Nutrient and Mineral Deficient Food: Part 4

Three years ago, as I was in the midst of getting my back of the parking lot weed lot garden up and ready to go after reading Steve Solomon's book, Gardening When It Counts: Growing Food in Hard Times (Mother Earth News Wiser Living Series), my mom started telling me about the Mittleider Method developed by Jacob Mittleider. I had already felt emotionally invested in Solomon's method (although I was doing it on my budget) especially since my mom had felt like SHE had learned so much from his and Eliot Coleman's books. I was actually kind of annoyed my mom had apparently switched gears on me.
Our "back of the parking lot weedlot garden" the first year, 2009.
As the summer continued on and she shared with me the successes she was having with her Mittleider garden and I read more about it on, I began to understand why she was so "converted" to this method.

From his mini-biography on
Jacob R. Mittleider grew up on an Idaho farm – and hated it. He vowed he wouldn’t be a farmer, and so he attended an Adventist boarding school and studied to be a baker.
After graduation and marriage to Mildred they moved to Loma Linda, California and began their family. They had two daughters, and Jacob worked as a baker for several years, until a provocation by the store manager upset him and he walked out and quit.
With a family to feed and nothing but farming and baking as skills Jacob began growing flowers in his back yard. He worked long hours, studied everything he could get his hands on, learned from other growers in the area, and even put a soil lab expert on retainer, until his own wholesale bedding plant business became so big and so successful that he was shipping his plants to retail stores all over the USA.
Living on 4 hours of sleep took a toll on his health however, and by 1963 ulcers required the removal of half of his stomach. Jacob had to make major changes in order to regain his health, and so after 19 years he closed the business and determined to give his life to helping people.
For the next 38 years Jacob and his wife worked in 27 countries, conducting 75 gardening demonstration and training projects, and changing tens of thousands of lives for the better wherever they went.

Everything Jacob Mittleider learned about in his wholesale bedding and plant business, he realized applied to vegetable gardening. He learned that ALL plants all over the world need the same exact minerals and nutrients in specific amounts - just as Solomon taught. Some of those minerals ARE available in the N,P,K mixes at your local garden store or nursery (like the 13-13-13, 15-15-15, or 16-16-16), however, Mittleider also learned that if only some of the minerals are available to the plants, it is as if the plant isn't getting any of the nutrients. This is why produce you buy in the stores has almost 85% less Phosphorus than it did in 1914 (as I showed last week in Part 3) even though it is included in ALL commercial fertilizers.

Through his extensive research, Mittleider developed a specific formula/ratio of ALL the minerals required for healthy plant growth. And the amount needed is MINIMAL. For all rows of plants, it is 1/2 oz of the Mittleider mix per running foot. For spinach that is only 4 applications (one application a week). For green beans (that have a longer growth period) that is 6-8 applications. The minerals are water soluble so they get into the ground and to the roots of the plants easily. Having easy access to the right proportion of minerals makes it so the plants can actually utilize ALL the minerals. And not only that, but the Mittleider promised to deliver everything Solomon did in his book but for MUCH less than it would cost me to buy all the supplements Solomon suggested for his highest quality COF. A bag of Mittleider Magic weekly feed fertilizer, which I can purchase at my local nursery here in Utah County, costs me $30 for a bag that will last me the entire growing season and then some!

When we purchased our first home two years ago, we quickly learned the following month (April 2011) that our ENTIRE yard was full of weeds. A neighbor, who is a local landscaper, suggested we kill the entire lawn and start over. Our neighbor to the west has huge pine trees that border our property so our backyard is shaded for the entire afternoon. The only logical place to put our garden - per Solomon's instructions on how much sunlight plants need each day, was in our front yard. So after we killed the entire lawn and borrowed another neighbor's roto-tiller, we quickly discovered that our entire yard is full of rocks and made up of clay. It would have been much too expensive for us to add soil amendments as Solomon suggested. But luckily, I had learned about the Mittleider Method the year before, so I KNEW that I could grow a fantastic garden in ANY soil!

