Which skill level should you use?
There are three skill levels in both the garden and farm versions of the Fantastic Farm and Garden Calculator.
If you have never gardened before or if you've only had a garden for one season or just dabbled in gardening for a couple of years, use the Beginner skill level. If you do not use, or have not used, bio-intensive methods, use the Beginner skill level no matter how many years of gardening experience you have.
If you have 2 or more years of serious bio-intensive cultivation experience and are familiar with using all bio-intensive techniques, use the Intermediate skill level.
If you have had 5 or more years of serious bio-intensive cultivation experience, have had consistent success using all bio-intensive techniques, have highly developed soil structure in your planting beds and are in an area where the growing season is very long (i.e. Zone 7 and above), use the Advanced skill level.
Consider the following when deciding about your skill level1:
A Beginner user can grow x amount of produce on y amount of land.
An Intermediate user can grow 2x amount of produce on y amount of land.
An Advanced user can grow 4x amount of produce on y amount of land.
From our research at fantasticfarm.org a grower just beginning to use bio-intensive methods or a grower using traditional methods can grow roughly 1/2 to 3/4 of a lb of produce per sq ft. Someone who has been able to grow this amount of produce would use the Beginner Skill Level. The Intermediate Skill Level would be used by someone who as been able to grow 1 1/2 lbs of produce per sq ft. The Advanced Skill Level would be used by someone who has been able to grow roughly 3 lbs of produce per sq ft.
Because you would have to pay for a new account in order to switch skill levels within a particular season, please be conservative in your skill level estimate. It is better to use a lower skill level and produce more than anticipated than it is to use a higher skill level and produce less than anticipated.
- Skill levels are based on information from How to Grow More Vegetables by John Jeavons - Ten Speed Press, 2006 ↩