For high-yielding, sustainable food growing:
1. Double-Dug Beds
Biointensive crops are planted in bed that are "double-dug".
The gardener digs 12 inches down and then loosens the next 12 inches of soil in place. This helps plant roots grow easily, allows more air in the soil, retains water, and minimizes erosion, without disturbing the natural layers of the soil.
High yields and intensive planting would not be sustainable without a way of maintaining the health and vigor of the soil.
Kitchen wastes, weeds, and the inedible parts of garden crops can be composted to feed the soil and increase fertility year after year.
3. Intensive Planting
Each plant is place the same distance from all plants around it so that when the plants mature, their leaves touch.This provides a "mini-climate" under the leaves which retains moisture, protects the valuable microbiotic life of the soil, retards weed growth, and facilitates higher yields.
4. Companion Planting
Research has shown that many plants grow better when near certain other plants.
Greens beans and strawberries, for instance, thrive when they are grown together. Some plants are useful in repelling pests. While others attract beneficial insect life.
5. Carbon Farming
Approximately 60% of the growing area is used for dual-purpose seed and grain crops.
These key crops produce a large amount of carbon, the key building block for soil fertility. The growing plants take carbon out of the air. When the plants are made into compost the carbon returns to the soil, where it feeds the light of the soil and stays out of the atmosphere.
6. Calorie Farming
For the garden to provide a major portion of the gardener's daily food needs, we recommend that 30% of the area be planted in root crops. These crops include potatoes, yams, salsify, burdock, garlic and parsnips and produce a large amount of food energy per unit of area.
7. Open-Pollinated Seeds
Open-pollinated (often known as Heirloom) seeds are best for true sustainability because gardeners can then save their own seeds.
With open-pollinated seed instead of hybrids, gardeners are free from dependence on seed corporations, and the plant varieties become better adapted to local conditions with each passing year.
8. A Whole Method
It is important to realize that the GROW BIOINTENSIVE Food-Raising Method is a whole system and that the components of this method must all be used together for the optimum effect.
If you do not use all of the components together, the soil can be rapidly depleted because of the Method's high yields.
As your soil and skills begin to improve, and your double-dug beds are fertilized with compost and planted with a diversity of crops, the GROW BIOINTENSIVE Method can help you to grow a healthy garden ecosystems, an abundance of healthy produce and healthy people!
This work by Bountiful Gardens is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.