One Hectare Market Garden – Questions on Getting Started

Q. I have contacted you before about a farm in Vietnam to provide food and some income for a small hamlet in coastal Vietnam.

I feel the Mittleider method will far outproduce other methods. And it seems to be by far the most feasible.

There is a certain stubbornness involved with gardening throughout the world and it is no better and maybe worse in agricultural-dependent societies.

After asking about thoroughly no one here can agree on what can grow in this environment, Given it is very warm, sunny and has adequate rainfall.

Along with using the Mittleider method and if necessary constructing some shade cloth above beds or rows, I am of the opinion ANYTHING can grow here. My questions involve Dr M’s initial work in New Guinea and his introduction of 16 vegetables and fruits when previously they grew around 4.

Can you give me more details on what those varieties were? There is a handful of staples of course but I would be interested in knowing what they grew in New Guinea.

I am also curious as to how this method can be applied to an orchard. I will be starting one of those as well with a pretty simple variety of trees.

I also need to know about getting large orders of Fertilizers to Vietnam (there are a few fertilizer companies here and they would be the first choice).

I would like some input on what best ratios to purchase and
maybe dress with pre-plant or some other material as well as how to use manure.

Some Vietnamese I am sure, regardless of what we are doing, will want to do the method with manure. And possibly large “cover crops” can be grown with manure for grazing and feeding livestock?

I have decided to go ahead and do this as well as keep animals to
provide income and Food. (Chad Fowlkes)

A. I believe everything will grow there also. And production will be MUCH higher using balanced natural mineral nutrients than with manure.

The following vegetables would be grown by Jacob almost everywhere he went, in addition to local varieties already being grown:

beans, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, corn, cucumbers, lettuce, melons, onions, peas, peppers, potatoes, radishes, spinach, squash, tomatoes, and turnips.

That’s more than 18, and doesn’t include sweet potatoes that were
being grown in Papua New Guinea, so we’ll both have to guess which ones they didn’t grow there.

The method works well with trees also, insofar as improving growth and yields, but they aren’t grown in raised beds or anything like that. The main thing to do is fertilize – once per year with Pre-Plant and three times per year with Weekly Feed – and eliminate weeds, which compete for plant nutrients.

I recommend you find large successful farmers and/or greenhouse
growers, and pick their brains regarding their fertilizer sources.

You do everything you can to find the the main ingredients including:

calcium (lime),
nitrogen (ammonium nitrate or urea),
phosphorus (DAP – di-ammonium phosphate if possible),
potassium (potassium chloride – or some other combination), magnesium (Epsom Salt – magnesium sulfate – or other).

And look also for the micro-nutrients including:
boron (borax, solubor, or other)
copper (copper sulfate is most common)
iron (iron sulfate or a chelated compound)
manganese (manganese sulfate usually)
molybdenum (sodium molybdate usually)
zinc (zinc sulfate usually)

If any of the micros are not available in the country we may be able to help you find a way to ship them in.

You don’t need the 100% water-soluble materials that the greenhouse growers usually use. Those are quite a bit more expensive and may actually not be as good for growing in the dirt as the slower-release less expensive materials.

As soon as you are able to determine what’s available in the major ingredients tell me what the choices are, along with the percentages of each nutrient and the costs, and I will help you determine which ones to use and how much to buy of each.

Let’s get the mineral fertilizers figured out first, and later we can discuss the use of manures if necessary.

Jim Kennard

One Hectare Market Garden – More Questions

I have a few other questions:
1. What about a balanced harvest? Rather than all of one item becoming available at one time – consistently having a certain amount of vegetables etc. available will be important. How would one go about accomplishing this?
2. How many rows could be placed in a hectare?
3. What about growing Herbs like basil and cilantro etc?
4. Besides the Gardening materials are there any training courses I could take? (Chad Foulkes – Vietnam)

Chad & Group:

1. There are two ways to achieve a “balanced” harvest. One way is to grow single-crop varieties, such as cabbage, lettuce, etc., planting part of the garden every two seeks, so that you have crops maturing all the time.

The second way is to grow ever-bearing varieties, such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, beans, etc., that produce over many months. This way you only plant one time and can harvest throughout the growing season, once the first fruit matures.

2. Depending on the configuration of your ground you should be able to grow as many as 600-620 soil-beds that are .45 meter wide wide and 10 meters long (18″ X 30′).

If you build 1.2 meter-wide (4′) Grow-Boxes or containers and grow in sawdust (or rice hulls, coconut husks, baggas, pine needles, etc.) and sand you can increase the crops still more.

