John Jeavons: Blazing the Trail of Biointensive Agriculture

California grower and researcher John Jeavons has demonstrated that hand-dug, biointensive garden beds can produce yields two to six times higher than standard American agriculture while using only a fraction of the water, fertilizer and energy.



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"Think big, grow small." By learning how to get fantastic yields In minimal space, Jeavons tackles both world hunger and environmental disaster.
PHOTO: MAGNUM PHOTOS/PAUL FUSCO
Digging in Garden
At his research minifarm in Willits, California, Jeavons teaches an apprentice special ergonomic tricks that can make digging a garden bed a lot easier.
MAGNUM PHOTOS/PAUL FUSCO
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Keenly aware that the earth needs help soon, John tirelessly promotes his ideas for growing food efficiently and sustainably.
MAGNUM PHOTOS/PAUL FUSCO
21-Bed Minifarm Chart
Jeavons refers more than once in the interview to a 21-bed growing unit that in various forms may eventually produce all of a person's food and compost, and a very modest income. The learning model essentially consists of three beds—one for compost, one for income, one for food—repeated seven times. Both the income and food beds also produce compost material part of the year. As a result, the beds bear compost crops 71% of the total growing-bed time; diet and income crops take up 16% and 13%, respectively. (The planting patterns were developed for Jeavons's locale in Willits, California.)
MOTHER EARTH NEWS EDITORS
Hexagonal Planting
Space-efficient hexagonal planting helps maximize yields.
MAGNUM PHOTOS/PAUL FUSCO
Arm Deep in Soil
When Jeavons arrive at Willits, he could hardly dent the soil with a spade. Now you can sink your arm into a freshly dug bed.
MAGNUM PHOTOS/PAUL FUSCO

















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