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The Sustainable Vegetable Garden: A Backyard Guide to Healthy Soil and Higher Yields by [Jeavons, John, Cox, Carol]
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The Sustainable Vegetable Garden: A Backyard Guide to Healthy Soil and Higher Yields Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Jeavons and Cox offer a less technical version of Jeavons's best-selling book on biointensive gardening, How To Grow More Vegetables Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land Than You Can Imagine, published over 25 years ago. Written for both the beginner and the experienced gardener, this new book shows how to cultivate 11 commonly grown vegetables, calorie crops (beans), or compost crops in 100-square-foot plots using organic, soil-enriching methods. The authors discuss biointensive gardening theory, preparing garden beds, composting, starting seeds, growing crops, and collecting seeds. They offer detailed instructions and equations showing how to calculate how many seeds to plant to get the necessary seedlings to fill the suggested garden plans and suggest ways to customize garden plots. While the equations are easy to follow, the calculations and numerous charts may intimidate the beginner, who may also need more information on gardening techniques. Recommended especially for experienced gardeners interested in biointensive gardening.ASue O'Brien, Downers Grove P.L., IL
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

More than 25 years ago, Jeavons wrote the best-selling How to Grow More Vegetables, which sold more than 350,000 copies in seven languages. It was a how-to book on high-yield, biologically intensive food-raising techniques. His new book, coauthored by Carol Cox, is a somewhat simpler book written for gardeners trying biointensive gardening for the first time. The focus is on the soil; and a good way to ensure sustainable soil fertility, the authors say, is the biointensive method of growing food. To achieve this, they give instructions and suggestions on what to grow; preparing biointensive beds, compost, and plating; growing compost crops, such as vetch, fava beans, wheat, and rye; and growing "calorie crops" (wheat, oats, dry beans, and corn). The authors make suggestions on companion planting--i.e., which crops to put beside each other for the best results. George Cohen

Product Details

  • File Size: 2410 KB
  • Print Length: 118 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press; Revised edition (April 20, 2011)
  • Publication Date: April 20, 2011
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004JHYS8U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,082 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on August 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is neither a book for beginners nor a book for experienced gardeners. There are some valuable concepts, quickly presented, but the book fails to connect with real life.
A four sentence quotation will speak for itself. These are "growing instructions" for green onions on page 62: "Use .39 ounce (1 tablespoon + 1 1/4 teaspoon)of seed per 100 square feet (col. BB) or .0078 ounce (1/8 teaspoon)for 2 square feet (.39 ounce x 2 sq ft [divided by] 100=.0078 ounce. On 3 inch centers (col. CC), a 100-square-foot area will hold a maximum of 50 plants (2,507 plants x 2 sq ft [divided by] 100 sq ft=50.14 plants). To ensure 50 green onion seedlings to transplant, you will need to sow 72 green onion seeds (50 [divided by] .70 germination rate [col.AA]=71.43). The 72 seeds broadcast (col. FF) in a flat will take up approximately 1/10 of a flat 6 to 8 weeks (col. HH) before the scheduled planting date."
The same sort of homey advice is offered for corn, beans, etc.
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Format: Paperback
At best, this is a book an experienced gardener might pick up at the library to glean a few useful ideas about biointensive gardening (I found nothing that isn't presented better elsewhere). At worst, unsuspecting beginners will think this book is the authoritative source it claims to be, try to implement it's convoluted techniques, and fail miserably.
All gardening books convey a certain sensibility about gardening that sets the perspective for the endeavor. Sustainable Vegetable is weird mix of new age idealism and rocket science. Trust me, gardening is not as complicated as this book makes it sound!

The Vegetable Gardener's Bible, 2nd Edition by Ed Smith is THE definitive title on the subject. All New Square Foot Gardening, Second Edition: The Revolutionary Way to Grow More In Less Space by Mel Bartholomew is good for small gardens. Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long, 2nd Edition by Elliott Coleman is excellent for winter gardening. Tanya Denckla's The Gardener's A-Z Guide to Growing Organic Food is excellent.
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Format: Paperback
What is 'biointensive vegetable gardening? In brief it features the following methods: - focus on the health of the soil as the starting point for a productive garden (this is the meaning of 'bio-'); - emphasis on growing the most vegetables in the least possible space for maximum efficiency (hence '-intensive'); - vegetables grown in narrow beds (for ease of access and positive microclimate)which have been 'double-dug' and composted; - closer spacing of plants than usual due to greater depth of soil, assisted by companion planting; -organic nutrition and pest control throughout.
This short book is a great introduction to organic vegetable growing, especially the 'biointensive' method. It is also a useful work for experienced gardeners who want to know about John Jeavons' highly successful methods, but don't have lots of time to study the weightier 'How to Grow More Vegetables'. That book is a real classic of organic gardening, and stands alongside Elliot Coleman's 'The New Organic Grower' as a 'must-have' reference book. However, 'The Sustainable Vegetable Garden' is more than just an abridged version of Jeavons' earlier book. It actually makes many of the key concepts easier to understand and put into practice. It is full of useful diagrams which will be invaluable to the novice and expert alike. You don't just read about how to 'double dig' a bed - there are step by step images to help you see exactly how it's done.
For beginners, just about everything you need to know is covered. Its rare to find a book that explains the details to clearly and concisely. For more experienced gardeners, you will almost certainly discover tools and methods you can use by reading this book.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
A revised edition of Lazy-bed Gardening (1993), The Sustainable Vegetable Garden is a concise and easy-to-read introduction to concept of biointensive gardening. Essentially a resurrection of ancient farming practices, biointensive gardening is supposed to increase yields (the authors claim four times higher than one should expect from a standard garden) while maintaining a garden ecosystem that preserves the vitality of the soil for future gardens and generations of gardeners. For one to be able to subscribe to the system that Jeavons and Cox outline, one really has to have a sizeable garden plot, so that one can grow calorie-crops as well as compost-crops, so in this respect the book is not suited for the typical urban backyard gardener with only a few square meters of plot. One thing that really put me off was the suggested calculation method for determining the numer of seeds that need to be planted in order to attain an optimal yield-rate. Overall, though, I really enjoyed this book, and it has led me to rethink my approach to gardening.
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Format: Paperback
This is not a book to read in winter when you're dreaming of your perfect garden. This is a book that correctly lists the five plants that have been proven to help deter the Striped Bean Beetle when it's eating your garden down to the nubs. And the intercropping to keep the bean beetle away next year. And soil treatments to keep it from coming back. And what kinds of flowers will attract the beetle's predators. And did you know that veggies will generally produce just fine with up to 30% of their leaf surface eaten, or even produce more when it's attacked just like this? I didn't, until I read this book.

Great information, essential information, complicated information. If you're a dreamer who likes a couple of nice sprays of hybrid cherry tomatoes to munch on each September and want a nice book with pretty color pictures, this isn't the book for you. If you've got dirt under your fingernails and a problem with your French Intensive beds, you will eventually need exactly this book.
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