Mittlider Gardening Basics
Perhaps one of the hardest occupations is land-related labor. Especially if you plan to get a decent harvest, then for more than six months you should literally live in the beds and work hard. Of course, now the work of gardeners and gardeners is greatly facilitated by gardening equipment, but the method proposed by the vegetable grower and part-time doctor Jacob Mittlider is considered to be a slightly different method - the "Mittlider gardening" method.
- What is the Mittlider gardening?
- Mittlider Fertilizer Blends
- Mittlider soil cultivation options
- Narrow beds
- Garden beds
- Pros and Cons of the Mittlider Horticulture Method
What is the Mittlider gardening?
This method is far from new, the people of our country got to know it for the first time as subscribers to various magazines and newspapers, where this method was actively and thoroughly covered. After reading the essence of the method, many rushed to experiment on their sites. It didn’t work for everyone, and then a Russian book was published under the authorship of T. Ugarova, in which this method was literally adapted specifically for Russian realities, but still it remained the Mittlider gardening method.
Mittlider himself positioned his method as the most effective soil cultivation technology, which allows to grow so much vegetable production on 1.5 - 2 hundred square meters that a full-fledged family of four or even five people would be enough for the whole year.
The most interesting in this method was that initially the quality of the soil was not taken into account at all, that is, it was not taken into account at all, therefore, the quality of the soil did not have any decisive significance in terms of harvesting.
According to Mittlider himself, it is permissible to grow vegetables literally on “empty” soil, with row-spacings overgrown with weeds, the soil is poorest and completely devoid of fertility.
The basic principles of gardening according to Mittlider:
The first is fractional application of mineral fertilizing, Secondly, compacted landings on very narrow ridgesthirdly, necessarily wide row spacingfourth, the use of two compounds of fertilizersand, of course, scrupulous adherence to these principles as the fifth component of success.
Mittlider Fertilizer Blends
The first fertilizer mixture should be composed according to this method of eight grams of boric acid and a kilogram of gypsum (suitable for alkaline soil). For acidic soil, gypsum should be replaced with lime-cannon or, even better, with dolomite flour.
The second composition should be prepared from a base that must consist of eleven parts of nitrogen, six parts of phosphorus, eleven parts of potassium and a number of additional components. Additional components include 450 g of magnesium sulfate, ten grams of boric acid and fifteen grams of ammonium molybdate. All this must be thoroughly mixed and added to the base (in fertilizer), the mass of which should be equal to three kilograms.
Mittlayder allows the use of two options for feeding - dry and soluble. With dry fertilizer, they are simply scattered around the plants, if the distance between them is from 30 to 50 cm, and if less than 30, then between the rows. When making dissolved fertilizers, they simply spill the entire garden, trying not to get on the plants themselves. Usually on a nine-meter bed, to dissolve 600 grams of the second mixture, according to the Mittlider, exactly 66 liters of water are needed.
Mittlider soil cultivation options
In addition to the proposed fertilizer mixtures, there are also two options for cultivating the soil - the cultivation of vegetables in open, natural soil and the next method - in the beds-boxes, which must be filled with a special mixture.
1. Narrow beds
It provides for the cultivation of plants in narrow beds, which are located directly on the dug up soil. The width of these beds should not exceed 45 centimeters, but the length can be absolutely any and limited only by the size of your site, the shape of the landscape and more.
Further, all plantings on such rather narrow beds differ from traditional plantings of vegetable crops in their thickening. It was envisaged that vegetable crops would receive the necessary amount of light and a sufficient amount of moisture precisely due to the wide row spacing. By the way, the width of the row spacing according to the Mittlider should be equal to at least 75 centimeters, even even larger values were allowed, but not less.
One gets the impression that it is precisely at the width of the row-spacing that the entire success of this method is closed: after all, if the row-spacing is reduced, the plants will immediately not have enough light and moisture, because the plants will inevitably grow on narrow beds, based on a compact planting pattern, and begin to shade each other friend and compete for these two important components (light and moisture).
It is clear that this method was most likely developed for owners of small plots, and it suits them very well. It seems that everything is simple, but there are nuances that must be observed in addition to wide aisles and narrow beds.
For example, these same beds must be oriented from north to south and never transferred from place to place. You can also forget about the aisles, you should not even dig them up, however, weeding the weeds is not clean, but at least the most powerful ones should be weeded out.
But what about soil depletion, the accumulation of pests, diseases, you ask? In order to solve all these problems at once, Mittlider advises using the rotation that we all know.