After the lawn weeds were killed & tilled under before we formed rows and roped off our "Front Yard" of grass, May 2011.
Having just purchased our first home, we didn't have money to add the automated watering system the first year we had our garden, so I had to water by hand everyday (which took a LOT of time), but at least we added it the 2nd year!

Our 1st Mittleider garden, August 2011
By our 2nd year, last year, we were able to invest in a watering system and a T-frame system. Our house gets a LOT of wind from the lake down the street from our house that blows up the canyon - almost directly east along our street.

June 2012 - our 2nd Mittleider garden with T-frames and automated PVC pipe watering system.

I love knowing that while my garden may not be considered "100% organic" because of the weekly fertilizer I use, I don't use chemical pesticides (only lady bugs, diatemaceous earth and soap spray to control the bad bugs) or herbicides (which is why there are more weeds in between the rows - we need to invest in a better hoe and keep it sharp like Solomon recommends in his book) so I DO consider it an organic garden. I get highly nutrient dense food to feed myself and my family during the growing seasons.

Here is a testimonial that Jim Kennard, the head of The Food for Everyone Foundation, shared with the Yahoo Mittleider Group last week. Jim gave me permission to share this couple's "Conversion Story" in this post this week.

Group: In the past 100 days we've become friends with a family near Houston, Texas, and have watched in awe as they began using, and quickly became highly proficient in, the Mittleider System of Family Food Production.
The husband, David, goes by LDS Prepper, and creates EXCELLENT YouTube videos on a wide range of preparedness themes (including his Mittleider Garden!!), all of which are very much worth your time if you care about being prepared for an uncertain future in this crazy world.

David hosted us as we conducted several Group Gardening Seminars, but his wife watched from the sideline, because her heart was in a couple of other growing methods that are more "organic", and in which she had invested a great deal of time, effort, and passion becoming a Master Gardener.

I invite you to look over my shoulder as I read a very heart-warming story David told the Mittleider Gardening Group on Facebook yesterday, to begin the celebration of his sweet wife's birthday. He's responding to this question from another member "My question is how is this organic gardening if we are using standard npk fertilizer?":

(David's wonderful response) "I had the same question when I started. Jim Kennard explained it very well here and to me at that time. I use no chemical pesticides or herbicides. I use only the Mittleider fertilizers for nutrients. My plants are the healthiest, fastest growing, most tasteful I have ever grown.

"My wife who is a 30 year gardener and a certified Master Gardener would not attend any of the gardening classes Jim gave here. She didn't even listen to him when he used our backyard garden in the classes. However, after seeing me bring in load after load of beautiful produce for the past three months she simply could not ignore the difference between my plants and hers.

"She is now 100% committed to only using the Mittleider fertilizers, as an organic gardener. I never thought that day would come. I asked her why yesterday. She said because of the health and yields of the plants and the ease of feeding with the Mittleider method.

"She is more excited for this gardening year than for any of the past 30 years of gardening.

"The Mittleider method that Jim Kim Kennard has devoted his life to sharing has changed our lives and our gardens for the better.

"There is one major problem with the Mittleider method that I have to mention. We ran out of refrigerator space months ago because of the bountiful harvests. We are using an ice chest too but it looks like we are going to have to buy another refrigerator to keep all the produce our garden is producing. And that is after I take my garden basket and go door to door on my street giving away produce.

"So be ready for the harvest. It could be a bit overwhelming."

Thank you David & Sue, for totally making my day!

Jim Kennard

If you are interested in purchasing any of Jacob Mittleider's books, like his book More Food From Your Garden or the Micro-Nutrients to use in making your own Mittleider Weekly, or Pre-plant mix - then click on the hyper-links above.

Next week I will conclude my 5 Part series on Nutrient and Mineral Deficient Food by sharing with you how we ensure we are getting all the minerals and nutrients in our diet when we aren't able to harvest food fresh from our front yard garden.

Nutrient and Mineral Deficient Food Series:
Part 1

Part 2
Part 3


smarteze said…
Can you tell me where in Utah county you were able to by the Mittleider fertilizer? I want to purchase it locally as opposed to buying it online.
MrsTips said…
I buy it at Linden Nursery on State Street up in Lindon.
You can also purchase it up at Sutherlands out towards the SLC airport on North Temple.

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