Series: Biointensive Gardening
- How To Grow MORE Food In LESS Space With Biointensive
- Double Digging Garden Beds To Improve Soil Health
- Biointensive Composting To Improve Soil Fertility
- Biointensive Cover Cropping To Be Self Sustainable
- How Much Of Your Garden Should Be Food Plants?
- Intensive Planting – Get More Plants In The Same Area
- Companion Planting In Biointensive Gardening
- Using Open-Pollinated Seeds And Starting Them Indoors
- The Whole System Approach Of Biointensive Gardening
The main biointensive method for improving soil fertility is to use compost.
The purpose of compost is to bring beneficial organisms and nutrients into the soil, as well as improving water-holding capacity, drainage and aeration, among other things.
The biointensive composting approach is good – nothing really different than how I teach composting.
It’s aerobic (plenty of air), not too much turning (thereby retaining more nutrients), mixing in a bit of soil at the beginning (to improve the compost), even advocating the use of human manure when possible (to recycle those nutrients).
Many people in the developed world put their fallen leaves, grass clippings and other yard waste at the curb to be taken away by the municipality, while many people in the developing world burn this material.
But both of these are a big waste of some of the most vital resources for your property. Instead, keep it on site, compost it, and use that stuff as mulch.
I love that the biointensive gardening method recognizes there’s such a thing as too much biointensive compost or any compost. Many gardening teachers don’t understand that, just as I didn’t when I first started using compost.
Nowadays, I usually say a maximum of 1/4 inch of compost per year for maintenance.
I actually like everything about the biointensive composting process, but I will say this – if you’re only using compost from on-site materials as they advocate, you’ll never fix nutrient imbalances because you’ll always be recycling the same nutrients.
The benefit of bringing in some outside inputs to balance soil fertility can be tremendous. On some soils, it’s not necessary, but on others, it’s the difference between healthy and pest-ridden crops.
Here’s my video (and text) on how to make a good compost pile. You can ask your questions at the bottom of that page: