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Practical Permaculture: for Home Landscapes, Your Community, and the Whole Earth Paperback – February 4, 2015
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“Gardeners will relish the pragmatic text and illustrations in this handbook from two of permaculture’s well-known leaders, Bloom (Free Range Chicken Gardens) and Boehnlein (education director, Bullock’s Permaculture Homestead, WA).” —Library Journal
“Fills a niche for readers who want to integrate this down-to-earth but too-often-mystifying nature-inspired design system into their lives.” —Publishers Weekly
“Practical Permaculture says it all right there in the title. The photos and diagrams are gorgeous and relevant. The text is easy to read, and the authors are seasoned in their craft. It is the clearest and most practical Permaculture book I have yet seen for helping the aspiring Permie.” —PermacultureRising.com
“If anyone can make permaculture intelligible and appealing to home gardeners, it’s award winning ecological landscape designer Jessi Bloom and Dave Boehnlein. . . . if you’re interested in achieving closed-loop sustainability while keeping garden aesthetics in mind, Practical Permaculture can serve as a detailed roadmap.” —Garden Design
“In Practical Permaculture Northwest authors Jessi Bloom and Dave Boehnlein take this 1970’s term into today with real-life examples of people growing food, harvesting rain, and bringing their homes and gardens into symbiosis with the surrounding natural resources.” —Sunset
“Clearly written and laid out. . . . This is a permaculture primer that is fresh and vibrant. Bring it on!” —Permaculture Magazine
“This comprehensive resource will help you make the shifts you’re ready for this year, and for a decade.” —The Denver Post
“Farmers who have heard the term, "permaculture" and are curious as to just what it means, will benefit from reading Practical Permaculture. Bloom and Boehnlein offer vivid ways to diversify the number of crops growing in a given area.” —Acres USA
From the Back Cover
In clear, logical steps, Practical Permaculture offers the tools you need to live a life rich in healthy food, safe housing, and renewable resources. This hardworking book covers the basic principles of permaculture, showing the entire design process from land assessment to the completed master plan, with detailed information on the plants, water, waste, energy, shelter, food, animals, and structures that make up the garden. Filled with real-life examples from all over the world, this invaluable resource will help you turn your property into a sustainable ecosystem.
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It starts with a brief introduction to permaculture that builds on historical origins but avoids being a repeat of Mollison's visionary work. Practical Permaculture gives very clear examples, bases information on science, and modernizes concepts appropriately for 2015. The framework of the book is a step by step, well thought-out- process to designing a site using permaculture principles . "Designing a site" is one of the most important permaculture activities - the book helps you learn the important characteristics of your farm/backyard/community garden, deciding your goals, and placing elements such as plants, orchards, households, coops, ponds etc so they can reinforce each other following the dynamics of nature. It teaches the use of design tools such as sectors, zones, edges, and patterns in non-nonsense, approachable style. By following this book you'll have learned a lot and taken many of the important first steps in setting up a sustainable and enjoyable system.
While many other other general permaculture books may be a repeat of Mollison's "Designer's Manual", the authors here provide genuine value and insight into the process of design, considering modern tools and options, and focusing on the actionable and pragmatic aspects of implementing a permaculture project. They also bring experience applying permaculture in colder climates and can put forth relevant species and examples of techniques to the table.
The quality of the book is very high - materials, design, layout, illustrations are great.
Having read many (most) of available books on the topic, and as a holder of a Permaculture Design Certificate I find myself recommending and gifting this book again and again for those who are new to Permaculture, and to those that are more aware of Permaculture generally but ask "so... how do I start"?
This has been a great addition to my library - even though it ends up open on my desk most of the time. I hope the authors consider embarking on additional writing projects.
There are a few things I take issue with in the book. The section on building houses includes wattle and daub and straw bale houses. I understand that these building materials are sustainable using local resources, but I have to question whether sustainability is being given more consideration than durability. People stopped using these building materials long ago and for good reasons. The authors also advocate guerrilla gardening, making changes to someone else's property without their permission. Improving a piece of wasted land is noble when it's yours, but some of the changes in this book are criminal, like cutting off a branch of someone else's tree and grafting on one that yields fruit or planting your vegetables seeds in their flowerbeds and expecting to harvest the produce. If you wouldn't want someone else messing with your land, don't expect them to like you doing it to theirs. Lastly, near the end of the book the authors basically say the readers should decide whether to follow laws they consider burdensome or just ignore them. This is dangerous territory. Nobody likes it when the rich and powerful ignore laws they don't like, so why is it good when laws are ignored by those of us with more limited means?
I know that sounds like a lot to complain about, but the book is so long and many portions so useful that I feel these issues warrant only a drop of one star.