Serious food growing
From: Sharon Gordon (
Date: Tue, 8 Oct 1996 13:49:15 -0500
One resource that people who are doing the serious food growing might
want to consider is a book called One Circle: How to grow a Complete
Diet in Less Than 1000 Square Feet by David Duhon & Cindy Gebhard.

They looked at what foods would provide a lot of food for the amount of
land used and also looked at foods that were efficient for particular
nutrients.  Then maximizing both of these at once they worked to
design gardens that could produce all the food/nutients that a person
needed in a day.

They use biointensive growing techniques.  I think one of the best
books for this is How to Grow More Vegetables, Fruits, Nuts, Berries,
Grains, and Other Crops Than You Ever Thought Possible on  Less Land
Than You Can Imagine, by John Jeavons.  It's important to get the
5th addition which has a substantial amount of new info.  The book
explains how to prepare the land for maximum health and production.
Although this could be a healthy singular experience, I think
a community might be a fun place to try out communial digging
parties in the style of barn raisings.

The Jeavons book also has very useful data on  what you can expect
from a properly prepared growing bed when beginning and what you
can expect at more experienced and maximal levels of soil health
and experienced growing.  For example in a 100 square foot bed
of tomatoes grown biotensively a beginner could get 100 pounds,
at the good level 194 pounds and at the excellent level 418
pounds.  Snap beans are 30-72-108.  I have gotten up to good
results with these techniques as I have never yet been able to
live in a place long enough to get the soil to the excellent level.
But for example, I've had a tomato plant give over 600 tomatoes,
(450 good, rest cracked by large amounts of rain), 15-22 pound
chinese cabages, 3 inch wide juicy tender carrots.

The Jeavons book is often findable in book stores, but I've never
seen One Circle in one.  I got mine from Bountiful Gardens,
18001 Shafer Ranch Road, Willits, CA 95490.

In addition to both of these books they also have booklets which
combine these two techniques as a mini-farm and designs done by/for
gardeners in Mexico and Kenya.  So you can get ideas about different
growing conditions and cultural food preferences.

They also have other useful items like Seed to Seed by Suzanne
Ashworth and Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties by Carol Deppe
so you can learn to develop and save seeds that are good for your
own area.

A good resource for exchanging seed and finding seed that has been
bred to do well in your area is
Seed Savers  Exchange
3076 North Winn Road
Decorah, Iowa 52101

The SSE is devoted to keeping heirloom open polinated varieties alive.
Though other vegetables are exchanged and there is also a related
flower/herb exchange.

I have seen info on similar exchange groups for fruit trees and
nut trees, but don't have that info.

Other helpful books are
Square foot Gardening, Mel Bartholomew
Organic Gardening Magazine
Jeff Ball's 60 Minute Garden
Designing and Maintaining your Edible Landscape Naturally by
Robert Kourik
There is also another good edible landscaping book by a woman
who turned her conventional suburban front yard into a garden.
Bill Mollison's permaculture books are quite helpful, too.
I've recently heard that there are now some good US permaculture
publications, but haven't been able to find any yet to see what
they are like.

As you can mostly likely guess, I'm highly in favor of intensely
edible landscapes...

gordonse [at]

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