Biodynamic French Intensive System Gardening is a style of Regenerative Agriculture developed by Alan Chadwick in the ’60s at the University of California, Santa Cruz. It’s a hybrid of Biodynamic Agriculture and French Intensive Gardening. Chadwick omits the use of machinery because disturbing worms and bio-matter causes degradation in soil fertility. By double digging rows, planting cover crops and integrating kitchen scraps and manure, deep rows of hummus soil are built up. Far less water is used comparatively to growing in rows. The guiding principal is to perpetually build up fertile, organic soil.
Photo courtesy of Alan-Chadwick.org
- Clear the bed by scraping with a spade
- Double dig the bed
- Grow cover crops to create compost
- Raised rows of fluffy hummus are built up with compost
- Plant are spaced close together creating a natural mulch
- Manure and kitchen scraps are incorporated into the soil
- Plants are watered from above simulating rain
- Examples of cover crops are Fava Beans, Vetch, Field Peas, Rye Grass and Lupins
- Organic matter goes into the compost fresh, i.e. not dried up leaves or plants
- Machinery is not used because chopping up the worms and bio-matter promotes degradation in soil fertility
- Maintaining balanced soil moisture is essential
- Plant growth should be continuous and rapid
- Garden beds are oriented north to south
Regenerative Agriculture – Regenerative agriculture is a sub-sector practice of organic farming designed to build soil health or to regenerate unhealthy soils. The practices associated with regenerative agriculture are those identified with other approaches to organic farming, including maintaining a high percentage of organic matter in soils, minimum tillage, biodiversity, composting, mulching, crop rotation, cover crops, and green manures. Regenerative Agriculture Wiki
Biodynamic Agriculture – Biodynamic farmers strive to create a diversified, balanced farm ecosystem that generates health and fertility as much as possible from within the farm itself. Based on the philosophical works of Rudolf Steiner. What is Biodynamics?
Biodiverse Farming – Modern organic farm practices such as the removal of pesticides and the inclusion of animal manure, crop rotation, and multi-cultural crops provides the chance for beneficial biodiversity. Organic Farming and Biodiversity
Biointensive Agriculture – Plants are grown close to one another. A system that focuses on achieving maximum yields from a minimum area of land. Was practiced and popularized in France in the late 1800’s and again by Alan Chadwick in California during the 1960’s. Meet Alan Chadwick, The High Priest Of Hippie Horticulture
Organic Farming – A form of agriculture that relies on techniques such as crop rotation, green manure, compost, and biological pest control. Depending on whose definition is used, organic farming uses fertilizers and pesticides if they are considered ‘natural’ but it excludes the use of ‘unnatural’ fertilizers, hormones and pesticides. Organic Farming, Wiki
Check out Gregory Haynes’ free comprehensive guide to the Biodynamic French Intensive System of Gardening at Alan-Chadwick.org.
Photos courtesy of Alan-Chadwick.org