We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Biointensive Gardening?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At HomeQuestionsAnswered, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Biointensive gardening is an approach to gardening where people aim to get high yields from small areas while also using practices designed to enrich and improve the soil to keep the garden sustainable. This technique integrates concepts from a number of different schools of thought about gardening, ranging from practices used in ancient cultures to modern techniques like French intensive gardening. One advantage to biointensive gardening is that it can be practiced in spaces of any size, allowing people with even limited gardening space to improve yields.

Several different components are involved in biointensive gardening and people are encouraged to use the system as a whole, rather than picking and choosing elements to use, as it is designed to work as a complete system. Raised beds filled with soil prepared with double digging to aerate and enrich it are used and the soil is further enriched with compost and compost tea. Plants are grown close together to increase yields and companion planting is also heavily utilized. This includes crop rotation, where crops are planted sequentially in an order designed to enrich the soil, like planting nitrogen-fixers after nitrogen-depleting plants, and simultaneous companion planting. Plants like marigolds may be companion planted with vegetables to keep insects away, for instance.

In biointensive gardening, a closed system is created. Waste products for the garden are reintroduced in the form of compost and the garden sustains itself, rather than requiring supplementary fertilizer and other products. Rotating and companion planting wisely keeps the soil healthy to limit soil exhaustion caused by intensive farming practices, while techniques like double digging are used to keep the soil in good condition so it can continue to produce high yields.

Water usage is typically reduced with biointensive gardening and people may use techniques to improve water efficiency, including using plants suitable for the climate, recycling gray water, and taking other steps to limit waste of water. Techniques like using shade plants to conserve water by keeping the soil cool, watering in early morning or evening to limit water loss through evaporation, and so forth can all contribute to increased water efficiency.

The highly intensive nature of this approach requires a lot of manual labor on the part of the gardener. Mechanized farming equipment is ill-suited to things like tightly packed raised beds. Thus, biointensive gardening tends to be recommended for home gardens and small farms, where it is logistically possible to use manual labor to maintain and manage the garden. The increased yields result in higher efficiency and more potential profit for small farmers.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a HomeQuestionsAnswered researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By bythewell — On Jul 11, 2012

@indigomoth - That is an idea solution in an ideal world, although not everyone is going to be able to have that kind of relationship with their neighbors. Personally, I think there's no real excuse to not grow a biointensive vegetable garden yourself. It can be as small as a couple of feet square and you will still get astonishing amounts of food from it if you use the soil correctly.

In fact I believe there is a movement called "square foot gardening" which relies on these kinds of methods for growing vegetables in small spaces. Everyone can spare an hour of time if they cut back TV and Facebook. And I think that being able to grow your own vegetables is worth it.

By indigomoth — On Jul 11, 2012

@croydon - I agree that it's definitely worth giving biointensive gardening a go if you have the time for it. If you don't, do as much as you do have time for. Putting a bunch of strawberries into some planters only takes a few hours at the most and you'll be rewarded for it for months.

I also think that if you can set up a system with your neighbors that's the idea way of living. Maybe you don't have the time or energy to garden biointensively and don't have the space to do it any other way. But one of your neighbors might have a backyard vegetable garden that's producing more than they need. You could trade babysitting or perhaps they need help with something else that you can provide.

Meeting your neighbors and growing bonds is always a good idea. If you get some vegetables out of it, even better. And if you're the neighbor with the vegetables to give, then you should be out there advertising the fact.

By croydon — On Jul 10, 2012

You'd be amazed at how much food can be grown in a small space. I've heard of entire families being fed on an acre, with leftovers to spare, and I've also heard of people living in urban areas, even in apartments, who have managed to grow all their own vegetables.

And vegetables are going to become more and more expensive, particularly since they are so dependent on shipping rates and fertilizer costs and on weather.

I think it makes sense to grow as much of your own stuff as possible in more than one way. You control your own supply, you control how it's grown and your kids get the experience of planting vegetable gardens and making their own food. It's the best way of doing things, no matter how you cut it.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
HomeQuestionsAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

HomeQuestionsAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.