Bio-intensive gardening is a modern form of organic gardening that focuses on rebuilding and maintaining soil fertility through nutrient cycling. It is a usable technique, which aims at diversified cropping and bed preparation on small plots of land with maximum yield. It involves harvesting a diverse range of crop varieties that are less susceptible to pest outbreaks. This process has financial gains, preserves indigenous seed varieties and has a good crop sales value.
Bio-intensive methods or organic gardening was first attempted by the ancient Greeks, Chinese, Mayans, and the Europeans. It was further propagated by Alan Chadwick, who utilized biodynamic and French intensive methods for organic farming. Today, it has gained worldwide popularity due to its benefits. A sustained layout can be implemented in a backyard garden, within a limited amount of space.
This technique employs organic fertilizers and natural pest control materials before starting making a list of fruits or vegetables to plant in a garden. Going for indigenous crops is advisable, like tomato, pipino, kamote, spinach, eggplant, jack fruit, corn, papaya, sigarilyas, beans, lemon grass, among others. The following is the process of the bio-intensive gardening:
– Once the types of crops to be grown have been selected, design the layout of the plot. It should be focused on maximum utilization of soil and empty spaces. Align in rectangular shape, and set in the direction of maximum exposure to sunlight. It is a must to know the basics of gardening before setting up a bio-intensive garden.
– Clear the soil from weeds, thatch, grass clippings, garden wastes, bushes, etc. Then, spread the compost, organic fertilizer or animal manure on top of the soil bed. This spreading should not be more than 3 inches thick. Follow the double digging technique to prepare the soil bed. Sprinkling earthworms for a more fertile bed is also a good option. This particular process is known as vermicomposting or worm composting.
– Do not plant the seeds immediately after shoveling, wait for 3-4 days and then plant the seeds. Follow the instructions written on the seed pack and water them accordingly.
– Observe the plants carefully when they start germinating. Check if they are infected by any diseases. Ensure that they are growing perfectly healthy. Prune the diseased leaves or spray organic pesticides, only if required.
– Planting leguminous crops in between the plants is good for maximum nitrogen fixation. These plants have nitrogen fixing bacteria in their root nodules, which establish a symbiotic relationship between plants. This technique is also utilized in crop rotation.
– Preserve the seeds once the plants are mature. The initial phase can be quite labor intensive, but with subsequent farming, it becomes easy, as re-plowing is not needed again. Ensure adherence to the cropping cycle, by creating a miniature seed bank.
Bio-intensive gardening is not only economically viable, but also results in production of crops having more organic and nutritious value. It’s a very feasible way to utilize stretches of land in and around the backyard or small-scale land for the production of healthy crops in a cost-effective way.