Using methods dating back thousands of years, it was formalized and brought to the US by famous English horticulturist, Alan Chadwick. Originally termed French Biodynamic Intensive, and then Biointensive gardening, it is now termed and promoted more properly as Biointensive Sustainable Mini-Farming. It is one of the most productive forms of agriculture extant, often exceeding standard culture methods by two to six times. Biointensive agriculture is almost always done using all-organic methods. It differs from more orthodox culture systems via combining five tactics, which almost always occur together: 1) Double-dug, raised beds: Usually 3-5 feet wide, separated by paths, digging to two feet deep. Planted soil is never walked on. This keeps soil uncompacted, gives plant roots maximum freedom to grow, lets soil absorb and retain far more water with far less erosion, makes weeding far easier. 2) Dense (intensive) planting: Instead of rows, arrange plants in hexagonal arrays so they grow to shade soil from direct sun, shade out weeds, conserve soil moisture, and shelter helpful creatures. 3) Composting: Fertilizes, aerates, and builds soil, raises water capacity. 4) Intercropping, companion planting: Grow some plants near each other to raise yields, repel pests, attract helpful creatures, build soil. 5) Whole system synergy: Use all tactics together for maximum results. If any tactic is omitted, results are poorer. Overall, emphasis is less on growing plants, and more on growing soil, since it is the soil which ultimately feeds us.

Subcategories 3

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Biointensive for Russia
People-to-people environmental gardening project supported by Ecology Action and USAID. Works via Russian-language publications and seminars hosted by ecology groups and agricultural colleges in former Soviet Union.
Bountiful Gardens
Biointensive supplies, heirloom seeds, garden tools, books, pamphlets, videos.
Ecology Action
Organization providing research and promotion of biointensive gardening and mini-farming, conserving soil and resources, sustainability. Includes definitions, tours, workshops, conferences, books, and brief case histories.
Seattle Tilth Association
Promotes organic gardening in an urban setting. Lists activities, workshops, children's programs, employment and volunteer opportunities, and links to related websites.
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