Welcome to Bepa's Garden!
This blog is about organic gardening, healthy eating and healthy living.
Each month I will be posting Garden To-Do Lists, Tips & Techniques, Garden Project Plans, Photos from the Garden, Recipes and Book Reviews.
I hope you enjoy reading and I hope I can inspire others to start a backyard garden!
Happy Gardening!

Monday, November 5, 2012

November's Book Review

The Sustainable Vegetable Garden

A Backyard Guide to
Healthy Soil and Higher Yields

by John Jeavons and Carol Cox

Now that the gardens have pretty much finished producing, except for the winter beds in the cold-frames, it's time to sit down and make my winter reading list. Throughout the year I pick up farming and organic gardening books that I find in Acres USA, NOFA or other resources that look interesting. This winter I have a particularly big stack of books to get through with some interesting titles like "Eco-Farm, an Acres USA Primer", "Foundations of Natural Farming", "The Organic Farming Manual" and "The Soul of Soil" just to name a few. Winter, for me, is a time to learn new techniques and plan the gardens for next year.

This months book review is "The Sustainable Vegetable Garden, a Backyard Guide to Healthy Soil and Higher Yields" by John Jeavons and Carol Cox. Throughout most of my posts on planting I talk about using the Biointensive Method for growing. Biointensive Gardening Technology is a sustainable farming method that is actually thousands of years old. This book is a condensed version of "How to Grow More Vegetables Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land Than You Can Imagine". It is geared towards people trying these methods for the very first time, as well as the seasoned gardener looking for more streamlined information on these methods.

The Biointensive Growing Method focuses on the soil. By creating a living, healthy soil the gardener will be able to grow health-giving food. This method starts with deeply prepared garden beds whose growing area, with it's closely spaced plants, can produce up to four times more than on equivalent shallow beds planted in rows. I have used this method of growing for several years now and have had some astounding results. It takes time to build a healthy soil and after a few years I am really starting to see the results. The biggest difference I have noticed is the root systems on my plants. When I first started growing I used to get a shallow root system, now I get a deep root system with the main plant roots extending deep down into the soil with a large web of roots around it. I have healthier plants with less weeding, less watering and less pest problems.

The Sustainable Vegetable Garden walks you through all the steps to grow Biointensively. Some of the chapters include:
Thinking about Raising Food Sustainably
Before You Start
What Do You Want to Eat? Choosing What to Grow
Preparing a Biointensive Bed: Double-Digging
What to Feed a Biointensive Bed: Compost
Planning and Planting Crops
Growing Compost Crops
Growing More Calories
Arranging What Goes into a Bed: Companion Planting
keeping the Garden Healthy
Seeds for Next Year's Garden

This book is an excellent primer for getting started using the Biointensive Growing Methods and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in growing using more natural methods. As you learn the processes and want more detailed charts and information including when to start certain crops and all the planting and spacing information for just about every crop then I would also recommend getting How to Grow More Vegetables. I have both of these books and use them each year when I am planning and planting the gardens.

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  1. Thank for sharing this info...we've been gardening organically (in a small backyard garden) for 20 years now I think. I'm a new follower, look forward to reading tips and info you have to share! Blessings, Nancy at livininthegreen

    1. Hi Nancy, thanks for stopping by and following. I just took a jump over to your blog and followed as well!

  2. Wow, great information. Looks like a valuable book to have on the shelf. I am interested in learning more about how to enrich the soil and next year we plan to use our compost to help. We do like to use the pine shavings from the chicken coop after our semi-annual clean out as mulch on top of the soil. Hopefully that helps as well!

    1. This book will tell you everything you need to know about building your soil. Check out Bountiful Gardens (www.bountifulgardens.org) for more information and resources.