Producing seeds in your own garden is no big problem if you’re growing crops with seeds in the fruit, such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, etc. However, for things like lettuce, cabbage, and onions you have to let the plant stay in the garden while it “goes to seed” – sometimes for as long as a second year.
“Greenhouse pepper cultivars generally have an indeterminate pattern of growth. Because the plants can grow up to 6-ft tall during a growing season of 250 days, they need to be supported vertically. Pepper plants can be trellised to the Dutch “V” system or to the “Spanish” system ( Fig. 8 ).
“Trellising plants with the “V” system consists of forming a plant with two main stems by removing one of the two shoots developed on each node and leaving one or more adjacent leaves per node. The pairs of stems are kept vertically by the use of hanging twines that are wound around the stems as they grow. The “V” trellis system is used by Dutch and Canadian growers.
“Some of the commonly used cultivars are Parker, Triple 4, Cubico, and Lorca for red; Kelvin, for yellow; and Neibla, and Emily, for orange fruits. New pepper cultivars for greenhouse production are introduced every year by seed companies
Organic Fertilizing & Nitrogen Deficiency
Q. Sometimes I have seen gardens with compost and manure as the fertilizer of choice become very yellow. What causes this, and how do I avoid that happening to my garden?
A. What you have seen is “Induced Nitrogen Deficiency.” Soil amendments, including straw, tree bark, shavings or sawdust, peat moss, and manure (almost always containing a large percentage of bedding straw or sawdust) can induce a nitrogen deficiency on plants. The reason is that these materials are very high in carbon content, and therefore adding them into the soil raises the carbon to nitrogen ratio.
The carbon to nitrogen ratio is the amount of carbon in relation to the amount of nitrogen in the soil. This ratio should be 10:1 or lower. When the soil has ten parts of carbon, it should have at least one part of nitrogen or the plants will not be able to obtain the nitrogen they need. When carbonatious soil amendments are added, the amount of carbon is raised in relation to nitrogen. Micro-organisms in the soil attempt to break down the carbonatious material and in this process they use some of the nitrogen from the soil, making the ratio even worse. The micro-organisms have the ability to take the nitrogen before the plant can, so oftentimes adding soil amendments induces a nitrogen deficiency for the plant population. Therefore, whenever soil amendments are used, it is important to add some nitrogen, to bring the carbon to nitrogen ratio back to a ten to one, so that both the plant and the micro-organisms requirements are satisfied.
Q. I want to grow the healthiest vegetables possible. Isn’t organic gardening healthier than the Mittleider Method – tell me the truth!
A. This is a very good question and it deserves a straight answer. I will therefore tell you some very important things about plant nutrition. First of all, plants receive nutrition only as water- soluble mineral compounds, through their roots. When we put compost or manure, etc. into the soil, the organic material must first decompose, and the nutrient compounds must revert to water-soluble minerals before the next generation of plants can use them. This takes time, and sometimes as much as half of the nutrients are lost in the process.
Secondly, there is no difference between organic, mineral, and chemical nutrients. Everything in this world is a chemical!! To the chemist everything in the soil is called chemicals, to a geologist they are called minerals, and to an organic enthusiast they are called organics, but they are the same substances. To quote J. I. Rodale, “we organic gardeners have let our enthusiasm run away with us. We have said that the nitrogen which is in organic matter is different (and thus somehow better) from nitrogen in a commercial fertilizer. But this is not so.” And “actually there is no difference between the nitrogen in a chemical fertilizer and the nitrogen in a leaf.” (Organic Gardening)
Thirdly, there is no difference between soil and rocks except for the size of the particles, and 12 of the 13 mineral nutrients plants require are essentially ground-up rocks! There is really nothing “synthetic” about them. So, you see there is no difference between “organic nitrogen”, mineral nitrogen and chemical nitrogen – except the nitrogen that is part of an organic substance must decompose and revert to the water-soluble mineral state before being available to plants.
