Q. The commercial produce growers in my area use black plastic with drip lines. They mix fertilizer in their irrigation water and pump it to the plants. What makes the Mittleider method more productive and efficient?
A. Large commercial growers of things like lettuce, cabbage, etc., who water and feed accurately, especially those who feed regularly right in the water supply, and who eliminate weeds completely, are at least as good and productive as the Mittleider Method. They also have very large investments in materials and equipment.
The Mittleider Method is sometimes called “the poor man’s hydroponic method” because it borrows principles and procedures from the large hydroponic, greenhouse, and field growers, and adapts and sizes them to the small family farmer and family-size garden. And we produce great yields without the large capital investment large growers must face.
Most family gardeners don’t understand the importance of a constant water supply, just to the root zone of the plants. They don’t appreciate the value of regular feeding with a complete, balanced nutrient, and they don’t realize how much weeds rob their garden of nutrients that are essential to the well-being of their vegetable plants.
Beyond those three principles, the Mittleider Method teaches vertical growing, with the attendant pollinating, pruning, and protection issues the hydroponic growers handle so well.
These are the primary elements that set the Mittleider Method apart from typical or traditional FAMILY GARDENING and make it SIMILAR to (not better than) hydroponic and large commercial growers.