The GROW BIOINTENSIVE method of horticulture is a quiet, vitally alive art of organic gardening that links people with the whole universe—a universe in which each of us is an interwoven part of the whole. People End their place by relating and cooperating in harmony with the sun, air, rain, soil, moon, insects, plants, and animals rather than by cthem.
All of these elements will teach us their lessons and do the gardening for us if we only watch and listen. We become gentle shepherds providing the conditions for plant growth. Biologically intensive farming dates back to four thousand years ago in China, two thousand years in Greece, and one thousand years ago in Latin America. In fact, the Mayan culture grew food this way at their homes on a neighborhood basis. This is one of the homes on a neighborhood basis.
This is one of the reasons their culture survived when others around them were collapsing. The GROW BIOINTENSIVE method is a combination of two forms of horticulture practiced in Europe during the 1800s and early 1900s. French intensive techniques were developed in the 1700s and 1800s outside Paris.
Crops were grown on 18 inches of horse manure, a fertilizer that was readily available. The crops were grown so close to each other that when the plants were mature, their leaves would barely touch. The close spacing provided a mini-climate and a living mulch that reduced weed growth and helped hold moisture in the soil. During the winter, glass jars were placed over seedlings to give them an early start.
The gardeners grew up to nine crops each year and could even grow melon plants during the winter. Biodynamic techniques were developed in the early 1920s by Rudolf Steiner, a brilliant Austrian philosopher and educator. His work began after the introduction of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Initially, only nitrogen fertilizers were used to stimulate growth.
Later, phosphorus and potassium were added to strengthen the plants and to minimize disease and insect problems. Eventually, trace minerals were added to the chemical larder to round out the plants’ diet. The single, physical nutrients in soluble salt forms in chemical fertilizers were not complete and vital meals for the plants, causing imbalances that attracted disease and insects.