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.

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.)