BIODYNAMIC/FRENCH INTENSIVE GARDENING

…. biodynamic/French intensive gardening (often referred to as “the method”) has slowly gained a reputation among organic gardeners in North America … largely through the efforts of Chadwick and John Jeavons (of Ecology Action of the Mid-Peninsula in Stanford, California). It was Jeavons who eventually took the technique—which Chadwick had synthesized from the intensive gardening practiced in turn-of-the-century France and the biodynamic theories developed by Rudolf Steiner in early twentieth-century Austria—and subjected it to careful modification and testing … always striving to produce the optimum yield from the smallest possible space.

And John’s harvests have been little short of amazing! His per-acre “method” crop production has, for example, climbed to between four and six times that of the average U.S. yield (while, in rare cases, the biodynamic/French intensive gardens have produced as much as 31 times the national crop average for a given amount of space!). In fact, Jeavons has gone so far as to estimate that it would be possible for an urban, suburban, or rural gardener to net as much as $10,000 a year from the produce that he or she could grow on a scant 1/10 acre!

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Our 1/10 acre plot yields 6,000 lbs and over $20,000+ in sales. Would you like to learn How to Grow More Vegetables?

Applying such biodynamic/biointensive methods yields not only productive but beautiful results.

Comments(22)

  1. Darren says:

    By coincidence, I’m reading How To Grow More Vegetables right now! Although it’s a much older edition.

    This book makes for very interesting reading, and is full of lots of good ideas. I also like that it’s very much based in trial-and-error, rather than mystical whimsy or academic proclamation.

  2. Darren says:

    By coincidence, I’m reading How To Grow More Vegetables right now! Although it’s a much older edition.

    This book makes for very interesting reading, and is full of lots of good ideas. I also like that it’s very much based in trial-and-error, rather than mystical whimsy or academic proclamation.

  3. ~~Melissa says:

    I’m a graduate of a Waldorf /Steiner school, so it’s wonderful to see how much biodynamics is mentioned these days. Even five years ago, few organic farmers and gardeners seemed to be aware of it. Progress!

  4. ~~Melissa says:

    I’m a graduate of a Waldorf /Steiner school, so it’s wonderful to see how much biodynamics is mentioned these days. Even five years ago, few organic farmers and gardeners seemed to be aware of it. Progress!

  5. Sinfonian says:

    I’ve only read a quick blurb on French double dig gardening, but I think I’ll stick with SFG. It’s worked wonderfully for me and my soil is horrible. If I wanted to grow 1 foot rooted weeds I could have double digged it. /shudder. Of course whatever works for you is great, just enjoy your garden!

    Actually SFG and biointensive methods seem to have much in common. I will look into it and see if there is anything I can adapt to my situation. I must say I don’t strictly follow SFG. And it definitely works for you all at PTF… /shrug.

    Keep up the great work and thanks for sharing!

  6. Sinfonian says:

    I’ve only read a quick blurb on French double dig gardening, but I think I’ll stick with SFG. It’s worked wonderfully for me and my soil is horrible. If I wanted to grow 1 foot rooted weeds I could have double digged it. /shudder. Of course whatever works for you is great, just enjoy your garden!

    Actually SFG and biointensive methods seem to have much in common. I will look into it and see if there is anything I can adapt to my situation. I must say I don’t strictly follow SFG. And it definitely works for you all at PTF… /shrug.

    Keep up the great work and thanks for sharing!

  7. Naise says:

    We are new to this method this year, and are finding great results. It’s alot of work upfront- especially for our hard packed clay soil- but our plants do not suffer from the heat like they have in previous years. Can’t comment about yeild increase, as we are growing all heirlooms this season, and have nothing to compare to. However, some of our hickory dent corn has been over 8ft. tall.- we think that’s pretty cool!

  8. Naise says:

    We are new to this method this year, and are finding great results. It’s alot of work upfront- especially for our hard packed clay soil- but our plants do not suffer from the heat like they have in previous years. Can’t comment about yeild increase, as we are growing all heirlooms this season, and have nothing to compare to. However, some of our hickory dent corn has been over 8ft. tall.- we think that’s pretty cool!

  9. connie in nm says:

    Planted more intensively this year using SFG method. Has been great except the squash overgrew some of the peppers. But the peppers are survivore and are beginning to peek above the sqash, so they may produce yet. We have another 2-3 months of warm weather.

  10. connie in nm says:

    Planted more intensively this year using SFG method. Has been great except the squash overgrew some of the peppers. But the peppers are survivore and are beginning to peek above the sqash, so they may produce yet. We have another 2-3 months of warm weather.

  11. Kory says:

    I bought the book last winter hand have been following the method this year, I am very impressed. I’ve been chronicling my results at my blog, I had to do some adaptations but I have tried to stick as closely as possible to the outlines, and I must say again, I am impressed. I have as much yield or variety. Definitely worth it.

