Soil Modifiers

A good source of calcium and magnesium to be used when both are needed. Do not use dolomitic lime in a soil with an adequate or high level of magnesium. Do not use lime to sweeten the compost pile as doing so will result in a serious loss of nitrogen. A layer of soil will discourage flies and reduce odors. 1 qt about 3 lbs 8 oz. A good source of calcium when magnesium levels are too high for applying dolomitic lime. Oyster shell flour lime ( 34 to 36 Ca) is a good...

More Sustainabile Fertilization

Each gardener should strive to use less and less fertilizer brought in from outside his or her own garden area. This will be especially true when such amendments become scarce due to the increased number of people using them. There are at least 4 ways to create a more closed system garden, to which few resources are imported 1. Use most of the food you grow at home, so all the residues are returned to your soil. Export as little as possible of your valuable soil resource. 2. Grow some trees....

Composting Methods Compared

The grow biointensive method of making compost differs in particular from the biodynamic method in that the grow biointensive method is simpler, normally uses no manure, and usually uses no herbal solutions to stimulate microorganism growth.6 Manure, used continually and in large amounts in biodynamic compost piles, is an imbalanced fertilizer, although it is a good texturizing agent because of its usual decomposed sawdust content. Rather than using herbal solutions, grow biointensive practices...

Soil Testing

A professional soil test performed by a laboratory will provide you with the most complete evaluation. Unfortunately, because of variation in soil types, climates, cultivation practices, The La Motte soil test kit is a home kit. The La Motte soil test kit is a home kit. Test Results per 100 Square Feet NITROGEN (N), PHOSPHORUS (P), AND POTASSIUM (K) Pounds of fertilizer to add per 100 square feet. Pounds of pure nutrients added are given in parentheses. Note The goal is to reduce the nutrient...

Potassium

Use up to 1.5 lbs 134 qt 100 sq ft. Ash from wood is high in potassium and helps repel maggots. Ash also has an alkaline effect on the soil, so use it with care if your soil pH is above 6.5. Black wood ash is best. wood ash provides strength and plant essence, aids in insect control, and is a flavor enhancer for vegetables, especially lettuce and tomatoes. You can produce it with a controlled, soil-covered, slow-burning fire built during a soft drizzle or rain. This...

An Historical Introduction

Biointensive Planting Design

In September 1971, Larry White, Director of the Nature and Science Department for the City of Palo Alto, invited Stephen Kafka, Senior Apprentice at the University of California Santa Cruz Student Garden, to give a 4-hour class on the biodynamic French intensive method of gardening. Two years before, the city had made land available to the public for gardening, and residents appeared eager to hear more about this method. Alan Chadwick had brought the method to Santa Cruz 5 years earlier, and...

General Preface

Ecology Action Goal Act as a catalyst, teach teachers, and train students The Common Ground Garden was started in California in 1972 to determine what agricultural techniques would make food-raising by small farmers and gardeners more efficient. We call the results mini-farming. Mini-farms can flourish in nonagricultural areas such as mountainous regions, arid areas, and in and around urban centers. Food can be produced where people live. With knowledge and skill, the yield per hour can be high...

Veggies In Flats

Photos Vegetables That Grow Ground

If you build your own flats, the standard flat size is 3 inches deep by 14 inches wide by 23 inches long. For smaller home gardens, and people with less sturdy backs, half-sized flats may be more convenient. The depth is critical since an overly shallow flat allows the seedling roots to touch the bottom too soon. When this occurs, the plants believe they have reached their growth limit, and they enter a state of premature senility. In this state the plants begin to flower and fruit even though...

Seed Planting

Grow Biointensive

Seeds should be planted as deep as the thin vertical dimension of each side. Lima and fava beans may be planted on their sides. Their root systems, which emerge from an eye, can grow straight down. The seeds should be covered with humus-containing flat soil, which is similar to the soil with decomposed plant matter found over germinating seeds in nature. The compost stimulates the germination process. Seeds, whether they are planted in beds or in flats, should Hexagonal spacing , 1 1- 1- 11 lt...