I recommend you DO NOT START with a hectare, but start SMALL and learn how to do it WELL. Also, you need to build up a base of clients, to whom you can sell your produce, and learn how to pack, preserve, and ship it to market.

3. You can certainly grow herbs in your market garden. Remember to harvest them often to avoid having them get old and tough, and going to seed.

4. In addition to the Mittleider gardening books, Dr. Mittleider created – and we have digitized – a 2-CD training course including 70 video lessons. These include thousands of hand-picked color pictures with scrolling words and audio instruction to teach the entire growing process.

The videos are used in a 3-month college-level intensive training course which prepares serious students to be serious commercial growers.

The last time I conducted the course – in Popayan, Colombia – several of my best student graduates were immediately hired to continue the program at the Agriculture College and in all of the local high schools.

The Training Videos (more like a PowerPoint Presentation with scrolling words and audio) are available directly from me for $97. Write to me at jim@growfood.com.

Jim Kennard

Questions from a Commercial Grower

Q.  1) In Dr Mittleider books I have found different sizes for the grow boxes, please tell me what is the best size and

2) what are the quantities of fertilizers that should be used (pre-plant and weekly feed).

3) Do you think it is good to feed sweet potatoes (or any vegetable) weekly?

4) Do you think it is wise to plant vegetables (sweet potatoes, yam, dachine) in the soil or should I always use grow boxes?

5) What is the best distance between sweet potato plants?

6) Do you think that all fruit trees should receive the same fertilizers or different fruit trees require different types of fertilizers?  What about the amount of fertilizers.  I have citrus trees (oranges, mandarines, tangerines, limons) mangoes, avocadoes, bread fruit , banana trees,  etc).
Some trees look very good, but others not too good.  The trees are not very old (about 10 years).

7) What do you think should be the best fertilizer for sugar cane?

A.  1) For commercial production 4′-wide boxes are probably the best and most productive.  You can plant 2 rows of the climbing or tall plants in them and 4 rows of other large plants.  You can even plant more than four rows of small things like radishes, carrots, leaf lettuce, etc.

With most plants – climbing or large vegetables – you should plant at the edges and 12″ in, leaving a 2′ open area in the center of the bed.  This is essential for adequate light to get to all plants as they grow and mature.

2) Fertilizer should be applied at the rate of 1 ounce per running foot of row for Pre-PLant Mix, and 1/2 ounce per running foot of row for Weekly Feed.  Both are applied before planting, and mixed with the soil. 

3) This should be done for EVERY vegetable and fruit you grow.

Application of Weekly Feed should be once every week, until 3 weeks before harvest, for single-crop varieties.  It should be applied until 8 weeks before the end of harvest for ever-bearing crops.  It should be placed 4″ from the plant stems, down the length of the row, and the watering will – over the week – take it into the soil at the root zone of the plants.

4) Everything can be grown successfully in either soil or Grow-Boxes.  If your soil is particularly bad you may choose to grow in boxes.  This will often minimize problems with bugs and diseases, although those can migrate into the soil-less mixture over time, requiring that it be replaced after a few years, unless you cover your ground with something like roofing material first.

5) Planting can be closer than traditional methods.  It also depends on the size and variety.  We have planted sweet potatoes closer than 12″ and as far apart as 14″, and a 4″-wide bed will accommodate 4 rows.  An 18″ bed will allow 2 rows of all plants except climbing plants, which should have only one row.

6 & 7) I recommend you use the Pre-Plant and Weekly Feed, without any changes, on every plant you grow.  This includes trees, bushes, flowers, and even grass (and sugar cane).  The amounts and frequency will vary greatly, depending on the size and growing habits.

Fertilizing trees should be done twice each year – once at budding time, and again when the fruit is forming.  Amounts to use depend on the size of the tree.  Look in the FAQ section of the website under Trees to find an article about feeding trees.

It’s true that some plants and trees use a little more of one element than another.  The Mittleider natural mineral nutrients are complete, balanced formulas that have enough of every required element that you will seldom see a deficiency.

Make sure you have the Mittleider Garden Doctor set on hand.  Then, if you do see a deficiency developing you can quickly identify it and apply the correct dosage of the needed mineral.  This is far better than trying to develop a separate fertilizer for each type of crop, for smaller growers.

When you get to the point where you are growing many acres of a single crop, then you can get more sophisticated and custom mix your fertilizers for that crop.

