I just dropped the price of
the permaculture playing cards
for a wee bit.



uses include:
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- gift giving obligations
- stocking stuffer
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adjusting the biointensive numbers for sheet mulch  RSS feed

Gilbert Fritz
Posts: 1423
Location: Denver, CO
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I am trying to figure out how many square feet of our community farm should be planted with each vegetable based on the number of people eating out of the garden. How to Grow More Vegetables has lots of very handy charts, which explain how many square feet to plant for so many pound os vegetables per person. And I intend to plant densely, as they recommend.

However, I will be using sheet mulch instead of double dug beds. Should I half the "beginner" expected yield, or, in other words, plant twice the square feet they recommend? Or could I get roughly a beginning biointensive yield out of sheet mulch beds?

Adam Klaus
Posts: 946
Location: 6200' westen slope of colorado, zone 6
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I am a big fan of John Jeavons and his work. My experience is that the yield numbers on the charts are not very useful at all. There is so much variability. John said that the high yield number is the single record yield from anywhere in the world for a given crop. The medium yield number is what a skilled gardiner can expect after a few years of following the biointensive system to build their soils. The low number is basically a conventional average. None of these numbers would have much of any applicability to your situation.

I would focus on growing things that you can make use of surpluses, like tomatoes or potatoes. Too much lettuce is just a waste. Cucumbers that can be eaten fresh, or fermented into pickles that last a year, are a much better crop.

Yield is so highly variable over time. The amount of area you need for baby spinach at 35 days is many times the area needed for mature spinach at 55 days. When will you harvest? How would you calculate yield areas? There is so much variation over time. All the leafy greens are like that.

Green beans produce a few at first, then explode with production, then taper to a trickle. At what stage do you calculate yield? Sorry to belabor the pattern, but I think you see what I'm saying.

John Jeavons has devised a genius simple system for sustainable food production. His quanitification of things goes a little too far, as even he acknowledges when you talk with him. Yield is so variable depending on climate, soil fertility, and gardener skill. I wouldnt even try to calculate things like how many square feet to grow how many pounds of broccoli, the only thing you can guarantee is that you wont be even close!

good luck!
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