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Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-scale Permaculture [Paperback]

Toby Hemenway
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
RRP: 21.99
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Book Description

7 Jun 2009
The first edition of Gaia s Garden sparked the imagination of America s home gardeners, introducing permaculture s central message: Working with Nature, not against her, results in more beautiful, abundant, and forgiving gardens. This extensively revised and expanded second edition broadens the reach and depth of the permaculture approach for urban and suburban growers. 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 This revised and updated edition also features a new chapter on urban permaculture, designed especially for people in cities and suburbs who have very limited growing space. Whatever size yard or garden you have to work with, you can apply basic permaculture principles to make it more diverse, more natural, more productive, and more beautiful. Best of all, once it s established, an ecological garden will reduce or eliminate most of the backbreaking work that s needed to maintain the typical lawn and garden.

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Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-scale Permaculture + Permaculture Design + Creating a Forest Garden: Working with nature to grow edible crops
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Product details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing Co; 2nd Revised edition edition (7 Jun 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1603580298
  • ISBN-13: 978-1603580298
  • Product Dimensions: 25.1 x 20.1 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 100,583 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Toby Hemenway is the author of the first major North American book on permaculture, Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, now in its second edition, and an adjunct assistant professor at Portland State University. After obtaining a degree in biology from Tufts University, Toby worked for many years as a researcher in genetics and immunology, first in academic laboratories including Harvard and the University of Washington in Seattle, and then at Immunex, a major medical biotech company. At about the time he was growing dissatisfied with the direction biotechnology was taking, he discovered permaculture, a design approach based on ecological principles that creates sustainable landscapes, homes, and workplaces. A career change followed, and Toby and his wife spent ten years creating a rural permaculture site in southern Oregon. He was associate editor of Permaculture Activist, a journal of ecological design and sustainable culture, from 1999 to 2004. His current project is developing urban sustainability resources in Portland, Oregon, where he now lives. He teaches permaculture and consults and lectures on ecological design throughout the country. His writing has appeared in magazines such as Whole Earth Review, Natural Home, and Kitchen Gardener, and he wrote the foreword for Heather C. Flores' Food Not Lawns. He is available for workshops, lectures, and consulting in ecological design. Visit his web site at

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
I have Permaculture One and "the big black book" Permaculture a designers manual.
Not coming from a gardening/agricultural background I got a little frustrated with Bill Molisons books as I thought they would be more hands on. Dont get me wrong, the previously mentioned books are amazing and now that i have a little more practise and knowledge in this area I couldnt do without them. Bill Mollisons books are very good but give you the information and the principles and then your on your own. This is fine for someone that already knows a little about this subject but not so great for a total beginner.

So, Gaia's Garden should be the first stop for someone that wants to get into permaculture. It gives a great explanation of what permaculture is and its principals in one chapter, before passing on to how to put the principles into practise. You get great examples of all the principles with great images and anecdotes. It gives you lots of guidance and has a great reference section for further reading.

I wish i had bought this book first as it would have avoided me a little frustration.

I would add "The Self sufficient life and how to live it" to this book if you have no gardening experience. Gaias garden will give you the Permaculture principles and the self sufficient life will show you how to take care of the plants, animals etc.

Hope this helps.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Ideal Introduction to Permaculture Gardening 22 July 2011
By deanom
I bought this book as an experienced Permaculturalist, and wasn't disappointed. I found it to be an ideal bridge from conventional gardening, to using Permaculture on a small scale.It is written in a way that makes it easy to understand, the pictures make my non permacultural family say that they want a garden like that,and there is enough about Permaculture design, and Principles, to tempt people to take it further.
If you want to find out more about Permaculture, this is a good book to start with. If you want to ease others into a permaculture lifestyle, this book is an ideal gift, and has worked for my family.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good - but only if you live in the USA 17 Oct 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a good introduction to permaculture - with two reservations. Firstly, it's an American book and the varieties, climate and lifestyle that are covered are often very different from those we are used to in the UK. Secondly, I found it quite tedious to read at times as it's difficult to just pick out the practical advice from the wealth of detail, scientific data and so forth which, whilst making this a very comprehensive book, is not always pertinent to the practical gardener.

So, all in all, an excellent introduction to the priciples of permaculture, but to put them into effect you will probably need to already be an experienced gardener to work out what will and will not work in your UK plot and adapt the varieties and the techniques accordingly.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There is only one gardening book 23 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the first gardening book I have sat and read from cover to cover. Some previous reviewers said that they had found the American references got in the way of a good book... I do not find that this is the case as things that do not apply are far and few between. The only thing that is hampered by the American thing are the plant lists, but even these are not a problem as the reader is given so many other choices, and as Mr Hemenway points out you can pick and choose.
Thank you Toby Hemenway for producing such an accessible, thorough and affordable book on permaculture. If you can afford only one book on gardening of any-sort, buy this one.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent in every way 9 April 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was a little put off by the title of this book. It didn't sound like the title of a serious reference book on permaculture. How wrong I was. This book is a wonderful guide. The writing is clear and thoughtful. The pictures and diagrams are inspiring and it has ideas and solutions for all kinds of climates. I can not recommend this highly enough. I'm buying a copy for my father, and have already had two of my friends borrow it. They're buying their own copies so that they can have it around for quick referencing. I believe it is books like this one that will convince people to re-think the way that they garden.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book 10 Jun 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have known about and been interested in permaculture for a long time but it had gone on the back burner for a while, whilst life took over - that is until, I read this book - I found the detail fascinating and the whole book was so inspiring that I am now doing my permaculture diploma... What I loved was that the author clearly knows what he's talking about and can offer you real life examples rather than the usual airy fairy concepts you tend to get with permaculture. I would recommend this book to anyone with and interest in permaculture and indeed I have...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb 19 Feb 2013
By Kmay
This book is the perfect entry point for someone interested in permaculture and specifically with applying permaculutre techniques to a home size garden.
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