Q. We are planning our fertilizer needs for next year. The cost of fertilizer has gone up over 60% this last year and they are telling me that it will go up another 50% by the spring so we are trying to get a head start on our garden.
I need to know what the list is for making up the Mittleider Magic fertilizer and where to get the micro-nutrients.
A. Some fertilizer compounds increased in price about 400% this year. And it is likely to continue. Buy all the fertilizers you can get NOW!
Following is a formula for making the Mittleider Magic Weekly Feed Mix:
Nitrogen Phosphorus Potassium
• (33.5-0-0)100 pounds 33 0 0
• (0-45-0) 40 pounds 0 18 0
• (0-0-60) 55 pounds 0 0 33
TOTALS 33 18 33
• Epsom Salt 35.0000#
* Zinc sulfate 2.625 #
* 20 Mule Team Borax 2.1875#
* Manganese sulfate 1.3125#
* Iron sulfate .3281#
* Copper sulfate .3281#
* Sodium molybdate .1640#
The above formula is about enough to supply a garden of 25 30′-long beds for a year, assuming a temperate climate.
This only requires a space 65′ X 70′- 4,550 square feet, or just over 1/10th of an acre. And by choosing the right vegetables and growing them using the Mittleider Method a family can LIVE out of that garden for many months.
Note that the NPK ratio is 110-60-110, and that we recommend ammonium nitrate.
You probably will not be able to get NH4 NO3 (34-0-0), and will therefore have to use urea (46-0-0) instead.
Even though the % nitrogen is higher with urea I recommend using the same amount of urea as you would have used if you were using NH4 NO3.
The reason is that urea is not readily available to your plants, but has to go through some chemical changes before it can be used. And in that process some of the nitrogen is volatilized into the air and lost.
Whenever you use urea be SURE to dig it into the soil surface. Do not leave it on top of the soil, for the reason just stated.
If your garden is small we recommend you buy your Micro-Nutrients already mixed from the FFE Foundation at www.foodforeveryone.org, since you will have a difficult time buying them individually in small quantities.
Opinions on whether or not the Mittleider Method is organic run the gamut,from some who poo-poo it as not being “pure” because something other than manure and compost are used, to many who consider it “the best of organic” BECAUSE it does NOT put animal excrement and ground-up body parts into the garden, but instead uses natural mineral nutrients – all of which are approved by the USDA for use in organic gardening – and applies just what the plants need throughout the growing cycle, instead of piling on the manure all at once at the beginning.
You choose. There are numerous posts in the archives of this group, and also several articles in the FAQ section of the Foundation website that discuss these issues in more detail.
Consider carefully, because I believe the day is fast approaching when you will NEED to live on what you can produce from your garden.
And I for one am getting NEXT YEAR’s fertilizer NOW.