10. Intensity of care

One of the main features of this method is the central place given to the human hand, rather than the machine. Many studies have found a direct link between intensity of care and level of productivity. An experienced grower, on a living and fertile soil, can produce really large quantities of vegetables, with relatively less investment and operating costs than a conventional (larger, mechanised) farm. The study conducted at Bec Hellouin demonstrates that by working by hand as per this approach, we produce as many vegetables per hour worked as our mechanised colleagues.

The link between manual work and small-scale work is truly the main key to the success of this approach. This combination offers attractive possibilities, for example to create soil of a very high level of fertility, to cultivate a large number of species, which is an asset for some markets, and to practice companion planting.

Once again, the grower adopting this method will have to fight against the tendency to cultivate areas that are too large to manage intensively by hand. By straddling two logics, two approaches to diversified market gardening, there is a real risk of accruing the disadvantages specific to each approach. A mechanised grower might test the method on a few sample beds in order to form an opinion and adopt it if he is satisfied with it.

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