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 ground to minimize disease and pest infestations from that common source.
5) We allow no weeds – nor encourage putting mulch, etc. on the ground – 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 home gardens).
With these preventative cultural practices, plus fast healthy growth, Mittleider Method gardens have much less need to use pesticides or herbicides anyway.