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.
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.