Biointensive Gardening

I've often mentioned biointensive gardening. Here are a few links to explain this method. Simply search for "biointensive gardening" for all the info you could want.
I'm working towards this, and even though I am not there yet, I am seeing some impressive results. Very few critters munching on plants, fewer weeds and grass, increased yields and closer plant spacing. Water requirements are greatly lessened.
Less garden maintenance.
Looks like the way to go.
Care Charlie
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biointensive
http://www.growbiointensive.org/index.html
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2002/04/13/HO126062.DTL
http://www.engr.psu.edu/cfs/projects/biointensive.aspx
jeavons bio http://www.johnjeavons.info/john-jeavons.html
--
"I used to visit and revisit it a dozen times a day, and stand in deep
contemplation over my vegetable progeny with a love that nobody could
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If you like your garden, the first thing is to toss away all your synthetic fertilizers. They will not help your soil. Manure, green manure, fish emulsion, seaweed emulsions, cover crops, mulching, appropriate watering and that's pretty much all you need. A soil analysis is good but like the fish guy said, "Take care of the tank and everything else will take care of its' self".
--
Billy
Coloribus gustibus non disputatum (mostly)
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wrote:

Billy, you keep it up and you are gonna surpass our old friend Scott Nearing. TMEN fame. Activist. Beloved of Helen.
I have a tear in my eye.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Nearing
Care Charlie
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Too much gravitas for me. It would be nice to reflect some of his wisdom but I'm afraid that I'm basically a sloth, indolence, and pleasure kind o' guy.
--
Billy
Coloribus gustibus non disputatum (mostly)
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wrote:

One o' them Epicureans, eh?
They say the lazy man will find the easiest solution to the problem.
Charlie, the Hedonist
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In article

First a thanks to Charlie for mentioning the Nearing folks. Love people with large Ideas.
And now for our favorite sloth, indolent and pleasure kind of guy. I almost fell this is autobiographical. :))
http://www.homestead.org/Gardening/Ruth%20Stout%20-%20The%20No-Dig%20Duch ess.htm
Best
Bill Other Other Bill which I kind of like as it is close to Never Never Land.
--

S Jersey USA Zone 5 Shade
http://www.ocutech.com/ High tech Vison aid
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In article < snipped-for-privacy@sn-indi.vsrv-sjc.supernews .net>,

I should probably just keep my big trap shut, but then I wouldn't be me, would I? It is terrifying to hear of the insects and varmints that swoop down on the diligent gardener but except for the voracious gastropods that now seem under control, gardening here in Northern California has become a matter of putting one foot after the other. I still don't have enough Sun, my peas didn't produce much but for the most part, if I stick a plant in the soil and water it, it grows. I'm back to being a dilettante and not an industrial strength gardener. While others are soldiers fighting the battling in the fields of veggie terrorists, I feel like a campus kiddie cop. Counting my blessings.
--
Billy
Coloribus gustibus non disputatum (mostly)
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Charlie expounded:

While I admire the back to the land movement and some of what the Nearings espoused, I found this book (Amazon.com product link shortened) to be very interesting. Sometimes perceived values aren't quite what they seem to be.
--
Ann, gardening in Zone 6a
South of Boston, Massachusetts
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Of course. I've read excerpts elswhere, sometime about them. Often those that we admire, or push to the fore, fail to meet our expections, or hopes.
TMEN used Scott and Helen as their "poster children" for years, not that I fault them for that. They did espouse ideals that were worthy and influenced many, yours truly included.
Charlie, wondering if Sheldon is pretending to ignore this post too
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On Jun 26, 2:10 pm, Charlie wrote:

Many aspects of this sound like my system. I am not so keen on double digging as a routine pastime because it isn't necessary (and may be harmful) once the bed is prepared. The restriction on weeds is a result of mulching, nothing magical about that. Likewise reduced water use is brought about by mulching but by other methods too. Getting your soil to hold water is part of it and using a watering system that applies the water to the bed but not the path is another.
And despite what Billy says the judicious use of some "synthetic" (whatever that means) fertiliser as part of an integrated plan will not bring about the end of civilisation as we know it. :-)
The bit that I cannot get anywhere with by this sort of approach is the pest control. Yes you improve the chances of your plants fighting off pests and diseases if they are strong and healthy. Also I think it is fine to tolerate some damage for the sake of reducing your use of poisons but there are some insects that thrive where I am that just devastate their target plant.
For example:
(1) Monolepta australis. This is a flying leaf beetle that attacks trees and shrubs. They arrive in a swarm, reproduce quickly and can literally strip a row of roses or angophora trees (20ft high) in a couple of days. (2) Twenty eight spot ladybeetle. Descends on my eggplant and reproduces faster than I can pick them off, wrecking the leaves. (3) Cabbage butterfly grubs. Wrecks many of my brassicas given a chance.
I have tried companion planting and interplanting but neither do any good. Dipel (BT) does the grubs quite safely but it's expensive and washes off easily. Other than that pyrethrum does all of them. Desite being acceptable for organic certification here it is still a poison but it's that or have no cabbages.
An oddity here is that if the pyrethrum comes from a daisy the certifying authorities say it's OK but if it comes from a vat it's not. If you spray it on your bees they will check the label before dying or flying on happily as the case may be. Isn't religion wonderful.
The result is that I think the touted advantages of companion planting are rather overstated and I am not going for organic certification. I think I will call my system "bioeclectic", I wonder if I can copyright the name and make a squillion dollars.
David
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On Wed, 27 Jun 2007 21:10:56 -0700, " snipped-for-privacy@aussiemail.com.au"

Agreed.
The double digging sucks, quite honestly. I did only a bit of it and then elected to simply loosen as far as possible with a potato fork. I keep working in compost and mulches and am going to palnt some sover crops in select areas next year. I'm having a friend of my son build me a broadfork this winter to ease the loosening. My thinking is that it may take a bit longer, but loosening the soil and proper amendment will win over. Planting crops that root deeply and bring up nutrients from below and loosen the hardpan.

