First Fertilizer Application – Pre-Plant & Weekly Feed

Q.  In the Mittleider Gardening Course we are instructed to spread lime on the bottom of the grow box, and again on the top of the grow box (mixed into the soil mix).  That is easy to understand.  On page 107 the instructions to make Pre-Plant fertilizer include another 5 pounds of lime or gypsum.  Is this correct?  Are we supposed to apply three applications of lime or gypsum, or does this formula take the place of the lime or gypsum spread at the bottom and at the top?  Very confusing.

A.  Let’s try and be very clear about this, so that everyone understands the whole story.

If you need to make your own Pre-Plant Mix you can make a simple batch by following the instructions  on page 107 of the Gardening  Course. The amounts described in the example are 5# of lime, 4 ounces magnesium sulfate, and 1 ounce boron. This amounts to 80 parts lime, 4 parts magnesium sulfate (Epsom Salt), and 1 part boron, and there is nothing magic, or even important about the size of 5#, etc. You can mix any size batch you want, just by using those ratios.

After making or buying your Pre-Plant mix you then need to apply it to your Grow-Boxes or Grow-Beds. If you are growing in containers, which we call Grow-Boxes, the very first time – even before you fill the box with soil mix – you should apply the Pre-Plant Mix to the surface of the soil below the box.

Apply 4# to a 4′ X 30′ box, or 2# to an 18″ 30′-long box.

After filling your Grow-Box with soil medium you apply the same amount of Pre-Plant mix to the surface of the soil as you applied to the soil beneath the box. Then you apply 1/2 that amount of Weekly Feed to the surface of the soil medium. Then you mix everything thoroughly into the soil medium.

Thereafter, you will only give one application of the Pre-Plant mix – mixed into the soil medium, along with Weekly Feed – before planting each crop in that Grow-Box.

If you are growing in Grow-Beds (in native soil), you only apply Pre-Plant one time for each crop – again, along with the first application of Weekly Feed – and mix them thoroughly into the soil.

If this still seems confusing, please read it two or three times, until you’re sure it makes sense. It is very important that everyone apply Pre-Plant to their garden before planting each crop, because Dr. Mittleider determined from his world-wide experience that calcium (lime or gypsum) is the FOUNDATION of a good feeding program.