Soaker Hoses and Container Sizes Recommended

Friends: I received questions the answers to which I believe are important enough to share.

Q. I was just introduced to this method by a friend. I live in S. Florida and, for the first time, planted tomatoes in pots along my northern fence line with good results. After the tomatoes I added pole beans, cucumbers, strawberries and radishes (all in pots). So far everything seems to be thriving.

All this was done before I learned about your method and I’m
enthusiastic enough about the results I’ve had that I would like to
convert the backyard space into a “Mittleider” garden.

There is enough room for three 3’X 20′ box flats. I had planned
(before reading the info in the MittleiderMethodGardening@yahoo.groups.com group) to water by running soaker hoses down the center of each flat and covering them with mulch. Is there some reason this wouldn’t be a good idea? Thanks for any help (will need all I can get), Loretta

A. Boxes or 18″ (2 rows) or 4′ (4 rows) are the most efficient for growing most vegetables. A 3′ width doesn’t provide enough space between rows of plants for adequate light when they get big – unless you grow only carrots, beets, lettuce, etc. And with large and climbing plants 3′ gives only enough space for one row – the same as an 18″ box.

We don’t recommend you cover your ground unter the plants with mulch, as it is a haven for bugs and disease. When planting close together, as we recommend, your plants will shade the ground fairly quickly, to preserve moisture and inhibit weed growth.

The problems with soaker hoses are that they don’t always water every plant evenly; you don’t know how much water plants are receiving, sometimes they plug up – either from material in the water supply or from dirt on the ground on which they lie – and they are easy to cut with a garden tool.

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