This being the case, what should we do to assure we have the best garden and the healthiest plants possible? Give the plants the best combination of nutrition we possibly can. Remember that 99% of us depend on 1% to feed us, and the big growers feed their crops! The big fertilizer companies use formulas similar to Dr. Mittleider’s and call them “The preferred horticultural mix.” Just check out Scott’s Peter’s Professional Pete Lite as an example.
Now, this is not to say that organic materials don’t have a place in the garden. You can improve soil texture and tilth by adding materials that have desirable characteristics. However, improving the soil in that way is not necessary to having a good garden, and people often introduce weeds, rodents, bugs, and diseases into their gardens, or provide a haven for them with their organic mulching practices. It is for this reason that we do not emphasize and encourage composting and manure.
Mittleider gardens qualify as “organic” because we don’t use pesticides or herbicides. However, I suggest they are even “better than organic”, because the plants receive just what they need, they grow fast, and we almost never have insect or disease problems because they aren’t in the ground long enough for the pests to get established.
Q. I don’t like the registration process, why must I do it, and why is it so difficult? Also, how do I read the manuals and other things? And finally, my current garden is only 2 feet by 15 feet. I can’t seem to get the program to allow me to plant plants. Can I get my money back?
A. Thanks for your comments. And please forgive us for our failure to please you in your first exposure to The Garden Master CD. Hopefully your comments will help us learn to do things better.Dr. Ron Guymon, the creator of the Garden Designer, has forwarded your note to me, and I would like to try and help you figure things out, if possible.Dr. Guymon is working on making the registration process easier. Our idea in including the 9 manuals on the CD was to give everyone a very nice “bonus” for registering as a customer, and the 3 that are available for you to access before registering are intended to help you see the value, so that you will want to register and receive the other 6. Perhaps we didn’t explain that adequately.Are you able to read the 3 manuals? If not, you will just need to install the Free Acrobat Reader that is on the CD. That makes it possible to read PDF files, including the books and lessons, as well as the manuals.With regard to your garden of 2′ X 15′, all you have to do is make all your aisle spaces “0”, and you will have a row in which to plant. Certainly the benefits of organizing and planning a garden are greatly minimized with one so small. I hope you or your family or neighbors have the opportunity of growing a bigger garden, so that you can benefit from the unique and valuable features of the Designer.The Designer portion of the CD took a brilliant PhD educator, who has trained many Fortune 500 staff people, 3 years and something like $100,000 to create. And while it isn’t perfect, I really believe it can be a terrific tool to help you and your family and friends avoid the mistakes that so frequently cause failure in the garden.The books and manuals sell in the paper version for about $70, and are the result of Dr. Mittleider’s 57 years’ experience all around the world, and the assistance of other PhD educators in their presentation. By using these materials you can be confident of having a garden that is the envy of your friends and neighbors. I am attaching a brief recap of just a few of the many success stories from around the world, of people whose lives have been changed by using these materials.You may not be aware of the standard practice in the industry regarding software returns. Because of the ability of anyone to copy the entire contents of a CD ROM disk, refunds are not given, however, if a product is defective it can be returned for replacement. Please give the books, lessons, video snippets, and the Designer another chance, and don’t judge this material too harshly on the basis of your first look – particularly using the benefits to creating a 2′ X15′ garden as a criteria.
Q. Can you help automate the gardening process?
A. If you would like to create or expand your garden and need help with decisions and automating the planning process, the Garden Wizard, available at www.growfood.com on the Software page, is a great tool! Dr. Ron Guymon has devoted thousands of man hours over two and one half years to producing this multi-faceted tool for those who want help determining what, when, where, and how to plant, water, feed, etc. It includes growing season helps for over 3,000 locations in the USA, as well as planting and feeding requirements for all common vegetable crops.
Another way to automate your gardening is to build a simple and effective watering system that will allow you to water quickly and efficiently while saving water. The plans for this system are in Chapter 15 of the Mittleider Gardening Course – available at www.growfood.com on the Books page. They can be seen free in the Store section as well.