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I’m way behind in my quest to blog our bio-intensive gardening process. We started much of the planning and soil preparation as early as January, and now in the second week of March, we are well into digging, fertilizing, and planting.

Our backyard has experienced a tremendous makeover – from four narrow garden rows to four large, deep bio-intensive growing beds. The digging method in the book “How to Grow Everything…” is known as a double-dig, and it truly is amazing to watch it make our soil expand and fill with life.

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We have four homemade wooden flats for planting seeds. This picture shows the very first bed Ryan dug. Just by adding a bit of compost and doing a big double dig, he raised the level of that dirt to the top of those boards. 🙂

img_87432This shows the first two beds, as well as the paths we set all around them (in order to walk through to plant and weed without stepping on any planting area.

More pictures to come!

Last year, we started a garden in our tiny suburban backyard. In the Spring, we enjoyed a handful of zucchini, cantalopes, and other goodies. We poured over books and websites, and learned everything we could about garden pests, watering, composting, etc… and in the fall, we actually enjoyed quite a few tomatoes, beans, and other fall crops. By then, we were completely addicted to growing our own food, and couldn’t wait to expand our garden this year. 

Gardening has become our family hobby – every weekend getting our hands dirty, staying outside, exercising, and watching plants grow – but it is much more than a hobby. We are learning how to become more than consumers in our world. Our little backyard is producing food, our trash is producing compost that goes back into our food, and it goes on and on! Ultimately, we would love to grow plenty of food to eat/sell/give away, and to leave our bit of land better than we found it.

Over the winter, my sister gave me a gardening book called 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). It has changed our life – really. This book teaches the “bio-intensive” gardening method. It is a very intimidating read; it truly is not for the novice gardener. But, the ideas of maximizing your land and giving back to your soil instead of stripping it of everything valuable is quite appealing. We have since found another book with a very similar philosophy, but that is much easier and more pleasant to read: The Vegetable Gardener’s BIBLE.

In January, we eagerly started the preparations for our expanded bio-intensive backyard garden. I’ve decided to regularly blog our garden progress, mostly just as a way to watch and keep a record of our progress. 

So, here is the beginning:

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Ryan and the girls bring wagon-loads of leaves into the backyard for composting. (Note, there are two girls on that wagon!)

sdc10090Our roommate JoAnn helps us prepare the old garden for digging. (We previously had four narrow rows; we are now creating two wider beds in that location and adding two other beds to the yard.)

More coming soon!