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How to Grow More Vegetables: And Fruits, Nuts, Berries, Grains, and Other Crops Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land Than You Can Imagine

4.09  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,093 Ratings  ·  110 Reviews
A classic in the field of sustainable gardening, HOW TO GROW MORE VEGETABLES shows how to produce a beautiful organic garden with minimal watering and care, whether it's just a few tomatoes in a tiny backyard or enough food to feed a family of four on less than half an acre. Updated with the latest biointensive tips and techniques, this is an essential reference for garden ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published March 1st 2004 by Ten Speed Press (first published 1979)
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Crown Publishing Group
Decades before the terms “eco-friendly” and “sustainable growing” entered the vernacular, How to Grow More Vegetables demonstrated that small-scale, high-yield, all-organic gardening methods could yield bountiful crops over multiple growing cycles using minimal resources in a suburban environment. The concept that John Jeavons and the team at Ecology Action launched more than 40 years ago has been embraced by the mainstream and continues to gather momentum. Today, How to Grow More Vegetables, no ...more
Nico Our Lady of the Sacred Bonechuck
Apr 26, 2011 Nico Our Lady of the Sacred Bonechuck rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: peeps who are serious about sustainably growing their own food
Shelves: reference-books
Mr. Jeavons knows what the hell is up.
C.E. Murphy
Mar 27, 2013 C.E. Murphy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not even a gardener (though I have ambitions), and this book was really just completely fascinating to read. I have no idea if everybody would find it so interesting, but wow, I'd think if you have any impulse toward gardening at all, you want to read this one.
Karen P
Mar 13, 2013 Karen P rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In my search for really basic primers on gardening, I came across this very foundational book that really puts good soil at the heart of good gardening. I appreciated that certain aspects (like double-digging) were explained so thoroughly, with detailed illustrations and charts. There were however many other things that could have been explained more completely. For instance the author explains the whys of crop rotation in the garden, and offers a couple basic rules for rotating the crops: 1) do ...more
Aug 08, 2008 Maureen rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
I am a big, big fan of this book. In my varied career as a gardener, I have tilled soil everywhere from rooftop boxes in Canada, to an herb garden at a historic house in Georgia, to a market garden in West Virginia. I have found this book to be absolutely indispensible. It describes growing using the bio-intensive method, first championed by British gardening genius Alan Chadwick, and further developed in California by John Jeavons and the folks at Ecology Action.

One distinguishing aspect of b
Mar 13, 2009 Melissa rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: gardeners who want to max their yields
Shelves: gardening
I initially gave this book four stars before realizing that my opinion had less to do with the book and more to do with the fact that my current situation doesn't allow me to put many of the Grow Biointensive principles into practice, so I found myself getting a little bored/frustrated at times.

Aside from a very crowded windowsill (and mushrooms in the closet), a community garden plot is my only available growing space, and it's highly unlikely that I'll have access to the same plot year after
David Hughes
It's an interesting read. I think other techniques have a lot more promise than the ones they recommend, but I still learned some interesting things (like transplanting brassicas with the cotyledons no higher than the soil surface to avoid a floppy stem).

Will probably eventually buy, just to take advantage of the incredibly detailed plant charts as reference material.
Kristina Seleshanko
Jan 23, 2014 Kristina Seleshanko rated it liked it
Perhaps this book was revolutionary when it was first published in the 70s, but modern gardeners probably won't find much that's new here. In a nutshell, this book advocates double digging, composting, and organic fertilization. There is also an interesting chapter on planting according to the phases of the moon, and another on the mostly proven wrong art of companion planting. But if you're familiar with these methods, I suggest you find a different gardening book. This one is pretty dry.
Kelli Annette
Mar 24, 2014 Kelli Annette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I truly enjoyed this book. It is basic. But basic in the good way. It has all the things you need to check for in one easy to read book. While it does not go in depth on much it helps you get started in the right direction. I imagine this book will be hanging out on my shelves for quite some time!
I am an evangelist for this book! Anyone, really anyone, can garden.
(When my dad was a quadriplegic, I remember becoming acquainted with a horticultural therapist- hired by the city of all things- can you imagine that happening is the current political climate?)
John's project started soooo looong ago still rocks!

Read this book! Start small, keep it up.
I heard a report (and admittedly have not verified) that the United States is now importing food to have adequate supply for our populat
Apr 20, 2010 Ruth rated it it was amazing
Shelves: simple-living
This is the best gardening book I have ever read, hands down. The author explains everything, including how to: make your own compost bin, plan a garden, rotate crops, companion plant, create a biodynamic environment that can sustain itself, water your garden and conserve your water, and feed your family on just hundreds of square feet of garden space. You don't need acres of land or even one acre to have a backyard farm that can produce enough to sustain you. The secret is planting your garden ...more
Dec 31, 2007 Wayne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Despite everything Steve Solomon said in Gardening when it counts (and what I said in my review of it), this is a great book. It explains to the beginner from start to finish how to make a great organic garden. Even if you already know everything about plant and ecology, you'll still want this book simply for the charts that have been compiled by Ecology Action. They tell you not just how far apart to plant your seeds or transplants (using the biointensive method), they give estimated yields yea ...more
Sep 26, 2007 Bob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any gardener
Shelves: non-fiction
If your only going to buy one gardening book, get this one. Although their are many organic gardening books on the market, and many of them, especially those from Rodale Press are good, this is the best. Building on the Biodynamic and French Intensive methods, the ideas outlined in this book can be implemented by any individuals with basic hand gardening tools. One important point is that for a suburban or urban gardener the earlier editions (1-4) like this one are superior to later versions in ...more
May 06, 2011 Patricia rated it really liked it
I bought the sixth edition when I bought my house in 2007 and my first garden flourished despite the thick clay soil. This edition clarifies the vast amounts of information in it by providing concise step-by-step procedures for many common intensive gardening tasks.

