Bio-Intensive Garden Planning
Want to get the most out of your garden? Here’s a few tips.
Consider your space
How big is your garden? Do you have shady spots, dry spots, irregular soil patterns, etc? Recognizing these things will help you work around them most effectively.
Map It Out
Do a rough sketch of your garden. Include the physical factors you’ve identified. (Save a copy of your blank map, it’ll be great for future years!)
Now you know your space — add the plants you most want to grow (and will actually eat!) Shady spot? Add in your favorite shade tolerant plants!
How can you do more?
Can you take your garden to the next level? Bio-intensive agriculture is defined as an organic agricultural system that focuses on achieving maximum yields from a minimum area of land, while simultaneously increasing biodiversity and sustaining the fertility of the soil. The goal of the method is long term sustainability on a closed system basis.
Basically it means getting the most out of your garden. Here are a few bio-intensive practices you can implement:
This means planting two different crops together based on their growth pattern. As a rule of thumb, you’ll want to pair slow growing large crops with fast growing small crops. Cabbages and lettuce is a great example. Kale is a fast maturing cool season crop that grows well inter cropped with pole beans or tomatoes. Bonus: Planting tightly (while still allowing your plants the room to mature) leaves less room for weeds while increasing the diversity of the garden.
If all your lettuce matures at the same time, lots of it will go to waste. If you stagger your plantings, you’ll have a continual harvest and less waste. This is great for greens like lettuce, arugula, spinach, and carrots, beets, and radishes. Typically, it’s good to stagger plantings 2 - 3 weeks apart.
Some plants love to be planted together, and often for the betterment of the garden. Planting marigolds with your tomatoes will help deter tomato pests. Other herbs, like tarragon, can deter pests too. For more on companion planting, click on the button below.
Sometimes to find more spaces to grow, you have to think inside the box. Is there anywhere you can put containers? Some plants do better than others in containers, but utilizing that space frees up more room in your garden.
Your garden space doesn’t always have to be on the ground. I’ve always had better luck keeping my cucumbers rot free by trellising. In fact, lots of plants can benefit from having structures to grow up. Attaching beds to vertical spaces, like the wall of your house or apartment will add growing space as well.
Check out this blog for more info on inter cropping and succession planting, plus garlic, cover crops, and putting your garden to bed!