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Biointensive and compost watering  RSS feed

 
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Hi all,

I am assuming that a few of you use the Grow Biointensive method from Jeavons. I am reading his famous Grow more veggies book, and when it comes to composting, he advises to water the pile of compost every single day! I had a look at some Youtube videos where some of his colleagues goes over the composting process, and he reiterates the importance of watering the piles every single day.

Now, I am no expert, but isn't that A LOT of water?! It is especially surprising to me knowing he's done a lot of work in for example areas of Africa, where one would assume water is sort of scarce.

Any thoughts, opinions, etc. are welcomed!

Cheers
 
pollinator
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The Biointensive method uses fast composting, and in a dry climate, one might need to water the compost every day to keep it moist enough for rapid decomposition.  Various methods of slow composting will also work, I think.  My own gardening is heavily influenced by Biointensive, but I don't use fast composting.  I've tended to use sheet composting, and lately I've been burying organic material beneath beds as I prepare them.  I won't be doing this every season, because I think all the digging in classic Biointensive is not that good for the soil in the long run.  Once the soil has been improved to the desired depth, one can aerate with a broadfork instead of digging, adding compost to the surface before broadforking.

 
John McEnroe
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Hi Tyler,

Thanks for your response.

The chapter about composting is quite an interesting one, as they mention how lately (I am reading the 9th edition) they have been experimenting with a more of a 40ish to 1 ratio of carbon/nitrogen, which in theory makes the composting a bit slower, but they say the benefits and the product is worth it. This is fine, but what surprises me is the large amounts of water anyway, although according to their numbers they save a lot compared to other gardening approaches.

In terms of the digging damaging the soil, from what I can see in the book, Jeavons says that the idea is to create a good quality soil with double digging, and once that is achieved, then move on to no-digging techniques and building soil on top, but I am not sure how long that process takes!

I have not done any biointensive gardening myself, I am planning to move to the country side next year after summer and then get a smallish parcel where hopefully I can start. I am a total newbie, but the idea is to combine permaculture - which I expect to use as a guidance when designing the whole parcel - with biointensive - which I was thinking of using for the crops area, to maximise the space that I will have and be able to use more for the permaculture/perennial side than to growing annual veggie crops -.

Cheers
 
pollinator
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Yes I second that you only do the earthworks (double digging/swale/huglekulture) once and then you are fine for quite a while. So to me the double digging is "permie enough".

When it comes to there rapid composting. Their system works in dry Arizona and also in wet tropical island. Both places would not have to add the same amount of water, it would depend.

You can also reduce how much composting you have to do with biochar. They add the compost to help with soil structure, soil life and mineral availability.
 
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