the best time of day to do so), you can just have an automatic timer turn your water on and water right at the base of your plants for a whomping 60 seconds while you catch some more zzzzz's. The same holds true for properly setting up the T frames at the beginning of the gardening rather than trying to wrestle with the happy little growers later on and trying to get them to grow vertically. Truthfully, it’s not so much that it’s more work involved to set up a Mittleider Garden; it’s simply about eliminating a whole lot of other work later on depending on how much work you put into the garden in the front end. Nothing ever worth growing and eating had grown without work in this world. I personally have discovered that each of the steps that the Mittleider Gardening method encourages to be done upfront saves me a whole lot of work and maintenance later.
#10: Requires a Minimal Amount of Water: To cut to the chase, the Mittleider Gardening Method is known to use 70% less water than traditional gardening methods. I don’t know about you, but water is a resource that I’m anticipating being in low supply in a crisis scenario. I’m going to need all I can get for hygiene, medical care, cooking, cleaning, etc. I’m planning on using rainwater to take care of the needs of my garden in a crisis scenario. That means I have to make every drop count. As such, I don’t intend to waste any water on the leaves of the plant. It’s the base of the plant that needs the water. So, instead of taking all of those detours and fanning out the water to areas that the plant will never get a drop of it, the Mittleider method focuses on putting the water exactly where it’s needed. You saw how I noted earlier that 60 seconds of daily watering is all most plants are going to need with the exception of some really hot days in the middle of desert areas. In which case you might want to give the plants a little more of a reprieve late in the afternoon. I spoke to a fabulously successful gardener the other day who has to set his alarm for 2:18 in the morning just so that he can have his turn with the irrigation water at which time he’ll flood all of this water into his garden. The sad thing to me—other than having to get up at that hour—is that so much of that water isn’t even necessary if you’ve followed the proper principles of planting in the first place. I can’t imagine ANY other gardening method using less water while still producing high yields like the Mittleider Gardening Method does.
Mittleider Method has changed the lives of millions of people all because he changed the way they grow food. I strongly encourage anyone who’s reading this to take the same step for change—grow your food and eat what you grow, using the Mittleider Gardening Method.
Just one last reminder: The Five Star Preparedness Group Buy is still going on for 2 more days in which you can take advantage of the Mittleider Gardening special they’ve got going on. In a nutshell, you’re getting $150 worth of heirloom, open-pollinated seeds that have been triple sealed hermetically for only $117 PLUS you also get the Mittleider micronutrients AND books and CDs and DVDs explaining every little detail about the Mittleider Gardening Method for that same price. Oh, and if you want it shipped to you, they’re only charging $5 shipping. Yeah…kind of hard to say “no” to this one. But it ends June 7th. So get on it. *grin* Remember, you’ll need the PROMO code to get that deal though. It’s not publicly listed on their site that way, so go here for the details. Click Here.
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Thank you for these three articles. When you first mentioned the MGM, I gave it's name to my rancher mother who is re-starting gardening with the Back to Eden method. So far she is liking what she reads from other sources, so hopefully she'll "convert." I have also spoke to my husband about this in terms of the group buy. Hopefully after reading these three articles he'll understand (I'm not a very good explain-er) and we can move forward with taking this group-buy opportunity to start using MGM. I am always hesitant to buy things at full-price, even if they save money over buying alternative products, so thank you for sharing this opportunity.
A quick question. Can you give me an effective key word for the search bar or a link to the article/s I am trying to find. I remember you discussing how much the "normal" recommendations for amount of food storage actually come out to, and giving a more realistic recommendation to shoot for as a start (of course every person and family is different). I've tried different key words/phrases, but I'm not having any luck. Thank you!
Yeah, our search engine via Wordpress isn't exactly what I'd call "robust"..or even "helpful". Sorry about that. I believe this is the one you're looking for: http://www.preparednesspro.com/do-you-have-enough/ But I'd also suggest you look up one called "The Magic Number 12". Using that system is far more helpful, IMO, than a bunch of pounds or ounces on a list.
I have two questions:
1. The book recommends 16-16-16 fertilizer. This does not seem to exist in my area. All I can find (and it takes some searching) is 10-10-10 or 12-12-12. In fact, no one, even at the farm stores, has ever had 16-16-16. Do we need to make an alteration to the formula if the lower number is all we can find?
2. I went in search of sawdust. I found flake, fine and coarse ground. I'm probably being picky, but does it matter what the consistency is? I need to know before I have a truck load delivered.
I've been a Master Gardener for over 35 years and am looking forward to trying something new. Thanks for bringing this to our attention.
Hi Barbara. That has happened in some parts of the U.S. You can go as low as 13-13-13 or as high as 19-19-19.
I didn't care what type of sawdust I got so long as it wasn't chemically treated. The reason being that this works in ANY growing medium.
Also, one resource you will love is that the Mittleider folks have groups on Facebook (Food For Everyone) as well as Yahoo. If you go to the site foodforeveryone.org, you'll see a small section on the left hand side of their home page which encourages you to "join the discussion" on their Yahoo Groups page. You can get answers directly from Mr. Kennard himself as well as some highly trusted experts in the Mittleider method. I don't consider myself an expert in this regard just yet. ;-)
I can't wait to see your success pictures!!
When I saw the article title I was all excited about a great new gardening method you were going to share with us. Well, I've read all three articles and know little more than I did before I read the first one. The three articles are basically advertisements for the seeds, nutrients and books & DVDs teaching the method. Guess I'll head over to YouTube and try to find some real information on the method.
Well, I'm so sorry that my writing and research skills are not up to your expectations. Guess I'll have to give you your money back that you had to pay to access more than 800 articles on this site.
If you were expecting me to violate the Mittleider Copyright protections and share every little tidbit about his system with you on here, then yes, you're mistaken. You could, of course, go over to the non-profit site at FoodForEveryone.org and download the vital chapters for free that they've made accessible--which, of course, I made note of in the article. It's certainly a more efficient use of your time than sifting through YouTube videos.
By the way, did you catch the word there--FREE?? *smh*
You can also buy the book on Amazon for $12.00 to have on hand to set your garden and supplies up.
Annie, I'm not certain which book you're referring to. I don't see the Mittleider Gardening Course book on Amazon or any Mittleider book for $12; neither used or new. That's a great deal, but I don't see it. Help?
How do you store heirloom garden seeds for future use? In the freezer?
I store them in a cool, dry, dark place. I personally do not like to deprive them of all oxygen, however, if I lived in a humid environment I would be much more inclined to store them in a freezer. 3 years ago I used seeds that were from 1986 and still had an excellent germination rate. I've found that storing them with a minor oxygen absorber isn't the end of the world, but it's not my personal choice. I like the triple-hermetically sealed seeds that come in #10 cans. Those have performed well for me as well.
Starting this past may I planted a Mittleider Garden plot alongside a Square Foot Garden plot to compare the two methods. It wasn't 100% MGM since it was a 4x4 square like the SFG, but in all other respects it was. I have to say the results have been fairly phenomenal so far with the MGM plot far outstripping the SFG plot if terms of plant size, productivity, etc.
However, I still do have some qualms that perhaps you can address better than either Jim Kennard did or LDSPrepper from whom I first learned of this method of gardening. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about: the use of commercial fertilizers.
I know that plants don't care where they get their nutrients from, and while Kennard says the ingredients are simply mined and bagged, so in one sense they're "organic," it's also true that they're inorganically created and produced and that's my concern. I've just seen far too many responses dance around the inorganic aspects of using commercial fertilizers and was hoping you could address them perhaps more head on. Thanks!