The beds are prepared for planting, starting with top dressing (after digging). So, on a standard bed ten meters long and 45 centimeters wide, a kilogram of the first mixture and half a kilogram of mixture number two are added (shown above). Next, the seeds of the crops you need are sown, and a week after the first seedlings appear on the soil surface, re-dressing with the second mixture is carried out, but about 220 grams are already taken on the bed. Mixing the mixture is carried out exactly in the middle of the bed, between plants, trying not to fall on them. Next, the soil is watered and fertilizers are absorbed into the soil, and then the food goes to the roots.
In just one season, the number of top dressings, depending on the crop grown on such a bed, can vary from three to eight, while taking into account, of course, the condition of plants - if they grow well, the number of top dressings can be reduced.
For example, crops such as radishes, peas, table beets and beans can be fed only three times per season, and nightshade crops (potatoes, tomatoes, etc.), as well as cucumbers and pumpkins need to be fed seven or eight times per season.
About planting vegetables: on such a bed they are sown in two rows, it can be done both in parallel and in a checkerboard pattern if the plants are large (cabbage, potatoes and others).
The distance between the plants varies greatly. So, between the zucchini and squash leave about half a meter, between cabbage and head of lettuce about 35 centimeters, between cucumbers - 17-18 cm, between peppers, tomatoes and eggplants, you need to leave 30-35 centimeters, 25 cm - between potato plants, 5 cm - between onions and garlic and as much between beets. Such crops as radishes, lettuce, daikon, carrots, radishes and turnips are planted in a ribbon method (3-4 cm).
The next option that Mittlider proposed was growing vegetables in a substrate and, in fact, in crates that act as beds. Boxes-beds can be built from anything, it can be boards, plywood. Such beds-boxes do not need a bottom; they should be either 45, 120, or 150 centimeters wide, and about twenty centimeters deep. Such a framework can be put where you prefer, but not in the shade and not in the swamp, of course, and fill it with a specially prepared mixture.
The mixture is prepared from two, maximum three components, these are sawdust (any hardwood), moss (sphagnum) and a choice of perlite, river sand, straw (chopped very finely), nutshell (chopped also very finely) and sunflower husk.
If we translate all this into a percentage ratio, we get the following picture: about 20% will be sand (perlite or something else to choose from) and 40% for the other two components (sawdust and moss). This composition, which can only conditionally be called soil, is placed in the box once and for all, that is, it does not change it anymore, nor do they use any additional soil.
Before sowing seeds in such boxes, you need to fertilize the beds. 4.5 kilograms of the first mixture and 2.5 kilograms of the second mixture (their composition is described above) are added to the smallest box 9x1x0.2 meters in size (their composition is described above), evenly distributed over the entire area, after which it is watered abundantly. Further, everything that is in the boxes is very carefully mixed, literally to a homogeneous mass, leveled and watered again (with a pair of buckets of water). Next, make grooves for sowing seeds across the box, with the distances between the grooves and plants indicated above for open beds.
It remains to fill the seeds to a depth of about one and a half centimeters, cover them with the same composition and water again (one and a half buckets of water). The next day, directly according to the seeds sown, they make the second top dressing in the amount of 600 g, in terms of the length of the bed of nine meters, for which we calculate.
Further feeding follows one after another every ten days, with the same proportions.
Pros and Cons of the Mittlider Horticulture Method
In conclusion, a few words about the pros and cons of this method, obtained from gardeners who have tested this method of cultivation.
First about the cons
Almost everyone is scared by the abundance of fertilizers, and this, perhaps, is the main minus.
The second minus is, according to gardeners, the need for a large amount of moisture, and these are additional costs and manual labor and financial (you will have to pay for water).
The third minus also concerns fertilizers, but already financially, that is, how much will the cucumbers cost if you use a very significant amount of fertilizer?
About the pros
Gardeners claim that the Mittlider method is very well thought out and really facilitates physical labor, especially if the person is no longer young or he simply does not have enough time, and you want vegetables from your garden.
A plus is the appropriate breakdown of the plot, the completely normal distance between plants, which can significantly save soil and at the same time increase the yield from a unit of soil up to 40 kilograms, depending on the area of the plot.
The gardeners like wide aisles between the beds, the fact that the beds do not need to be done every time in a new place and in fact there is no need to take care of the aisles.
Thanks to the narrow beds, crops can be carried out earlier by constructing a small arc greenhouse, and again, wide spacing will help here.
As for the beds, here are some advantages - on substandard soil this is almost the only way to get at least some kind of crop.
In general, if you exclude the introduction of a significant amount of fertilizer, which is recommended by Mittlinder, then about his method of growing vegetables speak only on the positive side.
What do you think?