Biointensive farming is the practice of growing more food in a small space without depleting the soil. The idea behind biointensive farming is not new. Many of these techniques have been used for thousands of years. Today, biointensive farming methods combines these ancient techniques with modern research to maximize the amount of produce that can be grown without harming the environment.

Intensive planting

In biointensive farming, crops are grown closer together than they are in traditional farms or gardens. Intensive planting produces a higher crop yield from the same area. Because the plants are grown so close together, the leaves form a barrier that reduces the amount of evaporation from the soil and inhibits weeds. Plant your crops in blocks rather than rows and stagger them so that they have space to grow. You can also plant fast growing crops among slower growing crops to maximize the space.

Open-Pollinated Seeds

Biointensive farmers use open-pollinated seeds, also known as heirloom seeds, to promote plant diversity and natural resilience to disease and pests. Plants grown from hybrid seeds often produce seeds that are different from the original plant or even sterile, so you need to purchase new seeds every year. By using open-pollinated seeds you can harvest your own seeds each year and know how the resulting crop will turn out. Harvest seeds from the most productive and healthy plants in your garden. Let them dry thoroughly before storing them.

Companion Planting

The basis of companion planting is that some plants grow better when you plant them next to each other. Companion plants benefit each other in many ways, such as repelling or attracting insects, providing support, offering shade and providing the right nutrients. For example, corn is a heavy nitrogen feeder and beans have the ability to fix nitrogen from the air. You can plant beans next to your corn to help replenish the nitrogen the corn takes from the soil.

Double-Dug Planting Beds

Double digging is the process of creating a two-foot deep planting bed of high-quality soil. You can grow plants closer together in double-dug beds because the roots are able to penetrate deep into the soil for water and nutrients. Double digging involves removing the topsoil from your garden and amending the subsoil underneath with compost. You then replace the topsoil, adding more compost.


Composting is an important Biointensive Farming method because it adds nutrients back to the soil. It also preserves the natural microorganisms necessary for good root systems and healthy soil. You can make compost by combining dry vegetation, wet vegetation and dirt. The plant waste breaks down to make nutrient rich soil. You can add this soil to your planting beds in the place of chemical fertilizers.

Compost Farming

Compost farming involves growing crops that you can till into the soil or add to a compost pile after you harvest the produce. The inedible plant material breaks down and adds nutrients back into the soil. The goal is to create a farm or garden that is self sustainable so there is no need to add extra fertilizer or chemicals. Good crops for compost farming include corn, wheat and sunflowers.

Calorie Farming

Calorie farming is the practice of growing the most nutrient-rich crops within the given amount of space. Calorie farming is important if you want to produce food for a lot of people but have limited space. Crops such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips and leeks are high in calories compared to the amount of space they take up in the garden.