Preparation

Gal Square Bucket

Goal Develop soil structure so the plants will have a living sponge cake in which to thrive Preparing the raised bed is the most important step in grow biointensive gardening. Proper soil structure and nutrients allow uninterrupted and healthy plant growth. Loose soil with good nutrients enables roots to penetrate the soil easily, and a steady stream of nutrients can flow into the stem and leaves. How different from the usual situation when a plant is transferred from a flat with loose soil and...

Flat Soil

You are now ready to prepare the soil in which to grow seedlings. A good simple flat soil mix is one part sifted compost and one part bed soil saved from the first trench when you double-dug by volume. Old flat soil, which has been used to raise seedlings, can be stored in a bin. Although some of the nutrients will have been depleted, it will still be rich in nutrients and organic matter, so it can be used to make a new flat mix. In this case, the recipe would be one part old flat soil, one...

Grow More Vegetables

Growing Vegetables

and fruits, nuts, berries, grains, and other crops TEN SPEED PRESS BERKELEY TORONTO Copyright 1974, 1979, 1982, 1990, 1991, 1995, 2001, 2002 by Ecology Action of the Midpeninsula, 5798 Ridgewood Road, Willits, CA 95490-9730 www.growbiointensive.org Ten Speed Press P. O. Box 7123 Berkeley, California 94707 www.tenspeed.com All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form, except brief excerpts for the purpose of review, without written permission of the publisher....

Watering

Haws Fine Rain Watering

When beds and flats are watered, the grow biointensive method approximates rainfall as much as possible. The fine rain of water absorbs beneficial airborne nutrients as well as air, helping the growth process. For seeds and seedlings in flats, you can use a special English Haws sprinkling can, which has fine holes in the sprinkler's rose.3 The rose points up so that when you water, the pressure built up in the rose first goes up into the air, where much of the pressure is dissipated as it flows...

Philosophy

Soil Structure And Plant Growth

Goal Learn from the experiences of farmers through time Winter lettuce growing in an 1890s cloche bell-glass . The standard diameter is 163 4 inches. Winter lettuce growing in an 1890s cloche bell-glass . The standard diameter is 163 4 inches. The grow biointensive method of horticulture is a quiet, vitally alive art of organic gardening that relinks people with the whole universe a universe in which each of us is an interwoven part of the whole. People find their place by relating and...

Adding Fertilizers and Compost

Adding Fertilizers

Add fertilizers and other amendments one at a time. Avoid windy days, and hold the fertilizer close to the bed surface when spreading. Use the different colors to help you. The soil is dark, so sprinkle on a light-colored fertilizer such as oyster shell flour first, then a darker fertilizer such as alfalfa meal , and so on. It is better to underapply the fertilizers because you can go back over the bed afterward to spread on any leftover, but it is difficult to pick up fertilizer if too much...

What a Home Soil Test Will Not Tell

A professional soil test is an excellent tool for analyzing deficiencies, excesses, and the relative balance of all plant nutrients in your garden's soil. A home test kit, however, is very limited and only points out pH level and deficiencies of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. If you have difficulty growing healthy plants in your garden, a home test kit may not provide the solution. Plants grown in soil lacking any of the major or trace minerals show their deficiency in yellowed leaves,...

Transplanting

A Biodynamic gardener once had a row of broccoli plants. Only two plants had aphids, but both were quite infested. The Loose soil with good nutrients enables roots to penetrate the soil easily, and a steady stream of nutrient flows into the stem and leaves. Loose soil with good nutrients enables roots to penetrate the soil easily, and a steady stream of nutrient flows into the stem and leaves. Seedlings are transplanted when they are 2 to 3 inches high except for those marked LG in column L4...

