I added a new book to my collection of gardening books this season, How to Grow More Vegetables Than You Ever Though Possible on Less Land Than You Can Imagine, by John Jeavons. I am experimenting with the theory and I must say it bears truth. I am amazed how our garden is growing and producing with less watering, weeding, and maintenance. If you could only purchase one book for your collection, I would put this one at the top. It is well worth the expense. Spend some time this winter studying this book and you will be ready for next spring. I spent an extensive amount of time reviewing the brilliant section on planning a four person family food garden, 1302 square feet with a six month growing season. You will find charts, planting schedules, quantity of seeds to plant, crop rotation, diagrams, companion planting, and so much more. I started all of my plants from heirloom seeds purchased from Baker Creek. This is the second year I purchased seeds, adding to my collection from last season. By using heirloom seeds, I am able to save my seeds from year to year cutting down cost. Yet, I am gaining so much more. I now share my seeds with friends and family. Passing along knowledge along with vintage seeds. It makes me smile to hear my friends and family share their garden success stories.
This year I planted my seedlings close together following the recommendations for growing a biointensive bed. Planting seedlings close together helps to keep weeds from growing, requires less watering, and provides shade for some crops. Make sure to plant your plants in season. It is a good way to love your plants. If plants are forced to grow out of season, much of their energy is used up straining to combat unreasonable weather conditions in the form of cold, heat, rain, or drought. For best crop health and yields, be sure to keep your plants harvested.
One of the exciting things about the grow biointensive method is its emphasis on the soil. Growing crops must be approached with a sensitivity to how the way they are being grown affects the sustainability of the soil's vitality and health. Understanding the relationship will take time and will involve growing many different types of crops and trees.
Companion planting is the constructive use of plant relationships by gardeners and farmers. The definition of companion planting is "The placing together of plants having complementary physical demands." Some companion planting techniques you might try and experience are for health, crop rotation, nutrition, weed, insect, and animal relationships.
Don't forget to add flowers and herbs to your garden. They are an insect repellent; improve growth, flavor, and health; deters bugs; and pump nutrients from the subsoil.
Don't forget to touch, talk, and love your plants! They will reward you throughout the season.