Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture

by Paula Apynys for Book Recommendations

Gaia's Garden

by Toby Hemenway

Buy at Barnes & Noble

I discovered this book, and the concept of permaculture, several years ago. I am really happy to see that a second-edition was published in 2009, which includes updates and an additional chapter about Urban Permaculture.

From the Barnes & Noble Review: “Many people mistakenly think that ecological gardening–which involves growing a wide range of edible and other useful plants–can take place only on a large, multiacre scale. As Hemenway demonstrates, it’s fun and easy to create a ‘backyard ecosystem’ by assembling communities of plants that can work cooperatively and perform a variety of functions, including:

  • Building and maintaining soil fertility and structure
  • Catching and conserving water in the landscape
  • Providing habitat for beneficial insects, birds, and animals
  • Growing an edible “forest” that yields seasonal fruits, nuts, and other foods”

From my own original review: …what I find so engaging about this book is the emphasis on working with nature instead of trying to subdue it. Similarly to Noah’s Garden, this book has interesting information about how things grow, and why, and approaches you can take that will increase your output while decreasing your labor, use of pesticides, etc. Much of the emphasis is on working with vs. against the micro-environment you live in, which first means recognizing the microenvironment you live in. I’m attracted to that notion of becoming in tune with your land and the forces that shape it – that’s a “skill” sorely lacking in modern America, particularly urban and suburban America.

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