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Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 1. Vegetable gardening. Organic gardening. J —dc21 Gonzalez Illustrations on pages vi, vii, 2, 6, 22, 34, 49, 62, 65, 66, 74, , , and by Susan Stanley Illustrations on pages 66 top and 78 bottom by Sue Ellen Parkinson Other illustrations by Betsy Jeavons Bruneau Copyediting by Shirley Coe Printed in the United States 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 — 08 07 06 05 What are the dimensions of this challenge? Current agricultural practices reportedly destroy approximately 6 pounds of soil for each pound of food produced. This is not sustainable. Conventional agricultural practices often deplete the soil 18 to 80 times more rapidly than nature builds soil.
Even organic farming probably depletes the soil 17 to 70 times faster than nature builds it by importing organic matter and minerals from other soils, which thereby become increasingly depleted. The planetary result is a net reduction in overall soil quality. Ecology Action is in its 31st year of rediscovering the original principles behind the highly effective, resource-conserving, and sustainable 4,year-old Chinese Biointensive way of farming.
One to two millennia ago, cultures in Latin America, Europe, and other parts of Asia developed similar approaches. Once this structure is established, it may be maintained for several years with 2-inch-deep surface cultivation until compaction once again necessitates deep soil preparation. How surprised we would be to find natural meadows, forests, and fields growing in rows, with the area between the rows resembling long strips of desert.
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How can we revitalize our extraordinary planet, ensuring life and health for the environment, the life-forms of a myriad of ecosystems, humankind, and future generations? The answer is as close to each of us as the food we consume each day. We can begin to create a better world from right where we are—in home gardens and mini-farms, in virtually all climates and soils.
For example, if we consume food that has been grown using methods that inadvertently deplete the soil in the growing process, then we are responsible for depleting the soil.
If, instead, we raise or request food grown in ways that heal the Earth, then we are healing the Earth and its soils. Our daily food choices will make the difference. In the bargain we preserve resources, breathe cleaner air, enjoy good exercise, and eat pure food. Gardening and minifarming provide both of these, resulting in a win-win proposition. By doing something that is wondrous and fun—growing food—each individual becomes important again in the face of an otherwise overwhelming global environmental challenge. The Earth, the soils, and each individual will be better as a result of these efforts.
Up to 6 billion microbial life-forms can live in one 5-gram amount of cured compost, about the size of a quarter.
Growing potatoes in the Willamette Valley
Life makes more life, and we have the opportunity to work together with this powerful force to expand our own vitality and that of this planet. Building a truly sustainable agriculture is an essential part of building sustainable communities. As we build soils, we also build a culture made up of healthy living and effective farming, as well as enduring communities.
In order to accomplish this, we need to shift our agricultural perspective. We need to stop growing crops and start growing soils! Granted, in order to grow soil, we need to grow crops. But rather than growing crops for the sole purpose of 3. New York Times, March 27, We must begin by educating ourselves, then sharing what we have learned by teaching people to understand the importance of growing soil.
This new challenge will be to discover how to live better on fewer resources. It is possible! The way humankind is currently living and increasing in population, we will not be able to provide for our own food needs soon if we do not grow soils. The information on page xiii illustrates how, in as little as 12 years, there may be an average of just 9, square feet or less of farmable land per person to feed most people on Earth. But regardless of the amount of arable land available, as early as , many countries had only enough water to irrigate 4, square feet per person.
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This may be accomplished at intermediate yield levels, which can be obtained without a great amount of difficulty. These practices currently require about 7, to 63, square feet of farmable land, and most people will have access to only 9, square feet of arable soil as early as Further, most of the current practices are growing only food in the areas indicated, yielding insignificant net amounts of organic matter to produce the soil-nurturing humus needed to ensure the development of a healthy soil.
With many of these practices, an additional equal area will be needed to produce the amount of organic matter necessary to sustain soil fertility for both the food-growing farm area and the organic matter-growing farm area. On the other hand, to use only one agricultural approach to grow food could be unhealthy. Secretary of Agriculture. As we begin to use sustainable, land- and resource-conserving food-raising approaches, more wilderness areas can remain untouched so more of the endangered plant and animal diversity on this Earth can be preserved.
This wealth of genetic diversity is necessary if the planet on which we live is to support abundance. Then, once you have got it right, grow more! Before we know it, we will all live on a thriving, vibrant Earth consisting of many personal and community mini-preserves, reestablished with health as a vital, dynamic whole!
Each one of us has tremendous potential to heal the Earth. Let us begin. Average U.
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Vegan Diet no animal products post-fossil fuel era Average of actual areas needed for diets eaten in developing nations, using actual agricultural practices fossil fuels available. Assuming average amounts of vegetables, fruits, grains, beans, eggs, milk, cheese, and meat are eaten. Number of square feet represents the area that is in surplus, not needed for food production, that could be left in a natural state to preserve plant and animal genetic diversity and ecosystems.
One of the advantages of How to Grow More Vegetables is that it describes a complete general approach to gardening. As you learn the basics of soil preparation, the simple joys of gardening will gain depth. Bed preparation, fertilization, composting, seed propagation, transplanting, watering, and weeding are performed essentially the same way for all crops.
Only the seedling flat and growing bed spacings are different from one crop to another these are given in columns H, L1, and M2 of each section of the Master Charts beginning on page So, once you know how to grow lettuce, you know most of the basics for growing onions, tomatoes, wheat, apple trees, and even cotton! Above all, have fun! One way to harvest your fullest enjoyment is to garden with your family or friends. Light conversation makes the time pass quickly during even the most difficult tasks. Consider having a barbecue or picnic after double-digging, holding a neighborhood compost building party, or inviting your children to join in the harvesting!
Gardening together is half the fun of this practical experience of learning and sharing. If you are a beginning gardener or mini-farmer reading How to Grow More Vegetables, you may want to skip most of the tables except for column H in the Master Charts for planning on pages 87—, which lists plant spacings. You will probably start by growing vegetables and a few flowers and herbs, and many of these crops can be bought as seedlings from a local xiv.
Starting your own seedlings is a higher skill level that you may not want to try until your second or third year. If you are an intermediate gardener, you will begin to use more of the tables and charts and to grow some compost crops, grains, and fruit trees. The bibliography beginning on page is a source of additional information on topics of interest that you may like to pursue as your skill as a mini-farmer grows.
Ten years in the garden will produce a fully experienced food grower.
We need to grow crops that feed the soil as well as ourselves. There are many such soil fertility crops. Examples are corn, millet, wheat, oats, barley, cereal rye, and amaranth.
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These crops grow a lot of carbonaceous material for the compost pile, which in turn feeds the soil with humus, as well as provides a great deal of nutritious food to eat. Be sure to try a few soil fertility crops in your garden or mini-farm this year. It is important to grow calorie crops in your garden or minifarm. There are two kinds— crops that are area-efficient in the production of calories, and crops that are weight-efficient for calories.
Area-efficient crops produce a large number of calories in a given area because of their high yields per unit of area. Examples of these farming-efficient crops are potatoes, sweet potatoes, garlic, parsnips, burdock, and salsify. Weight-efficient crops contain a large number of calories per pound of food, but have lower yields per unit of area.