Greenhouse Kits? Tillers? Fertilizer Availability? Learn to Grow?

Q.  1. What is your view of the less expensive greenhouses that can be purchased as kits? i.e. “Hoop Houses” and the like. Are these valuable tools for vegetable gardeners? Could you recommend using them to raise vegetables through their complete cycle… from seeding to harvesting? ( as opposed to only using these greenhouses to extend the season for one’s crops).

2. Do you recommend the use of large garden tillers to prepare your soil, cultivate, etc. ? There are also smaller, lighter tillers that seem quite popular and are often used for weeding/cultivating etc. (the Mantis tiller/cultivator and others). These are much easier to manage because of their light weight.

3.  Since you often teach your methods in foreign and/or  third world countries, I am wondering if you can provide the addresses of fertilizer suppliers in countries other than the USA. My home is in Canada and I would love to know if you are aware of sources of your recommended fertilizers here in Canada, for instance. If not, would it be difficult to import these chemicals from your recommended sources in the States? I am especially wondering about the mixtures of minor trace elements that I have read about on this site. It could be very difficult to find a supplier of these ingredients locally. Another concern might be the high freight costs of importing fertilizers from some distance, given their weight.

4.  And finally, using the Mittleider methods, would it be possible to learn from you how to raise vegetables in a greenhouse environment? I am thinking here about producing  such things as tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, & lettuce in quantities sufficient to sell to our local supermarkets. Perhaps your gardening methods are not geared to the special challenges inherent in such small-scale, commercial vegetable production using small greenhouses. A “Mom & Pop” operation is what I have in mind here. The overall costs of setting up an income-producing venture is critical to me too. We would have to be somewhat frugal regarding the start-up costs and capital costs.

A. 1)  All of them have value, otherwise they would not continue selling.  How much value becomes the question of importance.  We have used some, including a corrugated fibreclass quonset-type only 6′ wide and 12′ long, and the Solar Optic 8′ X 21′ fiberglass units sold by a company in BC, Canada.  We provide the Mittleider-design greenhouse plans free because we believe you can get the most value for your money and the best design by using Dr. Mittleider’s Continuous Ventilator greenhouse. 

Greenhouse plans are available in several of Dr. Mittleider’s books, including The Mittleider Gardening Course – at and the Gardening Library CD is perhaps the best bargain to see the plans in several books. 

If you need better insulation than 6 mil greenhouse plastic gives, you can cover your greenhouse with dual or triple-wall polycarbonate for less money than buying a comparable ready-made kit.  We recommend using at least 8 mil thickness.

If you are using a greenhouse to grow crops to maturity a tunnel may be okay if you’re only growing short-season crops.  You need to be able to raise the sides easily, to give ample ventilation.  A Mittleider greenhouse is tall enough, sturdy enough, and inexpensive enough to justify building for crop production, and they have been used for that purpose hundreds, if not thousands of times.  And with the roof ventilation, plus both sides if necessary, and doors on the ends, the ventilation is excellent.

2)  We teach people who have no money for even a good shovel, and have many advocates who are millionaires with tractors – along with every level in between.  Buy equipment to fit the job.  I own a Mantis, and haven’t used it for years.  I also own a 5-horse Troy-Bilt and 2 – 7-horse Troy-Bilts, and use them all the time.  Of course my garden is 1/2 acre.  If I was gardening in a space 5′ X 15′ or in Grow-Boxes the mantis would be fine and the others would not even fit.  The book Gardening By The Foot, also available at, is excellent in showing how you can grow great gardens with very little space, tools, or money.

3)  Are there ANY farms within 50 miles of you?  How about truck farms or greenhouses.  The ingredients for the Mittleider Magic fertilizers are so common that every agronomist knows them and where to get them.  Canada is not a backward country and has some of the best farming practices in the world.  I am aware of hydroponic growers in BC who grow 330 TONS of tomatoes PER ACRE!  You can find the simple ingredients for the fertilizers most ANYWHERE IN CANADA, with the possible exception of the Northwest Territories.  You can’t be looking under a rock for them, but they are not hard to find.  Start with farm supply stores.

If my answer seems a little strong, please forgive me, but we have found the fertilizers in the middle of the most backward countries in the world.  And it is ALWAYS worth the effort.

4)  The Foundation teaches a 3-month agriculture course.  If you follow me to Zimbabwe or Madagascar, you could even join us and learn how to really do it right.  Or you could buy the books Let’s Grow Tomatoes, Gardening by the Foot, and the Garden Doctor set, along with Food For Everyone (the text for the 3-month training course), and by following the steps laid out, you can be successful.  Those books only cost about $130, and are a great investment for the serious gardener.  But let me suggest what might be even a better opportunity.  We have digitized all of these books, plus 3 more, and 9 technical manuals, then we created a Searchable database on a single CD ROM disk.  We call it the Mittleider Gardening Library.  And instead of costing hundreds it’s only $69.95.  The Garden Wizard CD, costing only $10 will give you everything else, including a good database of plants, a garden designer, etc., etc.
Yes it is definitely possible to learn from us how to grow vegetables in greenhouses, or most anywhere else there’s some heat, light, and water.

I highly recommend the archive of posts to the Mittleider Method Gardening group on, this FAQ section, the free chapters from Dr. Mittleider’s books in the Store section of the website, and as a last resort, springing for a few bucks and getting a book or two.

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

A digital copy costs 30-40% less, and is available instantly!  I HIGHLY recommend you look here for the best gardening books available anywhere!  Get one NOW and be gardening TODAY!!