The Problem With
"Intensive Gardening"

Old-time gardeners did not plant their crops close together like shown in this picture. Why not? Because Intensive gardening requires a lot of water and energy inputs.

Many gardeners are attracted to the idea of planting their vegetables close together in raised beds, as explained in the popular book by John Jeavons, How to Grow More Vegetables Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land Than You Can Imagine. There are internet web sites that promote this gardening approach with beautiful pictures of dense plantings, like shown above. But there is a drawback to this way of gardening.... it requires a LOT of water input. 

If you have the water to spare, and the mechanical systems to deliver it properly, that's fine. But mechanical systems are costly and  fossil-fuel dependent. Furthermore, in the event of "hard times," fossil-fuel-dependent watering systems may not be available. That being the case, many people are reconsidering the intensive approach to planting and gardening. They are returning to more traditional gardening methods that do not require intensive irrigation.

Gardeners of the past knew how to grow gardens without the need for massive amounts of artificial irrigation. Steve Solomon is an advocate of such traditional gardening methods. If you would like to know more about this older wisdom, you can learn a lot from the following two articles, which are an online version of Steve Solomon's book, Gardening Without Irrigation: or without much, anyway.

Gardening Without Irrigation: or without much, anyway..... Part 1

Gardening Without Irrigation: or without much, anyway..... Part 2

Note: If you have an Amazon Kindle, you can also download the book for FREE. Click Here to get the Kindle download.


The subject of using a fertigation bucket on certain garden plants is discussed throughout the Gardening Without Irrigation book. Here is an excerpt:

Plants That Like Fertigation
Brussels sprouts, Kale, Savoy cabbage, Cucumbers, Melons, Squash, Eggplant, Peppers, Tomatoes.

Fertigation every two to four weeks is the best technique for maximizing yield while minimizing water use. I usually make my first fertigation late in June and continue periodically through early September. I use six or seven plastic 5-gallon "drip system" buckets, set one by each plant, and fill them all with a hose each time I work in the garden. Doing 12 or 14 plants each time I'm in the garden, it takes no special effort to rotate through them all more or less every three weeks.

To make a drip bucket, drill a 3/16" hole through the side of a 4-to-6-gallon plastic bucket about 1/4" up from the bottom, or in the bottom at the edge. The empty bucket is placed so that the fertilied water drains out close to the stem of the plant. It is then filled with liquid fertilizer solution. It takes 5 to 10 minutes for 5 gallons to pass through a small opening, and because of the slow flow rate, water penetrates deeply into the subsoil without wetting much of the surface.

Each fertigation makes the plant grow very rapidly for two or three weeks, more I suspect as a result of improved nutrition than from added moisture. Exactly how and when to fertigate each species is explained in Chapter 5.