Focus on being productive instead of busy.Tim Ferriss
Though you may not think it, manual methods of food production, whilst admittedly labour intensive, are far more productive. During World War II, allotments and gardens provided around 10% of food consumed in the UK because of the ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign whilst comprising <1% of the area of arable cultivation! More recent UK trials conducted by the Royal Horticultural Society and ‘Which?’ Magazine showed fruit and vegetable yields of 31–40 tonnes per hectare per year (Tomkins 2006), many times the productivity of the major agricultural crops in the Leicestershire region. This is hardly surprising when you consider the quality of the soils on allotments against large scale agriculture and the ability to inter-crop and follow-on crop.
The British Ecological Society published a paper in 2014 which compared soil quality in allotments to those of arable farmers. They found a “remarkable contrast in soil quality indicators between allotments and arable fields” which revealed “the effectiveness of management achieved by own‐growers”. Allotment soils had 32% higher soil organic carbon concentrations and 36% higher carbon/nitrogen ratios than pastures and arable fields and 25% higher total nitrogen and 10% lower bulk density (ie were less compacted) than arable soils.