The Grow Biointensive method is a bit of a form of gardening for wonky people who like numbers, but I like the idea of creating a closed system, even if it means sacrificing good "vegetable" space to grow your own "browns" to be compo
Dec 29, 2012 A.J. rated it it was ok
This should have been right up my street: sustainable, organic gardening being something I'm pretty passionate about. But it was a disappointing read: simultaneously didactic and uninformative. I found it repetitive in places and with the exception of the section on plants to repel certain bugs, was left feeling that I had learnt very little. There were numerous mentions of other booklets published by the Ecology Action group which were rather irritating: if it's important enough to keep referri ...more
Feb 04, 2013 Anna rated it liked it
I'm torn between giving How to Grow More Vegetables three and four stars. The book has several thought-provoking portions, just rubbed me the wrong way. I'm a bit worried that people won't read it with a critical eye and will try to mimic the Grow Biointensive techniques that are either kooky or inappropriate to the backyard. (There are also some techniques in there that are much less kooky and much more appropriate to the backyard, of course.)

I'd recommend this book to advanced gardene
Jun 15, 2010 Alexia rated it really liked it
To be honest, I more or less skimmed this book as I was getting ready to plant my garden. I found, however, the principles taught in the book to be logical, they made perfect sense to me. The book talked about the history of Biodynamic/French intensive methods of gardening, and how to grow more vegetables in a small area. The thing I found to be most helpful in this book was the list given of veggies and herbs that grow well together, and what plants and herbs are antagonistic to one another. Re ...more
Ruth Feathers
Apr 14, 2016 Ruth Feathers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think it belongs up there in terms of excellence with Barbara Damrosch and Eliot Coleman.
This is a great primer for beginning gardeners, well laid out, unassuming and accessible.
Mar 26, 2008 Inder rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: farm, garden, green
This is THE book on organic gardening for high yields in a small space. I have a much older edition inherited from my parents. I have been purusing this book since I was a kid back in the commune (I was looking for anything, anything, with pictures!). So I've grown up with it. These days, eco-organic-gardeners have much expanded on the techniques of this book, and even taken issue with some. But it's still the beginning of a movement, and an absolute must-own for every veggie gardener.
Jan 24, 2009 Zinger rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009
I have very hard soil that has had terrible results for years. I tried adding more organic material to the mix, but it wasn't enough. Then began the composting project... After reading the book, I think that the double-dig is exactly the component to add to my composting plans. I am very eager to get digging.

After next season I will know if I should add another star to my rating. For now it has given me a lot to think about and made me excited again to garden.
Nick Woodall
Great book on growing a garden. Well-illustrated and fun to read.
Jul 26, 2011 Michelle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food, how-to, reference
The textbook for a gardening class I recently took, which centered on sustainable home gardening. The narrative parts aren't that interesting to read, but the instructional content is great. Lots of advice on particular crops and making a nutrient cycling system that will eventually require few inputs. I'll forgive the woo bits like the moon cycle gardening as long as I get some robust and tasty produce on the other end.
Aug 22, 2009 Kirstin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gardening
Wow what a lot of interesting information. My only concern is that the writers claim their findings are applicable to ANY climate/soil type, and I'm not certain that's truly the case. That said, I was fascinated by their planting techniques, the information about companion planting and natural ways of getting rid of pests. Not to mention the raised bed style of gardening, which I want to go out and try right now.
Dec 12, 2007 Bob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone wanting to do some organic gardening
A great resource for organic gardening. It provides a ton of information about starts, digging methods, planting with the cycles of the moon, temperatures at which certain things need to be planted, lomg-range planning models, etc. The system they use (GROW BIOINTENSIVE) has been a work in progress for 35 years and has proven to produce significant crop yields in minimal space. Check it out.
Jul 26, 2012 Amerynth rated it it was ok
I have no question that "How to Grow More Vegetables" is a great resource for an experienced gardener. For a beginner like me, it was a little overwhelming... and a little too technical for my taste. I did like the spacing charts and the simple mini-garden plans. Don't get me wrong, I learned a lot from reading the book, but I think a good portion of it was just over my head.
Jan 10, 2012 Michele rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, gardening
Excellent resource! I'm going to have to add this one to my library - then maybe I'll be able to set up a garden that is actually productive. I love the step by step instructions (with illustrations) for everything from preparing your beds to preserving the harvest. They also provide outlines for different levels of expertise and space restrictions. A lovely, lovely book!
Sep 26, 2012 Michelle rated it really liked it
What I loved: excellent plans, layouts, charts, and some intriguing ideas I hadn't come across before (planting by moon phases), *amazing* list of references in the back of the book to refer to for more info

What frustrated me: many times ideas were presented but then not explained in full... So I still don't understand how to implement the idea.
Heather Shaw
Nov 28, 2007 Heather Shaw rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: masochistic organic gardener's
This is one of those revolutionary gardening books that would change the way I garden if I was willing to dig two-foot deep beds, which I am not. If you aren't, either, I would recommend Eliot Coleman as a satisfying alternative if you're looking to feel both inspired and inept as a gardener (I say this with humor and all affection, as a Coleman devotee).
Nov 04, 2013 Kait rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Many interesting ideas, especially that of growing 60% of crop area with high carbon crops which are then composted for self-sufficient maintenance of soil health. However, when "11hours of sunlight is ideal" I have to conclude that this method as an entire package is of limited usefulness for a home gardner on a small urban lot in Minnesota.
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