|Intensive Vegetable Gardening for Profit and Self-Sufficiency (Peace Corps, 1978, 158 p.)|
INTENSIVE VEGETABLE GARDENING FOR PROFIT AND SELF-SUFFICIENCY
A Manual for Small Farmers and Gardeners in Jamaica
The purpose of this manual is to demonstrate how small farmers and garden producers in Jamaica can increase their production. This will increase their income and will help Jamaica achieve the goal of selfreliance in food.
The methods introduced in this manual will help the small producer be more productive. Vegetables and pulses grown with the methods in this manual can increase the profits and production of small farmers. The methods introduced are know as Intensive Vegetable Gardening. Through the natural organic production methods, more crops can be harvested than with present conventional methods on the amount of land now available for cultivation.
Intensive vegetable gardening means that the farmer's labour, land and resources are used to achieve maximum yields in the smallest possible area. The intensive gardening method has been proven to yield an average of four times more vegetables per acre than the amount grown by producers using mechanized "modern" agricultural methods! It also uses less water. To show the high productivity of the methods, it has been demonstrated that the intensive raised bed technique can produce enough vegetables from an area of 500 square feet to feed one person for an entire year! This area can yield well over 875 pounds of vegetables per year, and even much more when different crops are grown, and when the growing season of a total year is exploited.
The advantages of Intensive Vegetable Gardening are:
(1) Four times as much produce can be grown per acre of land
(2) One half as much water is required per pound of produce.
(3) Soil fertility is maintained and improved to increase future yields.
(4) The methods are land intensive and labour intensive so that the best use is made of Jamaica's resources.
The increased production of four times normal amounts may not be achieved during the first or second season, but significant increases will definitely be achieved with the very first crops. The speed with which increased production is achieved depends solely upon the farmer's skills in improving and maintaining the fertility, texture and structure of the soil. To accomplish this, the farmer must apply organic manures, compost, soil texturizers, and chemical fertilizers in a manner that will provide balanced nutrition for productive healthy plant growth.
This manual will help the intensive gardener develop a practical and working knowledge of soil fertility. Through Intensive Vegetable Gardening, increased production on limited lands is achieved, thus increasing the profits and incomes of the small farmer.
Jamaica has been experiencing critical food shortages and is now engaged in a self-reliance program to become more self- sufficient in food production. Many small plots of land can be put to more productive use through the methods introduced in this manual. By working with intensive vegetable gardening methods we can all participate in learning and producing to Rely On Ourselves To Survive.
In short, this manual provides the knowledge, to help grow more food on less land. This increases incomes and provides for a better supply of food for the family, the nation and the world.
How To Use This Manual
The manual is divided in to a number of logical chapters. CHAPTER ONE entitled Botany, deals with the basic structure and functions of a plant. This chapter is included to give the farmer or gardener a basic understanding of plants as living things, so that the he might further develop his sense of determining and responding to the needs of crop plants.
CHAPTER TWO titled Soil and Fertility, is meant to familiarize the farmer with the basic workings of the soil and it's fertility so he can better understand the intensive soil building practices used in this manual that are so important to intensive agriculture.
The rest of the book deals with the methods and techniques of intensive vegetable production and how they can be applied to the small farm, homestead, or city garden. CHAPTER THREE, entitled Soil Management and Improvement, deals directly with the methods used to increase the soil fertility and maintain it under the conditions of continual intensive succession cropping. CHAPTER FOUR, entitled Garden Planning presents the methods for the exacting task of intensive garden planning and brings to attention the importance of this skill. CHAPTER FIVE, titled Soil Preparation, deals mainly with the techniques used for the preparation of intensive raised beds. CHAPTER SIX entitled Water, deals with methods of watering and irrigation, and the importance of water conservation. CHAPTER SEVEN, Planting, presents the methods and techniques used by farmers to plant their crops. The emphasis is on close planting techniques that increase the plant population in a given area. CHAPTER EIGHT, Cultivation For Highly Productive Gardens, is a study of intensive cultivation methods that strive to give the plants the best conditions and care, for health and production. Examples of the production and profit from intensive gardening are presented to demonstrate the advantages of these methods. Finally a set of tables is provided to help the farmer make actual plans, and get started with intensive vegetable production. These include Spacing for Intensive Method of Growing Plants in Beds, Seeds Per Ounce and Germination Rates, A List of Common Garden Vegetables With Their Companions and Antagonist, and Estimated Yields Per 1 acre of Intensely Planted Ground.