  12. Kory says:

    I bought the book last winter hand have been following the method this year, I am very impressed. I’ve been chronicling my results at my blog, I had to do some adaptations but I have tried to stick as closely as possible to the outlines, and I must say again, I am impressed. I have as much yield or variety. Definitely worth it.

  13. michele says:

    We double-dug one bed and not the other. The difference in yield and crop health between the two is amazing! One other difference is the double-dug bed also has animal manure worked into it, so that must be a big part of the difference too.

  14. michele says:

    We double-dug one bed and not the other. The difference in yield and crop health between the two is amazing! One other difference is the double-dug bed also has animal manure worked into it, so that must be a big part of the difference too.

  15. Laurie says:

    When I began my backyard garden I double dug it every spring for several years, working in composted manure and mulches. Starting from silty loam, eventually it developed an even more beautiful texture (tilth) and now after 16 years of soil development, I hardly dig at all. I just fluff it up a bit, and pull out plants I don’t want and that’s that for cultivation. It seems to want to stratify into layers, and I’m willing to let nature be it’s own expert and guide me. Yields from this bed are generally very, very good.

    Sadly, my community garden plot has still not recovered from many years of tractor cultivation, even though that ended about 4 years ago. I get lots of food from this soil, but the plants seem to struggle a bit more than the same varieties grown at home. Not much of a scientific assessment, but that’s how it looks to me So, yes, hurray for whatever method feeds and supports the soil!

    Blessed be the Dirt!

  16. Laurie says:

    When I began my backyard garden I double dug it every spring for several years, working in composted manure and mulches. Starting from silty loam, eventually it developed an even more beautiful texture (tilth) and now after 16 years of soil development, I hardly dig at all. I just fluff it up a bit, and pull out plants I don’t want and that’s that for cultivation. It seems to want to stratify into layers, and I’m willing to let nature be it’s own expert and guide me. Yields from this bed are generally very, very good.

    Sadly, my community garden plot has still not recovered from many years of tractor cultivation, even though that ended about 4 years ago. I get lots of food from this soil, but the plants seem to struggle a bit more than the same varieties grown at home. Not much of a scientific assessment, but that’s how it looks to me So, yes, hurray for whatever method feeds and supports the soil!

    Blessed be the Dirt!

  17. Tony says:

    i am studying the biody/fr int method this winter to maybe try this spring in my northern ohio city parcel. space is limited but soil is already decent. glad to get the input from the bloggers here. we have done tomatoes and peppers with fair resuts, but plant health is a problem, from insect attack to disease. hoping this method will help – seems to make a lot of good common sense

  18. Tony says:

    i am studying the biody/fr int method this winter to maybe try this spring in my northern ohio city parcel. space is limited but soil is already decent. glad to get the input from the bloggers here. we have done tomatoes and peppers with fair resuts, but plant health is a problem, from insect attack to disease. hoping this method will help – seems to make a lot of good common sense

  19. Frank Holzman says:

    Wonderful comments. We have a Biodynamic/French intensive market garden that also serves as a demonstration center for our educational non profit REAP.We also use Permaculture Design and IPM. We currently grow about 40 vegs. over 30 types of cut flowers and 14 different fruits in an integrated system. We also are sving most of our seed. I studied in Alan Chadwicks garden at UCSC and studied IPM at Berkeley in the 70s. If ever in Georgia stop by.

  20. Frank Holzman says:

    Wonderful comments. We have a Biodynamic/French intensive market garden that also serves as a demonstration center for our educational non profit REAP.We also use Permaculture Design and IPM. We currently grow about 40 vegs. over 30 types of cut flowers and 14 different fruits in an integrated system. We also are sving most of our seed. I studied in Alan Chadwicks garden at UCSC and studied IPM at Berkeley in the 70s. If ever in Georgia stop by.

  21. Carlos Martin says:

    Alan Chadwick’s Biodynamic French Intensive system is unquestionably one of the most productive ways to grow vegetables and flowers without harmful pesticides and fertilizers. A website dedicated to Chadwick´s method can be found here:

    Alan Chadwick

    To go to the pages where the methods are explained, click on “Techniques.” You can also listen to recordings of Alan’s lectures, view videos, and much more.

  22. Carlos Martin says:

    Alan Chadwick’s Biodynamic French Intensive system is unquestionably one of the most productive ways to grow vegetables and flowers without harmful pesticides and fertilizers. A website dedicated to Chadwick´s method can be found here:

    Alan Chadwick

    To go to the pages where the methods are explained, click on “Techniques.” You can also listen to recordings of Alan’s lectures, view videos, and much more.

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