Book Review: How to Grow More Vegetables (and Fruits, Nuts, Berries, Grains, and Other Crops) Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land Than You Can Imagine

How to Grow More Vegetables (and Fruits, Nuts, Berries, Grains, and Other Crops) Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land Than You Can Imagine by John Jeavons is my gardening BIBLE. I learned about GROW BIOINTENSIVE gardening method from a blog called Little Homestead in the City by the Dervaes family. The Dervaes family lives in Pasadena, California, and grows over 6,000 pounds of produce every year on their 1/10 acre garden. They use GROW BIOINTENSIVE gardening method, so naturally I became interested.

John Jeavons, Executive Director of Ecology Action in Willits, California, published the book in 1974. Since then, the book has become a classic in sustainable gardening. GROW BIOINTENSIVE gardening method focuses on building soil. Jeavons advocates double-digging beds, with soil loosened to a depth of 24 inches, to aerate the soil, facilitate root growth, and improve water retention. The health and vigor of the soil are maintained through the use of compost. Close plant spacing is used to protect soil microorganisms, reduce water loss, and maximize yields.

I became attracted to Jeavons’ growing method because Eddy and I live in downtown Little Rock with a gardening space of 1/10 acre. I also liked his idea that in nature plants don’t grow in rows.

So, three years ago, I started gardening in GROW BIOINTENSIVE way. I have yet to yield over 6,000 pounds of produce, but I’ve grown a considerable amount of produce in my first 3 years.

And, my soil has improved tremendously. We have clay soil, but with compost and amendments such as gypsum and alfalfa meal, my soil is fluffier each year.

If you want to grow more vegetables in a limited space, check out Jeavons’ book. You’ll be surprised by the results.

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2 responses to “Book Review: How to Grow More Vegetables (and Fruits, Nuts, Berries, Grains, and Other Crops) Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land Than You Can Imagine

  1. I love this book! Great reference. On our compacted/rocky soil a 24 inch double-dig would require a backhoe but I build upwards. Amazingly, after a couple of years, I can dig down at least a foot below ground level with a (super-duper) garden fork. Calvin Bey teaches from this book in NWA and you would *love* his class. I’m teaching on Edible Landscaping this Saturday at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks. Very excited!!

  2. Awesome. I’ll probably have to do my own review of this book, as its my go-to for the garden. Have you ever heard of the old-school homesteaders book, Country Women: A Handbook For the New Farmer? Look for a review on my page in the coming weeks.
    Take care.

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