Coming Soon: John Jeavons' Blog!

John's Blog will be up and running by mid-June. Until then, here's his most recent post (all post currently available on Facebook):


Sweet Potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) are starchy root vegetables originating from Central or South America. Not to be confused with starchier and drier yams (Dioscorea) from Africa and Asia, sweet potatoes have a long shelf life and are usually sweeter and moister than regular white potatoes (Solanum tuberosum). In addition to being delicious, they are a very important crop in diet planning, because of the number of calories they contain per pound, and for overall sustainable gardening and farming!

Globally, people get many calories through growing and eating both “Irish” potatoes and sweet potatoes as staple crops. Sweet potatoes are the most practical calorie producing root crop by weight (see HTGMV 9th ed., p. 40 for more details). Garlic is more weight-efficient, but one can generally eat only 2 to 3 cloves daily, while 5 pounds of sweet potatoes—an amount that can reasonably be consumed by an adult human—can provide all the required calories to sustain a person for a day. Of course, you will need to eat other crops to get the essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals you need, but if you start with sweet potatoes as the base of your food pyramid, you’ll be on solid ground. (Also, using other crops for the missing nutrients noted above will allow you to reduce the weight of sweet potatoes you need to eat. This is because those other crops also contain calories.)

Hawaiian PurpleSweet potatoes come in many colors—white, yellow, red and even purple. Purple ones are an ancient superfood and turn a beautiful bright violet color when cooked! They are high in anthocyanins, the antioxidant compounds that have been linked with a reduced cancer risk. The Stokes Purple variety is available from, and the Hawaiian Purple variety is available at Check out this Pinterest board on purple sweet potatoes!

Most sweet potato varieties take 6-8 months to mature. This makes it difficult to grow in many temperate climates, unless you do it under a double-walled miniature greenhouse (see HTGMV 9th ed., pp. 205-212 (click here to order this book). A plus for 6- to 8-month maturing varieties is the fact that you can harvest up to 20% of the nutrient-rich leaves (known as talbos ng camote or kamote tops in Spanish-speaking countries) for eating in the second month without lessening the ultimate yield. Excitingly, Sand Hill Preservation Center in Iowa, see carries 225 sweet potato varieties, (including Korean Purple), including eight certified organic sweet potato varieties that mature in only three months–and they come in many colors! Sweet Potato Leavesa

A good article on the Purple Sweet Potato can be found in the spring 2018 issue of Heirloom Gardener at Another key resource for short growing season growing is Sweet Potatoes for the Home Garden—with Special Techniques for Northern Growers, by Ken Allan (available only from Mapple Farm

Humans aren’t the only ones who love these delicious tubers: amazingly, gophers know three days before the optimal harvesting point that it is time to eat! To eliminate or minimize this challenge, you can build underground protection with a gopher cage (see “New Gopher Cage” article and illustrative photos on pp. 2-3 in the May, 2007 Ecology Action Newsletter, at

For a Biointensive garden, sweet potato starts and slips should be planted on 9-inch offset centers, 6 inches deep. For full sweet potato planning information see the Master Charts in HTGMV 9th ed., pp. 150-151.

Hungry? Get planting! 
Bon Appétit!

(images from, mother earth news, and

John JeavonsGROW BIOINTENSIVE Workshops offer an excellent opportunity to acquire a wealth of information on the most efficient gardening method we know. This information has been gathered from 45 years of practical demonstration, teaching and research, and is currently successfully in use in over 150 countries around the world. It also uses 1/8 the water per pound of vegetables and soft fruits produced compared with standard practices—reduce your vegetable growing water bill!

John Jeavons has been the Director of the GROW BIOINTENSIVE Mini-Farming program for Ecology Action since 1972. He is the author of How to Grow More Vegetables and Fruits, Nuts, Berries, Grains, and Other Crops Than You Ever Thought Possible With Less Water On Less Land Than You Can Imagine, the DIY handbook on sustainable Biointensive Mini-Farming, which is currently available in English, Spanish, German, French, Arabic, Hindi and Russian.

Click here to see a calendar of John Jeavons' workshops and lectures
(click here again to close)

More events in development - come back for updates!