Compare Mittleider Method With Commercial Produce Growers

Q.  The commercial produce growers in my area use black plastic with drip lines. They mix fertilizer in their irrigation water and pump it to the plants. What makes the Mittleider method more productive and efficient?
 
A.  Large commercial growers of things like lettuce, cabbage, etc., who water and feed accurately, especially those who feed regularly right in the water supply, and who eliminate weeds completely, are at least as good and productive as the Mittleider Method.  They also have very large investments in materials and equipment.
 
The Mittleider Method is sometimes called “the poor man’s hydroponic method” because it borrows principles and procedures from the large hydroponic, greenhouse, and field growers, and adapts and sizes them to the small family farmer and family-size garden.  And we produce great yields without the large capital investment large growers must face.
 
Most family gardeners don’t understand the importance of a constant water supply, just to the root zone of the plants.  They don’t appreciate the value of regular feeding with a complete, balanced nutrient, and they don’t realize how much weeds rob their garden of nutrients that are essential to the well-being of their vegetable plants.
 
Beyond those three principles, the Mittleider Method teaches vertical growing, with the attendant pollinating, pruning, and protection issues the hydroponic growers handle so well.
 
These are the primary elements that set the Mittleider Method apart from typical or traditional FAMILY GARDENING and make it SIMILAR to (not better than) hydroponic and large commercial growers.

You Can Live on What You Produce On Less Space Than You Ever Imagined!

While you endure the cold winter months why not plan for a really great garden next spring.  Maybe even one that could provide some income in addition to the food you eat yourselves!  Does anyone have children who need responsibility – and spending money?

To illustrate the potential, I’ll describe the yields achievable by growing one crop in a quarter-acre garden.  I realize that most of you may only want or be able to grow a garden of 10 or 20% this size, with multiple crops, however let’s tickle your imaginations!  I’m aware of many Mittleider gardeners who are growing commercially – some with multi-acre gardens.

Consider this: Just a quarter-acre of tomatoes grown properly using Dr. Mittleider’s instructions, and selling for only $.50 per pound, would yield $25,000 per year! Have I got your attention? Let’s see how it’s done.

A quarter-acre, or 10,390 square feet, will accommodate 78 30-foot rows of plants, grown in 4′ X 30′ Grow-Boxes, with 3 1/2′ side aisles, and 5′ end aisles. Planting 9″ apart gives you 41 plants per bed or 3,198 total.

By growing a tomato that averages 8 ounces (some varieties are even bigger), and growing vertically, each plant should produce 16# of fruit from July through October. How? Good varieties produce a cluster of 3-7 tomatoes every 5-7″ up a 7′ stem in 4 months of production. Using 4 per cluster and 12 clusters gives 48 tomatoes, and at 8 ounces each, your yield would be 24# per plant. Let’s reduce that by one third, to be conservative.

This amounts to 51,168 pounds of tomatoes (16# X 41 X 78) – or $25,584 at $.50 per pound. Who said you couldn’t live out of your garden! And similar results can be achieved growing right in the soil.

Now there certainly are costs, including labor, as there are in any serious endeavor. Start-up costs include 1) making and filling the boxes, 2) making T-Frames, 3) wires or pipes, and baling-twine strings, and 4) automating the watering. However these are one-time capital expenditures and will be more than recovered in the first year.

Next, suppose you’d like to increase your yield even more. After all, commercial hydroponic growers can produce 660,000 pounds of “plastic,” tasteless tomatoes per year on one acre. Of course, they have multi-million dollar investments in year-round greenhouses, automated systems, etc. By simply putting an arched PVC roof over each of your Grow-Boxes or soil-beds, as illustrated in the MittleiderMethodGardening group Photos section at Yahoo Groups, covering them with 6-mil greenhouse plastic, and then adding just a little heat on cold nights, you can lengthen your growing season by another two months, or 50%!

Now you’re looking at 75,000# of tomatoes per quarter-acre, or almost half the yield of the expensive hydroponic growers! But you’re growing “in the dirt”, because your boxes are open at the bottom, so your plants get all the natural nutrients available from the soil (producing better flavor). And you only use the plastic covering on cold nights during two or three months, so your plants benefit from direct sunlight as well, further improving their flavor.

Do you think these numbers are hard to believe? Just visit a greenhouse tomato operation and see tomato plants that are 20′ and 30′ long – still producing after more than a year!

