In this lesson, we will teach you how to create a growing bed using the biointensive method.
For this you will need: a digging fork, a border spade, a hand fork, a rake, 5 20-liter buckets, a wooden board, a wheelbarrow and an irrigation system.
First, choose a location for your growing bed.
Your beds should be about 40 to 70 centimeters, or 1 to 1 1/2 feet, between each other.
The spaces between your beds can be used as pathways to move around the garden.
In small-scale farming, it’s common to have growing beds that are 10 square meters, or 30 square feet.
This area creates a micro-ecosystem that
facilitates plant growth and crop planning.
Here, the bed we created is 2 meters wide and 5 meters long, or 7 feet wide and 15 feet long.
Use wooden sticks and string to mark these measurements.
If the soil is dry, water it.
The soil must have an adequate level of moisture before you can dig or weed.
It’s best to assemble your growing bed in the spring or fall when the soil is naturally moist.
To begin weeding, use the single digging technique.
Now let’s move on to the manual weeding.
Here, we have prairie soil.
This step is important since it allows you to closely observe the bed’s natural plant growth.
These plants, called bioindicators, will give you information about the soil’s structure, texture and composition.
Use a hand fork to remove all of the roots. This will also reduce the amount of regrowth.
Shake the clods to keep the soil in your bed.
Here, the plants we extracted are very rich, and contain organic matter.
We placed them in a compost pile.
Now we will single dig and weed the pathway in order to transfer the soil into the growing bed.
The first 20 centimeters below the surface makes up the top layer of soil. This is where the organic matter is transformed into humus and plant nutrients.
This layer also contains most of the soil’s beneficial insects and micro-organisms.
Use the rake to level the surface.
Use the double digging technique to loosen the soil to a depth of about 60cm, or 24 inches.
Give your bed one final rake to level the surface.
Now, incorporate the compost and other natural amendments.
Your biointensive growing bed is now ready for planting.