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Using methods dating back thousands of years, it was formalized and brought to the US by famous English horticulturist, Alan Chadwick. Originally termed French Biodynamic Intensive, and then Biointensive gardening, it is now termed and promoted more properly as Biointensive Sustainable Mini-Farming. It is one of the most productive forms of agriculture extant, often exceeding standard culture methods by two to six times. Biointensive agriculture is almost always done using all-organic methods. It differs from more orthodox culture systems via combining five tactics, which almost always occur together: 1) Double-dug, raised beds: Usually 3-5 feet wide, separated by paths, digging to two feet deep. Planted soil is never walked on. This keeps soil uncompacted, gives plant roots maximum freedom to grow, lets soil absorb and retain far more water with far less erosion, makes weeding far easier. 2) Dense (intensive) planting: Instead of rows, arrange plants in hexagonal arrays so they grow to shade soil from direct sun, shade out weeds, conserve soil moisture, and shelter helpful creatures. 3) Composting: Fertilizes, aerates, and builds soil, raises water capacity. 4) Intercropping, companion planting: Grow some plants near each other to raise yields, repel pests, attract helpful creatures, build soil. 5) Whole system synergy: Use all tactics together for maximum results. If any tactic is omitted, results are poorer. Overall, emphasis is less on growing plants, and more on growing soil, since it is the soil which ultimately feeds us.
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