Sept. 29, 2017

Sustainable Mini-Farming

Free Evening Presentation

Palo Alto, California
6:30 PM- 8:30PM,

The Foster
940 Commercial Street, Palo Alto, CA 94303
Saturday, September 29, 2017

Free to the general public.
Registration required - click here to go to Eventbrite

To download an event poster, click here.

Sept. 30, 2017


John Jeavons Lecture Willits Grange Feb 1, 2015

Sustainable Mini-Farming

One-Day Workshop

Palo Alto, California
9:00 AM- 5:30PM,

Foster Art & Wilderness Foundation,
940 Commercial Street, Palo Alto, CA 94303
Sunday, September 30, 2017

For more information on this workshop, click here.

To download an event poster, click here.

Nov 3-5, 2017


Ecology Action 3-Day GROW BIOINTENSIVE
Sustainable Mini-Farming Workshop

Willits, CA

For more information go to:






Read "The Soul of Soil" from John Jeavons

Download the PDF

How sustainable is your GROW BIOINTENSIVE garden?

Download Ecology Action's NEW sustainability checklist!

In this beautiful film produced by the talented Amy Melious, I have the honor of introducing four remarkable individuals making a difference in the world through their involvement in the Biointensive farming movement.

Meet Mary Zellachild from California, Samuel and Perris Nderitu from Kenya, and Juan Manuel Martinez Valdez from Mexico. See people of all ages making a difference throughout the world. Become inspired to get started yourself, growing food and working toward a promising future of good food for all.

For more information on Ecology Action's work and partners, go to

Copyright 2015 Ecology Action, Willits, CA All rights reserved.

In the News
John Jeavons is featured in the February 2013 issue of
the San Francisco Chronicle's online magazine SFGate,
in the article Three Ways to Improve Soil for Spring

Click here to read the article!

Watch the hope-filled story of GROW BIOINTENSIVE of Kenya (G-BIACK),
a project supported by Ecology Action and its members:

You can help make success stories like this possible.
Please donate and become part of the ecosystem of hope.

John Jeavons is featured in the Authors@Google series!

John Jeavons at Google

John Jeavons spoke at Google in Mountain View on April 12, 2012
about his four decades pioneering biointensive farming
and what we can do for food security in the future.

You can watch the video of John's talk below:

"Very compelling vision, really makes me want to try some farming!"
-comment from a YouTube viewer

Acres Magazine

John Jeavons is featured in
the December 2011 issue of
Acres USA Magazine,
in the article Still Growing Strong!

Click here to go to the Acres USA website!

Backcountry Interview Topics with John:

Biointensive Gardening
and Improved Yields

Principles to
Maximize Harvest

Companion Plantings to
Create Synergies

Save Your own Garden Seeds
for Next Year

John Jeavons Radio Interview

Backcountry Radio Network presents
a 4-part series of interviews
with John Jeavons this month.

It's on the web at
in the April 18-22 Drivetime Audio Segments section.

Click here to listen!

Watch the latest installment of the self-teaching video series
from John Jeavons and Cynthia Raiser Jeavons

Session 9: Maintaining Your Garden

To view more episodes online, or to buy the full-length series on DVD
or as a gift pack with How to Grow More Vegetables, click here.

John Jeavons is featured in the March 2010 issue of Ode Magazine!

John Jeavons is featured in the March 2010 issue of
Ode Magazine,
in the article The Joy of Dirt!

Click here to read the article!

Growing More
Vegetables and Fruit
In Less Space:
An Interview with
John Jeavons

John Jeavons' March 2010 interview with the PlanterTomato Blog:

"John, one of the questions I asked you was why Biointensive farming is so productive and successful. The answer you gave me was the best description of why natural methods of farming works I've heard.  It is a real eye opener for anyone who has not considered natural methods and I think people will really enjoy it."

-Mark Delman, author of the PlanterTomato Blog,
on his interview with John Jeavons.

Click here to read the interview!
Listen to the podcast!

Urban Farm Magazine John Jeavons is featured in the
Premiere 2009 issue of Urban Farm,
in the article Back to Basics!

Click here to go to the Urban Farm website!



5798 Ridgewood Road  •  Willits, CA 95490
phone (650) 888.9781 (between 10AM - 6PM Pacific Standard Time only, please!) 

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