Plants are 5 weeks old, and we are very happy with our first organic cucumber harvest..
In most cases, before cucumbers can produce fruit, the plants grow both male and female flowers on the same plant. The male flowers open first and grow in clusters of three to five, while the female flowers grow on a single stem. When successfully pollinated, the female flowers develop fruit at the flower base and the male flower drop off the plant. Male flowers outnumber female flowers 10 to one. The male flowers that drop have served their purpose.
In our garden the best plan is to hand-pollinate our cucumbers. By removing the blossom from the male flower, leaving the center anther covered in pollen to use as a brush, Codrin has applied pollen to the stigma in the female flower.
Six laws of plant growth
Jacob Mittleider defined the six laws of plant growth. These scientific laws of plant growth are non-nonnegotiable yet very few gardeners follow or fully understand them. If the gardener can figure out these 6 laws of plant growth and implement them in their Mittleider garden they will see a bountiful harvest. Ignore just one of these six laws of plant growth and your garden could be a total loss.
A quick outline of the six laws of plant growth:
Mittleider gardens provide all the nutrients plants require
Because all the required nutrients are provided on a weekly basis a Mittleider garden can be grown in any soil, even sand and sawdust! Traditional gardening methods provide very few of the required 16 nutrients. When you provide all the nutrients necessary your plants will grow large, taste better and resist disease far better than an underfed plant. Regardless of how nutrient poor your soil may be, you can grow a Mittleider garden.
The first three nutrients the plant is able to provide its self with access to the air. Those three airborne nutrients are :
- Oxygen (O)
- Hydrogen (H)
- Carbon (C)
Next comes the primary nutrients. These three macro nutrients are:
- Nitrogen (N)
- Phosphorus (P)
- Potassium (K)
The secondary nutrients are sometimes used in traditional gardens. Of the three secondary nutrients magnesium is often used for tomatoes. The three secondary nutrients are:
- Calcium (Ca)
- Magnesium (Mg)
- Sulfur (S)
The last of the nutrients needed by all plants are known as the micro-nutrients or as the trace elements. There are 7 of them:
- Boron (B)
- Copper (Cu)
- Iron (Fe)
- Manganese (Mn)
- Zinc (Zn)
- Molybdenum (Mo)
- Chlorine (Cl)
Mittlieder Gardening Method maximizes garden space
To maximize the available garden space, Dr. Jacob Mittleider began to grow vertically. For example, tomatoes can be grown a mere 9 inches apart when utilizing the Mittleider method and grown vertically under t-posts or a frames.
Baling twine is used to direct the tomato plants to grow vertically. The twine is wrapped around the plant as it grows. Every other tomato is trained up the twine in different directions towards the top of structure to a heavy gauge wire. If the gardener stands at one end of the row and looks toward the other they would see a “V” shape.
The gardener will prune the tomatoes or other vertical crop as they grow. As a result of pruning the plants are all able to get access to sunlight and air as they grow towards the top.
Growing vertically such crop as crooked neck squash keeps you from tripping on the vines and breaking plants. Going vertical makes weed control such much easier. Pruning, visual inspections for disease and insects and even harvesting is such much easier with crops grown vertically.
Use less water and help control weeds with the Mittleider gardening method
Watering a Mittleider garden soil bed is easy and uses less water than a traditional garden. A Mittleider soil bed is raised to permit good drainage. It has ridges to contain the water inside a 12 inch wide area. Because the water is only given to the plants in a narrow row, less water is used. When the water is contained inside the grow bed ridges no water gets into the isles to encourage weed growth. As a result of watering a narrow row there is far less water used as compared to traditional gardening methods.
You can learn more about the history of the Mittleider Gardening Method and even order the book from the Grow Food website. For those who like forums to share and search different topics relating to a Mittleider garden try Mittleider group on Facebook , Mittleider Gardening Forums.
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