Reparing the raised bed is an important step in GROW BIOINTENSIVE gardening. A correctly prepared bed facilitates proper soil structure. Proper soil structure and nutrients allow uninterrupted and healthy plant growth. Loose soil with good nutrients enables roots to penetrate the soil easily, and a steady stream of nutrients can &ow into the stem and leaves. How di)erent from a situation in which a plant is transferred from a &at with loose soil and proper nutrients into a hastily prepared backyard plot or a chemically stimulated +eld. The plant su)ers not only from the shock of being uprooted, but also from an environment where it is di,cult to grow.
The growth is interrupted and the roots have di,culty getting through the soil and obtaining food. As a result, the plant produces more carbohydrates and less protein than usual. This imbalance attracts insects. A debilitating cycle can begin that ends in the use of pesticides which cycle can begin that ends in the use of pesticides which kill soil life and make the plants even less healthy. Fertilizers are then used in an attempt to boost the plants’ health.
Instead, the fertilizers destroy more soil life, damage the soil structure further, and lead to even less healthy plants that attract more insects and “need” more toxic “medicines” in the form of additional pesticides and fertilizers. Well-documented reports tell us that a wide variety of commercial pesticides kill bene+cial invertebrate predators while “controlling” pest populations.
These pesticides exterminate earthworms and other invertebrates that are needed to maintain soil fertility. The pesticides also destroy microorganisms that provide symbiotic relationships between the soil and plant root systems. We propose striving for good soil health in the +rst place, starting with the preparation of the soil—and easier soil preparation next time.
The initial preparation and planting a raised bed, a time investment of as much as 6½ to 11 hours to dig and transplant a 100-square-foot bed. If you are lucky enough to have loose soil, the time commitment will be much less.The time invested pays o) with increased yields and healthier soil and plants.