Intensive vegetable gardening means that you reduce the amount of space between your plants. Essentially, you crowd them together. While this may go against everything you’ve ever learned about gardening, it works.
Intensive gardening combines many of the other vegetable growing methods mentioned on this website. That said, intensive gardening is a style in its own right and it can be very effective under the right conditions.
The modern version of this style of gardening evolved in the urban centers of France in the 18th and 19th Century and reached its peak usage during World War I when both food and gardening space in Paris and other cities was very limited.
Researchers Alan Chadwick, John Jeavons, and Ecology Action further developed this method from the 1970s to the present day, re-titling this method “biointensive” and increasing yields to five times the US average for crops grown.
Again, the point is to reduce the amount of space used for paths and plant your seedlings as close together as possible. When mature, the leaves should be touching (but not blocking valuable sunlight from neighboring plants). This not only increases efficient use of space, but also creates microclimates, preserves soil moisture, and reduces weed problems.
The very loose soil in this method allows for ease of root development. Intensive gardening also takes advantage of intercropping and vertical growing. It’s really about maximizing the use of space.
To begin, go to the raised bed idea. Then prepare the soil by loosening it down to one foot. Turn the soil to loosen and aerate it, then mix in compost, manure or some other sort of fertilizer. Rake the soil level. Next, use string to establish a grid to help with the spacing. Dig holes for your seedlings with a trowel or small shovel and set it in the hole at the same depth it was growing in the container. Tap the soil lightly. Use a gentle hose-end sprayer to water your seedlings. Be sure to mulch.