Wednesday, October 22, 2008

How not to repeat last years bad gardening experience

Q. First of all I mixed up my lids (on the storage containers) and think I remember that the Pre-Plant is the brown and the Weekly Feed is white... Correct?

My beds are about 8 foot 8 inches long and about 4 foot 8 inches wide. I need to figure out how much preplant and weekly feed to put in there and what is the axiom... A cup is a pound the world around? Right? Soooo How much... of each?

Last year I found these big grubs in my beds as well and they look like a green beetle grub I have read about that gets into compost piles... I live in PG, Utah... Any idea as to whether there would be any reason to mix pyrethrum granules in at this point or not?

My garden did OK but not really well... Most plants were pretty small and stunted last year. I did not mix Pre-Plant in last year, got started too late and tried to use a different Fert-i-lome gardener fertilizer, as I did not (think I had) time to mix my own and did not know I could get Mittleider fertilizers. So I had some problems that I don't want to repeat.

A. Your problems of last year are not that un-typical. Many times people think they can change this and that and the other thing and end up with a Mittleider Garden yield. It doesn't work. The promise is "a great garden in any soil, in any climate", but only if all instructions are followed. Don't waste another year and hundreds of hours - buy and read The Mittleider Gardening Course, available at It is simple and concise, and you WILL have success!

Measuring your fertilizers accurately is essential. If you used a cup thinking you were applying a pound, you were starving your plants. "A pint is a pound the world around" is the correct adage. A cup is 8 ounces and a pint is 16 ounces, or 1 pound.

The dark fertilizer is the Pre-Plant, but this is only true if you are using gypsum, which is done in low rainfall areas, such as the Mountain West in the USA. If you have more than 20" (50 cm) of annual rainfall you will use lime in your Pre-Plant, and it will likely be whiter than the Weekly Feed.

The standard measurement for fertilizer application is 2# (900 g) of Pre-Plant to a 30' bed 18" wide, which will grow 2 rows of most plants in the 12" planting area. This amounts to just over 1 ounce per running foot of planting area.

You should plant 4 rows of most vegetables in a 4'+-wide bed, with the first row next to the 3 1/2' aisle, the next row 12" in, then two rows near the opposite aisle the same way. Climbing plants will have only two rows - each row 12" in from the aisle. Apply 20 ounces of Pre-Plant and 10 ounces of Weekly Feed and mix well with the soil. Again, remember the "rule of thumb" for Weekly Feed is 1/2 ounce per running foot each time you apply it.

Thereafter on a weekly basis, you should apply 5 ounces of Weekly Feed down the center between 2 rows of plants - so you will apply 10 ounces of Weekly Feed each week to your 8' 8" bed or box, until three weeks before your crop matures.

If you do not have compost or other "Bug Hotel" material in or on your garden you shouldn't have trouble with grubs, but if you do, take one to your local nursery and have them give you a corrective treatment regimen.

Having a great garden is really quite simple. The book 6 Steps to Successful Gardening, also available at, is so simple a child can read and understand it, but it's profound enough to give you a GREAT garden, if followed. Just remember these steps and follow them religiously.
1) Clean ground at all times - no weeds, compost, etc.
2) Sunshine all day long, especially for fruit-producing plants (greens like lettuce, etc. can stand fewer hours of direct sunlight).
3) Regular watering - daily if necessary, never letting the ground dry out.
4) Vigorous weeding to eliminate all weeds as soon as they appear.
5) Proper nutrition applied in small amounts weekly until 3 weeks before crop maturity.
6) Harvest the crop at peak maturity. Never leave mature crops in the garden, as their quality decreases rapidly, plus bugs and diseases will proliferate.

The Mittleider Gardening books and Manuals teach all you need to know about successful vegetable gardening, and can be purchased in the Store section, or as digital downloads.

A digital copy costs 30-40% less, and is available instantly!

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