[MittleiderMethodGardening] Feeding Your Plants - Anywhere in the World It's the Same


Friends: I received the following today from a gardener in Norway. I will include my answer as well:

Dear Mr. Kennard: I would like to try this method here in Norway in a small scale to start with, but we don't have the ingredients here like the instructions say. Just the fertilizer mentioned is hard to get hold on here. As I understand I need a 13-13-13 NPK fertilizer and the micro nutrition mix. Is there a way of creating this from natural ingredients or am I better off with chemicals?

I would like to start in my garage, since the temperature outside is already below zero, and my top floor I have temperature controlled since I brew my own beer here. Would be great if the leftovers from the beer brewing could be used for gardening. I saw someone in youtube using this in the compost, and we have plenty of compost now. This contains mainly gras and tree and now also waste from my beer brewing. During the summer there is plenty of worms in there, now they abandoned the compost, probably too cold. Some people created compost tee from these worms droppings, and I guess there would be plenty in the heap. Could I take some of this inside to defrost and create a tee to get a similar yield from this or does this depend very much on the composition and age of the compost?

I read that probably best of with chemical compost but this is hard to get hold of here. Like you mention to make a weekly compost using NPK 13-13-13. Any idea how to create this? Thanks - Kind regards, Facebook

Rene: Plants need 13 elements - that's natural minerals - and The Mittleider system of growing provides these in just the proper amounts. Whether growing in the garden or in a greenhouse or other protected environment, such as your garage, the laws of plant growth are the same.

You talk about "natural" materials vs chemicals. Please understand that everything in this world is chemical. And the plants can't tell the difference between nitrogen (or any of the other mineral nutrients) from a compost pile and that from a fertilizer bag. The difference is in knowing if you are actually giving something to the plants, and how much they are actually getting.

Whenever a person uses compost, or any organic material, they have no idea which or how much of those 13 nutrients are being fed to their plants. In the USA many people apply Weed & Feed to their lawns. Of course the Weed part of that is an herbicide, and you certainly don't want THAT in your vegetable garden.

I read just recently that the hops from making beer are NOT good for use as compost, so I would not recommend it. You could put it into the ground somewhere that you are not planting immediately and dig it in, to improve the soil tilth for later.

To find fertilizers I recommend you learn where the farmers and commercial vegetable growers (even hydroponic/greenhouse growers) purchase their fertilizers. You may not find 16-16-16, or even 13-13-13, but you will very likely find some of the following:
Urea - 46-0-0
Ammonium Nitrate - 34-0-0
Ammonium Sulfate - 21-0-0

Phosphorus (called phosphate)
Diammonium Phosphate - 18-46-0 (also has nitrogen in it as you can see)
Monoammonium Phosphate - 11-53-0 "

Potassium (called potash)
Potassium sulfate - 0-0-50
Potassium chloride - 0-0-60

You may find OTHER sources of these "Macro" or Major elements, and the numbers I've listed may not be exactly the same in your country, but all over the world commercial growers use some form of these three elements to grow their crops, so they ARE available in your country

When you find what the big growers use, get prices and then tell me everything you have learned. I will then coach you on which ones to use in making the perfect fertilizer for vegetable gardens.

Beyond the "big three" you will also need to source:

Calcium - for the Pre-Plant Mix, and you will want to find agricultural or dolomite lime for that. If you figure you will need 200# of Weekly Feed for a year's garden then you would probably need about 65# of lime.

Magnesium - In the USA most family gardeners find Epsom Salts, which they find at their grocery store or Pharmacy. For 200# of Weekly Feed you would need 32# of Epsom Salts. If you are able to find things from the big growers you may also want to ask for Magnesium, because they will very likely be using it. Large growers are probably using a better source of magnesium than Epsom Salts (only 10% Mg), so check this out and tell me what you find.

The Micro-Nutrients that are listed in the book are very difficult to find in the quantities you need, so I recommend you just get them from the Foundation. Even the expensive shipping costs are not as bad as buying 50# of zinc (and etc .for the other micros) and having 10 or 20 times as much as you need.

Let me know what else I can do to assist you,

Jim Kennard


Posted by: jim@growfood.com
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