|Intensive Vegetable Gardening for Profit and Self-Sufficiency (Peace Corps, 1978, 158 p.)|
In this book we have presented the basic knowledge needed to do intensive vegetable growing. The most important part of intensive vegetable production is soil preparation. In intensive gardening the idea is to increase the number of plants that a given area of soil will support. There are two ways this can be accomplished: by increasing the depth of the root zone (double-digging) and by increasing the fertility of the soil. If the farmer or gardener follows the intensive planting chart and plants many plants very close together without giving due attention to the soil fertility the result will be poor yields. The intensive planting methods must be combined with intensive soil building. Again we emphasize the importance of the soil.
To get the most from this book the farmer-gardener should spend the time it takes to really understand the chapters on soils; soil fertility, fertilizers, composting, and soil preparation. These chapters will provide the reader with a good background to understanding how he can improve his soil, which is so important to all agriculture.
This book does not present an easy way to grow vegetables. Intensive vegetable growing for market requires the farmer-gardener to develop his gardening skills and spend many hours carefully: planning his farm's planting schedule, crop rotations, soil management program, and pest management program. Planning is a very important skill in intensive farming.
For the readers who wish to do further study, we have included a bibliography of books that can be used to increase the gardeners knowledge and understanding of intensive vegetable production and soil improvement. In the back of the book there is a collection of tables that will be very helpful to the farmer-gardener in planning and planting his farm.
Our main purpose in writing this book is to put forth the knowledge and ideas that it takes to make a very good living on a small farm.
The farmer with five acres of good land can become totally self-sufficient from that land if he so desires. Intensive vegetable gardening is just one aspect of the self-sufficient small farm. The ideal self-sufficient homestead should first provide quality protein(pulses, meat, milk) for the family. This homestead should also provide all or a major portion of the vegetables, fruits, and roots so necessary for a balanced nutritious diet. The small homestead that is devoted to providing these foods will present a healthier, happier life for the small farm family. Mastering of the skills of intensive vegetable production moves farmers one big step towards selfsufficiency for himself and for the nation.
It is often argued that one thing which is lacking in the small farmer's life is the freedom and time to pursue certain cultural and esthetic aspects of life. This has always been the lure of the city. But a young small farmer that intensifies his farm and strives for self-sufficiency from his farm will, after three or four years of building his farm and soil up and into high production be able to devote more time to developing cultural awareness for himself, his family and his community.
Cultural events can be brought to, as well as generated in rural areas, and local muscians, dance troupes, and drama groups can adapt routines and performances to natural, rural settings by reducing dependence on elaborate stage props, and lighting. Supporting cultural revival while promoting increased production and prosperity in the rural areas will do much to enhance the quality of farm life and to encourage youth to seek their future in a commitment to the development of rural Jamaica.
We hope that this manual will inspire the youth of Jamaica to return to the good life and independence of intensive self-sufficient farming. Health, happiness, and prosperity can be realized through small farming.