What We’ve Learned

Bio-intensive gardening requires dedication, persistence, and a lot of hard work. We first learned of this technique only a few years ago when we came across the concept on some random website. The idea of growing lots of healthy food in small spaces without much cost was very intriguing to us. Since then we’ve read and researched every piece of media we could get our hands on. We especially like reading blogs about bio-intensive or other small gardening experiences. We are constantly reminded that the more we learn, the more we still need to learn. The main goals for our garden is to build fantastic soil that will produce enough healthy food to feed ourselves and produce a minimal income. Our plans are ever changing as we learn what does and what does not work. Some things we know for sure …

  • Even though straw mulch deters weeds and conserves water by helping keep the soil moist, the slugs like it! They hang out under straw mulch then come out at night to munch on strawberries, and they munch on the tomatoes with cracked skins.
  • Comfrey tea is a terrific, inexpensive all-natural plant food. All plants do well when sprayed at two week intervals throughout the growing season ~ even fruit and nut trees!
  • It is not a good idea to spray comfrey on strawberry plants once the fruit begins to set because the berries will taste just like horse manure smells. YUK!
  • Squash bugs do not like garlic. Our experiment … two 5’x5′ beds were planted with yellow summer squash. Both beds were worked the same way as far as amendments and stuff go, however, bed two also had maturing garlic growing in it so the squash was planting 3-4 weeks later. Bed one was over taken with squash bugs and the plants slowly withered to nothing. The plants in bed two flourished with no bugs ~ ever! What’s so amazing is that these two beds were only three feet apart. So, here’s what we surmised from all this … plant yellow summer squash later (maybe mid to late May) in the garlic bed.
  • Onions do not deter squash beetles.
  • Red clover is a good nitrogen fix for corn when turned under just when it begins to bloom.
  • Corn likes to be inter-planted with lima beans.
  • Everything decomposes really fast in the summer. Nothing decomposes in the winter.
  • Raised beds dry out fast in the very hot summer months and should be watered daily, sometimes several times.
  • Raised beds are easy to keep weed free except for the edges which constantly need to be worked because of invasive native grasses.
cutting comfrey

Cutting comfrey for mulch. See the invasive grass around the bed edge?