Step by Step

Tool For Growing Vegetable

Spread a layer of compost over the entire area to be dug. Spread a layer of compost over the entire area to be dug. Using a spade, remove the soil from a trench 1 foot deep and 1 foot wide across the width of the bed, and put the soil into buckets or a wheelbarrow for use in making compost and flat soil. If the bed is 5 feet wide, the soil will fill 7 5-gallon buckets. The trench is being dug across the width of the bed. Sides of bed may be dug outward into path. Sides of bed may be dug outward...

The Process

Compost is created from the decomposition and recombination of various forms of plant and animal life, such as leaves, grass, wood, garbage, natural-fiber clothes, hair, and bones. These materials are organic matter. Organic matter is only a small fraction of the total material that makes up the soil generally between 1 and 8 . Yet organic matter is absolutely essential to the sustenance of soil life and fertility. Organic matter refers to dead plant and animal residues of all kinds and in all...

Planting by the Phases of the Moon

Planting The Moon Cycles

One of the most controversial aspects of the grow biointensive method is Alan Chadwick's method of planting seeds and transplanting seedlings according to the phases of the moon. Short- and extra-long-germinating seeds which take approximately 1 month to germinate are planted 2 days before the new moon, when significant magnetic forces occur, and up to 7 days after the new moon. Long-germinating seeds are planted at the full moon and up to 7 days afterward. Seedlings are transplanted at the...

Sustainability

Goal Grow and maintain sustainable soil fertility Richard St. Barbe Baker, My Life, My Trees Sustainability means living in such a way that there are enough resources to live well in an alive, diverse, thriving environment indefinitely. Sustainability is possible individual people, families, and communities accomplish this frequently all around the world. Yet most people find this challenging. Many of us are living on 6 times or more the resources that would be available to each person in the...

Master Charts

The Master Charts that follow should help your gardening efforts. The charts for grains, compost crops, trees, and other crops provide a picture of what you can accomplish in your own backyard or small farm-holding. Also see Ecology Action's Backyard Homestead, Mini-Farm and Garden Log Book. Additional information about special seed sources and harvesting, cleaning, grinding, storing, and preserving these crops will be included in the future. The charts are largely based on our many years of...

Natural System

Biointensive Garden Planting Chart

In nature, living things die, and their death allows life to be reborn. Both animals and plants die on forest floors and in meadows to be composted by time, water, microorganisms, sun, and air to produce a soil improved in structure and nutrients. Organic plant growing follows nature's example. Leaves, grass, weeds, prunings, spiders, birds, trees, and plants should be returned to the soil and reused not thrown away. Composting is an important way to recycle such elements as carbon, nitrogen,...

The Grow Biointensive Sustainable Mini Farm

Biointensive Plant Spacing

Approximate Crop Area Percentages for Sustainability 60 30 10 Approximately 40 beds 4,000 sq ft for one person 5,000 sq ft including paths high-calorie root crops e.g., potatoes for maximum calories -12 beds 60 carbon-and-calorie crops e.g., grains for maximum carbon and satisfactory calorie production -24 beds 10 vegetable crops e.g., salad crops for vitamins and minerals 4 beds If desired, 50 to 75 of the vegetable crops area may be used for income crops. CLARIFICATIONS AND EXAMPLES FOR THE...

Mini Greenhouses

Small Greenhouse Construction Plans

A mini-greenhouse made from plastic sheeting and wood6 can increase the temperature of the soil and the air surrounding plants and allow you to get an early start on the growing season in the spring and to lengthen the growing season in the autumn. Our design has double-walled construction, which can keep the inside temperature above the freezing point when the outside temperature falls as low as 20 F. This makes the unit a good season-extender for crops. The grow biointensive method is...

Compost Curing Maturation and Application Rates

Usually, a compost pile needs one turning to adjust the moisture level and make the mixture more homogeneous for complete breakdown. This should be done at about the 3-week point, after the temperature of the compost pile has peaked and fallen. A decrease in moisture usually occurs at the same time, the color begins to change to brownish from the original green and yellow, and the compost's odor begins to change from musty to an earthy, freshly plowed soil aroma. The compost will normally be...