Now let’s see what your family can do. And let me help guide you through the process – read the website FAQ’s at www.foodforeveryone.org or email me at jim@growfood.com. © 2006 – James B. Kennard

Jim Kennard, President of Food For Everyone Foundation, has a wealth of teaching and gardening training and experience upon which to draw in helping the Foundation “Teach the world to grow food one family at a time.” Jim has been a Mittleider gardener for the past twenty nine years; he is a Master Mittleider Gardening Instructor, and has taught classes and worked one-on-one with Dr. Jacob Mittleider on several humanitarian gardening training projects in the USA and abroad. He has conducted projects in Armenia, America, Madagascar, and Turkey by himself. He assists gardeners all over the world from the https://www.foodforeveryone.org website FAQ pages and free Gardening Group, and grows a large demonstration garden at Utah’s Hogle Zoo in his spare time.

Gardening Books, CDs and Software are available at https://www.foodforeveryone.org

Becoming Self-Sufficient With a Small Market Garden

Q.   Can a family be totally self-sustaining by using between 1 and 2 acres to grow, eat, and sell food? 

A.  Yes!  As a matter of fact, families in many countries are doing it, and they often have gardens much smaller than 1 acre.  However, you should consider carefully what you are getting into.  I’ll paint a picture of the problems first, then show you how blessed you are to be using the best possible growing methods for a family garden, and finally I’ll give you some ideas as to what and how to grow your market garden.

I.  Considerations Before Beginning
Your income depends on what you choose to grow, and how well you follow through in the growing process.  It also depends on how well you learn the financial and marketing aspects of the job.  Growing corn is easy, but doesn’t produce much for the amount of space used, or pay well, unless you like to eat corn stalks.  And someone has to sell the produce and pay the bills, which take substantial time and effort by themselves!

“Self-sustaining” requires very different amounts of food and money, depending on the family size, the standard of living expected, and the debt load you expect the garden to carry.  Debt of $3,000-5,000 per month requires a much greater effort to cover than a debt-free situation.

Location is also a factor.  People in warm climates can often grow into or even right through the winter, while colder climates have a shorter season.  Both locations can improve your production by using the Foundation’s methods.   Warm climates may require lots of water and even a little shade at the hottest times, while cold climates often require more greenhouse seedling production and covering garden crops in spring and fall to extend the season.

Before getting seriously into gardening you need to understand the commitment involved, and be willing to do it right.  Our grandparents grew gardens, and also often owned animals.  They understood the necessity of working every day to feed, water, and care for their animals and plants.  Regrettably, we’ve forgotten this requirement, as 99% of us have chosen other ways to make a living, and become dependent on the 1% who are highly competent farmers to feed us all.

You must understand and accept that there is very little respite for vacations, etc. during the growing season.  A good garden requires your attention on a daily basis!

On the other hand you, and especially your children, will benefit greatly by having a fixed and important responsibility that requires daily commitment and real effort to accomplish.  Think of it as a paper route without the 2:30 A.M hours, the driving, the danger, barking dogs, etc.

And one last consideration:  A hundred years ago, everyone used manure and compost, and it was a fairly level playing field between the family gardener and the market farmer.  Not so today!   Your competition includes hydroponic growers who have invested over a million dollars per acre in buildings and equipment, as well as dozens of employees doing the work.  And by feeding and watering their plants accurately many times each day, they’re growing 330
TONS of tomatoes per acre each year!

II.  You have a big advantage over other small market gardens.  Is all of this daunting?  Have you decided to just give up and forget about growing your own food?  I certainly hope NOT, because it’s important for you and your family to grow a garden for many very valid reasons, which we can’t address in this article.

Understand this.  You can produce much more in less space, using the Foundation’s methods, than other small market growers are doing, so just GO FOR IT!

The website at www.growfood.com, the books, CD’s and videos will teach you the gardening principles and procedures by which you will grow your successful market garden.  In studying these things, remember that this unique gardening method has been proven highly effective in thousands of situations, in dozens of countries all around the world.  It’s a recipe!  It WILL work to give you a great garden – in any soil and in virtually any climate.  But you MUST follow the recipe.

III.  Creating Your Own Successful Market Garden
How do you prepare? 
1. START SMALL!  Don’t plant more than you can care for properly, and sell or use.
2. Determine the market or markets you will sell to: a) Wholesalers, b) small grocery stores, c) restaurants, d) farmers’ markets, e) roadside stand, or f) home delivery. 
3. Learn what vegetables you should grow by determining those that:  a) sell well, b) at a good price, c) that you can grow readily. 
4. Build proper facilities including a) a seedling greenhouse with tables, b) T-Frames and c) a good watering system.  These are essential for success at this level.
5. Set up a formal accounting system, including account names and numbers for every category of asset, liability, equity, income, and expense.  Get help from your CPA.
6. Stock up on tools, seeds, and fertilizers, and be sure to include all those costs, as well as your labor, in figuring your market prices.