Perhaps, but my problem is based upon principle as well. Yeah, I know, this can get one into trouble. :-) And cause more work!

Agreed, but if one wishes to remain religious and/or principled about this, what do you do? It is difficult to target only a specific critter. Bt or pyrethrums or rotenone work fine and are safe for humans, but they are indiscriminate when it comes to good bug/bad bug.

Sounds like flea beetles that I have had absolutely turn the eggplant foliage to lace. My solution to this was to not plant eggplant this year. We love them, but the nutritional value is close to nil, so only my taste buds are suffering.

Man, they are bad here as well. I pick the caterpillars, and try and kill the moths by hand, but they are quick.

I haven't used Bt, but am going to try it.
Pyrethrum and rotenone both work well, and I have used them in the past, but both kill the pollinators and when washed into the soil, at least rotenone, kills the worms. i'm having pretty good luck this year with the brussels sprouts, but last year I lost the broccoli to the damn cabbage loopers or whatever the hell they are called.

Amen. Ya' know, you are right with the religion remark. In our zeal to subscribe to the pure and natural it does take on religious overtones.

I haven't seen a great amount of result with companion planting myself, though I do think that the marigolds I plant throughout the garden are offering some protection, at least the bug problems are down.
In the meantime, I've taken a stand on this side of the bar and will keep pluggin' away. We'll see what happens. At any rate, I'm havin' an 'ell of a time enjoying myself with all this. And enjoying the discussions and brawls.
Bioeclectic......I like that.

Care Charlie
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from Charlie contains these words:

I don't dig at all, other than making a hole big enough to put a plant in. When I started my veg garden 4 years ago, the area was dead flat and the soil was compacted , sandy and reddish; heavy rain created large deep puddles which could stand around for days. There were hardly any worms in it and hardly any birds visited the garden. (The rest of the garden, was mown lawn). My method is to add tons of whatever organic materials are locally available, as a mulch on the soil surface. I don't dig in mulch either. As soon as I provided this worm food, worms arrived to drag it down into the soil. The mulches I use are seaweed straight from the beach, grass clippings (from lawns not treated with weed or pest killers), and home made compost. The home made compost is made from, weeds, kitchen vegetable waste, seaweed, grassclippings, sheep wool (sweepings from shearing shed floor) , comfrey which I grow for the purpose, and nettles and thistles harvested before they flower from an adjoining meadow, and sheep muck. The beds have now mounded up into rich dark loose soil and there are no more storm puddles.

Mulch attracts birds. The birds constantly scratch and turn over the mulch looking for live food, and helping the mulch to break down. I also put seed and nut feeders around the garden to draw more birds in. Very often, I have watched a colony of aphids hatch on shrubs or roses, and within a day or two that plant is a magnet to small birds picking off the insects long before any damage is done to the plant. At the moment the garden is full of cheeping teenage birds, out of the nests but still being fed by their parents.

Nasturtiums (flowering annual) are another host food for cabbage caterpillars; I let them grow wherever they turn up. Nasturtiums self seed from year to year here, or if your winters are too cold for that just save seed and scatter it in spring). The butterfly lays all the eggs in a single patch underneath the leaf; if I spot an egg patch I tear out that section of leaf before they hatch. I also keep a close eye on the cabbage and nasturtium leaves for the very tiniest first sign of caterpillar nibbling ; if you notice it early, the whole colony of newly hatched babies will still be on their nursery leaf, which can be picked off and destroyed. Much easier and faster than hunting for caterpillars one by one when they have grown bigger and more mobile.
Comfrey or nettles soaked in a barrel of water for a few weeks make a very stinky liquid which can be diluted (1 in 10) and watered on to crops; it's both a stimulant to growth, and a deterrent to pests.
Janet.
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On Thu, 28 Jun 2007 11:03:47 +0100, Janet Baraclough

We have been having several robins working the mulch regularly.
I always laugh at the teenagers, often as big as their parents, acting so hungry and helpless. :-)
Perhaps I should add another bird feeder in the garden as an attractant.

This sounds like the Ruth Stout method, that otherother Bill turned me on to the other day. Less work sounds great.
Thanks for the nasturtium tip, didn't know that.
I recently read about the nettle "tea" and was wondering if it was beneficial. Think I'll try that too.
Thanks for all the tips Charlie
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wrote:

Wool does not break down very easily, does it? We are still finding civil war soldiers in their jackets 250 years after Gettysburg ... I shear as well
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from snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com contains these words:

The mulches I use are seaweed straight

Wool that's been dyed, spun and woven must be tougher :-) On a human or animal carcase lying above ground, the hair/wool decomposes very quickly.
I find that after a year in the compost heap, shearing shed sweepings (all the dags and loose bits of wool) have composted completely and are no longer distinguishable.
Janet
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

2007 - 1863 = 144 years?
106yr./250yr. = 41.6 % error. Not bad for wrecked gardens. Makes one wonder about the rest of the assertion.
--
Billy
Coloribus gustibus non disputatum (mostly)
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