Free Gardening Seminars – Tips & techniques for turning a weed patch into the Garden of Eatin

I am delighted for the opportunity of presenting free ½-day vegetable gardening seminars again this winter and spring to a limited number of groups who request them. My availability is necessarily limited, and timing is critical, so get your church, community, or gardening club involved now!

Seminars include 2 ½ hours of fast-paced pictorial instruction in the classroom, and 2 ½ hours of demonstration and practice in the garden. Your group will learn the unique world-renowned Mittleider Method of vegetable gardening that’s been called “better than organic,” and “the poor man’s hydroponic system,” and that promises you a great garden in any soil and in virtually any climate.

Whatever size garden you have to work with – whether 100 square feet or one acre; whether on a patio, in containers, or in the dirt; and whether it’s organic, or even hydroponic, you will learn to solve your unique problems and improve your gardening success. And you’ll enjoy gardening for a change!

You’ll learn tips and techniques for maximizing your limited space – eliminating weeds – using less water more efficiently – increasing yields – improving quality – extending your growing season – and minimizing problems with bugs and diseases.

Next summer you can eat fresh garden-grown tomatoes almost as soon as others are getting theirs established and growing in the garden! And you can still be enjoying them in December, long after your neighbors are paying top prices for “plastic” store-bought varieties. And you don’t need expensive greenhouses or hydroponic equipment to do it!

Dr. Jacob Mittleider developed these methods specifically for family gardeners all over the world. And we keep the procedures simple and the costs down, so that families, whatever their financial situation, can grow their own food and achieve health, self-sufficiency, and independence, while enjoying the experience.

You’ll want a large group (50-100 minimum) and a tilled garden space near the classroom (2-3 minute drive maximum), to assure the maximum benefit for all participants.

Email the Foundation with the details of your request at, or call 801-583-4449 or 888-548-4449. Let’s make 2007 the best, most productive, and most enjoyable gardening year you’ve ever had!

Meanwhile, if you live too far away, or can’t get a large group together, you can get most of the benefits of an in-person seminar by ordering the Garden Master CD, or the Mittleider Gardening Library CD from the Foundation at Then if you request it by emailing me at, I will also send you a copy of a live seminar I conducted recently.

Jim Kennard, President Food For Everyone Foundation “Teaching the world to grow food one family at a time.”

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 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

Natural Fertilizers Preferred

Q.  I am curious if there are any Mittleider Method materials that have been adapted for organic vegetable production.  I have grown vegetables for many years and prefer avoiding soluble commercial fertilizers.

A.  We do not use soluble fertilizers, such as Miracle Gro, but prefer to use the simpler, more natural compounds.  All of the materials we use and recommend have been approved by the USDA for use in organic gardening.

We know exactly what we are feeding our plants, whereas organic growers often find themselves not knowing what they have, especially with the micro-nutrients.

Our experience around the world has also taught us that manure and compost often contain weed seeds and diseases, and sometimes even bugs.  We get great yields for an entire growing season while some of our organic neighbors watch their gardens stop producing in July and August.

If you are skeptical, I recommend you plant some of your garden using each  method separately, and compare the results.

Can a Mittleider Garden Be Organic?

Q.  Can a Mittleider Garden Be Organic?

A.  In response to a woman who is growing a 1-acre organic garden in California, I wrote the following.  I’ve enumerated a few of the principles and procedures which make the Mittleider Method unique – and better than most others.

Many have referred to the  Mittleider Method as “better than organic” because most of our gardens can qualify as organic (once in a while growers in hot countries have to use pesticides or lose their whole crop).

The reasons they may be better than organic include, but are not limited to:

1) because we leave nothing to chance, but apply small amounts of natural mineral nutrients to assure fast, healthy growth.  This also helps our plants ward off pests and diseases that will often take less healthy plants.

2) We encourage growing healthy seedlings in a clean, warm environment, which gives the plants a major head-start and avoids much of the problems encountered upon germination and emergence – with cold soil, hungry bugs, damping-off, etc.

3) We water only the root zones, thus not encouraging pest and disease proliferation caused by sprinkling or flooding.

4) We prune any leaves touching the cround to minimize disease and pest infestations from that common source.

5) We allow no weeds – nor encourage putting mulch, etc. on the bround – since both of these harbor pests and diseases.

6) Since our plants grow very fast and reach maturity quicker than typical gardens, the diseases and pests have less chance to take over. 

7) Then we harvest and remove a crop immediately at maturity, to avoid the buildup of pests and diseases that occur when people leave their crop too long in the garden (all too common in homegardens).

With these preventative cultural practices, plus fast healthy griowth, Mittleider Method gardens have much less need to use pesticides or herbicides anyway.

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!!

Types of Sawdust to Use

To all Sawdust users:
Some folks think that because Cedar or other kinds of bark are used to keep weeds down, sawdust from those sources will be bad for plants.  This is not the case.  Bark and other types of mulch inhibit weed growth primarily by denying light to emerging weed seedlings. 
On the negative side, mulches also encourage garden pests and diseases by giving them a cool damp place to live and multiply.  We recommend you keep your garden clean, clear, and dry, except at the root zone of your plants. When you plant according to the Mittleider Method the close-planted vegetable plants will quickly shade the ground and minimize water evaporation, without any need for other ground cover.
Walnut sawdust is the only material – at least in North America – that we have found to be a problem for vegetable plants.



Growing Commercially – Mittleider VS Hydroponics

Q.  We want to go into gardening commercially, and hydroponic greenhouse growing has been recommended.  How is your Method similar or better for us than going hydroponic?

A.  Before you spend any money on Hydroponic buildings and equipment you need to learn about the Mittleider Method, for sure! Building a Mittleider-style greenhouse will save you many thousands of dollars in the building of it and many thousands more in operating costs.  The Mittleider Method is sometimes referred to as modified hydroponics, because we feed the plants the 13 necessary nutrients, in a scientifically balanced ratio.  However, rather than putting expensive instantly water-soluble formulas in the water supply, we use Natural Mineral Nutrients that are easily and inexpensively obtained and apply the nutrients right on the soil – then water them in.  Also, as alluded to in the previous paragraph, unlike hydroponics, we grow plants right in the ground, or if we’re in Greenhouses we use raised Grow-Boxes with open bottoms, so the plants still have access to the natural soil – to obtain other nutrients they may want or need.  Mittleider gardens are well known for producing tremendous yields, even approaching those of hydroponics, while our crops like tomatoes are better tasting and cost a small fraction of those grown by hydroponic methods.