You’ll have to meet or beat your competition’s prices to sell your produce at
the beginning.  However, by growing more, bigger, fresher, tastier, and healthier produce than others, you will develop a loyal customer base, and then you can adjust your prices as needed.

In choosing what to grow, consider a) the ease of growing, b) cost and risk of loss, and c) the value of the crop.  Cabbage is quite easy to grow; it can be started in early spring when many other crops would die; it only requires about 60 days to mature, so you may get 2 or even 3 crops in a year.  However, it doesn’t bring a very high price in the market, so you must decide if it’s worth it
or not.  And sometimes the need to rotate your crops will be a factor.

Let’s look at some scenarios of what could be grown and sold from one acre of ground, with good care and decent weather, and without losses from bugs and diseases (by strictly following the Mittleider Method you will minimize your crops’ susceptibility to those things):

Soil-Bed Garden – 250 30′-long Beds
Beans-pole – 120 plants per bed, 1.5# per plant, $.50/#   $22,500
Corn – 92 plants per bed, 1 ear per plant, $.10/ear                2,300
Cucumbers – 45 plants per bed, 8# per plant, $.25/#           22,500
Potatoes – 92 plants per bed, 2.5# per plant, $.10/#             5,750
Tomatoes – 40 plants per bed, 10# per plant, $.50/#           50,000

The above examples are estimates only, and the actual results could be – and have been – much higher or lower, depending on many factors, including experience, weather, direct retail marketing vs. wholesale sales, etc.

If you are growing for the retail market using a roadside stand or farmers’ market booth, you will probably want a fairly wide variety of produce, to bring customers in.  While corn has low value in terms of yield for a given amount of space, it is VERY popular with customers when it’s fresh, so you may well treat it as a “Loss Leader” and have it available.  But don’t try to plant too many
vegetable varieties.  Ten or twelve key vegetable types are far easier to handle than twenty to thirty.  And three varieties of tomatoes are usually enough.  I would plant Big Beef, Italia Mia or other Roma, and Grape tomatoes.  One planting of Blue Lake or other pole beans will allow you to sell beans all season.

If your customers are restaurants, you will need to grow the specific things they use, such as specialty lettuces, tomatoes, Ichiban eggplant, small red potatoes, etc.  And you may need to plant a few beds of the single-crop things every week, to have them maturing throughout the season.

If your primary market is the large grocery store or wholesale suppliers, they will usually want a large steady supply of a few things, so you may be able to plant everything to the “money” crops of beans, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes, or multiple plantings of lettuces and other quick-growing crops.

I encourage everyone to find joy working in nature by the sweat of your brow, and sharing in God’s wonderful process of creation.

Our Family Garden Produces More Than We Can Eat – Can We Sell the Excess?

Q.  There is a real possibility that what could be produced in the twenty-four 30′ grow boxes we are planning on building and populating with vegetables is more than our family can consume or preserve.  Since Mittleider’s books state that this is also a very real possibility, I was wondering what some of you may have done to market your produce.  How do you market the produce to grocery stores?  How about wholesalers? Is a roadside stand a viable option?
 
A.  Don’t try to sell your vegetables until you are experienced enough to know that you can produce good stuff!  There’s nothing worse for your future business prospects than trying to peddle inferior quality goods.
 
Even then, the big grocery stores, and even most of the smaller ones, buy their produce exclusively from their trusted wholesaler, and probably won’t be interested.
 
And unless you can promise them a steady supply, you probably won’t have a lot of success cracking the wholesale market either.
 
A roadside stand is a full-time job for someone, and unless you can keep your produce at least cool it won’t last long.  If you are serious, though, and keep good, fresh, and inexpensive produce available, you can develop a reputation and even a business that will sustain you.  Thousands have done it before you.  You may want to invest in some used refrigeration of some kind, and certainly a large umbrella, decent bins, trays, tables, etc.
 
If you’re growing single-crop varieties in the summer months (so you can’t do the winter storage thing), plan ahead and visit with neighbors, who might be interested in buying or trading something of value. 
 
Go to specialty stores and restaurants (plus the smaller grocery stores I mentioned at first).  Explain that you grow without pesticides or herbicides, and tell them your produce is “better than organic” because your plants receive natural mineral nutrients in the exact amounts they need for optimum healthy growth.  If you can show them great looking crops, and promise some degree of stabiity in delivery, you may make some converts.  And once they try your produce they will be solid, so long as you can produce the quality that’s expected in America on a consistent basis.

Growing in Containers – What to Use and How to Feed

Q.  I have some compost manure and peat moss ready.  It looks like I may have to grow everything in containers and grow bags.  I already bought 500 5 gallon grow bags.  Does anyone have a better idea that is not expensive?    I have a $400 monthly  budget that can be applied to growing veggies.
 
A.  Be very careful about using manure – that you don’t introduce disease, weed seeds, or bugs into your garden area.  We don’t recommend the use of manure for those reasons, unless it has been composted with high heat, such as I did with the Zoo Garden (see Zoo-Doo Man article in FAQ section).   In container gardening we recommend the use of Grow-Boxes, using sawdust – which you should be able to obtain quite inexpensively from a sawmill – and sand as the primary ingredients, with peatmoss, perlite, and other inert ingredients as back-ups.  Sand is 30-35% of the mix by volume. 
 
When you get ready to fill your Grow-Boxes, or bags (read the Learn section of the website on building inexpensive Grow-Boxes), let us coach you on putting in Pre-Plant and Weekly Feed natural mineral nutrients.  The Mittleider Method is called the Poor Man’s Hydroponic Method for good reason, and you can grow terrific yields of healthy, delicious vegetables for very low cost.

Soy Beans for Commercial Sale

Q.  I plan to grow Soy Beans this season.  I will grow two (2) hectors in the field, and crops will be watered by rainfall.   I live in the tropics with lots of rainfall and sunshine.

What is the appropriate fertilizer combination for growing Soy Beans and the best Cultural practices, including seed rates per hole and per hector in a tropical setting.

A.  The ideal fertilizer combination for soy beans is the same as for other vegetables – The Pre-Plant mix before you plant, and The Weekly Feed mix during the growing season.  Amounts are as follows:  Pre-Plant – 2 tons per hectare, one time before planting, along with 300 kg of Weekly Feed.   Weekly Feed should then be applied at the rate of 300 kg per hectare twice more during the growth cycle – first after your plants emerge and the first weeding has been done, and second – 4 weeks later.  Be sure you measure and apply accurately.  Figure how many rows per hectare, and divide your fertilizers into kg’s per row, then apply, so that all plants are fed evenly.

A plant population of approximately 400,000 plants per hectare is desirable.  One kg of medium sized soybean will contain about 6,000 seeds (quantities of seed per kg range from 4800 to 7500).  At that rate, two and a half bushels of soybeans will produce about 375,000 plants per hectare assuming 90 percent germination.  This would give plants about 4 cm apart within the row at a 75 cm row spacing.    Seeding rates should be increased 5 to 7% to compensate for unavoidable plant thinning during weed control, and seeds can be planted as close as 2 cm apart if desired.  Finish your seedbed preparation just prior to planting the crop to kill germinating weeds and give your plants an even chance.

After good cultural practices such as thorough seedbed preparation and proper fertilizing, control of early weeds is the next most important element of a profitable soybean growing operation. Early weed control – during the first 2 to 4 weeks of the growing season – is essential to maximize yield.   Cultivate after emergence and before weeds are 1 cm tall, with a tractor and cultivator if they are available.  Otherwise do weeding with hand tools (the two-way hoe is best). Follow-up with manual weeding of everything missed by the cultivator.  And cultivate a second time as soon as weeds appear again. 

Because harvesting with a combine is difficult in high rainfall areas, and may not be available, following are instructions for manual harvesting.  When leaves start turning yellow, your beans are trying to ripen.  With a Japanese Spade cut the roots about 2 cm under the ground, leaving the plants standing.  Leave until the stems are dry and the leaves easily shatter off.  The pods will be dry also.  Bring a trailer with sides into the field close to a row of plants.  Take a handful of plants, bang against the inside of the trailer box, and the beans will come off into the trailer.  Throw the plant material back onto the ground and till in as a soil amendment.

Take soy beans to a covered area with good circulation, spread 2-3 cm deep, and rake occasionally until thoroughly dry. 

Where others were producing 45-58 bushels per hectare in the USA, Dr. Mittleider has grown soy beans with yields as high as 135 bushels per hectare using these methods.