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on 17 December 2004
This is a really inspiring book and a great starting point for those who want to care about the earth, more. This huge resource can be digested chapter by chapter or can be utilised when you want some specific recommendations (e.g. on soil type, shade loving perennials or shape of a pond). Patrick goes into practical details yet still maintains the integrity of caring for the whole (Earth)
Straight forward diagrams and clear mindmaps illustrate significant themes and ideas. Plus there are lots of uplifting case examples of permaculture designs put into practice. There is also a good list of resources and sources of what you may require in implementing your ideas.
If you want to move beyond grumbling about the worlds problems and want to become part of the solution, then this book can guide you step by step through the process. I can envisage this book being useful at many levels, national and local and on both broad and home scale projects. I strongly recommend this book.
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on 1 August 2017
this book is an encyclopaedia of permaculture,it covers all aspects of life and how to live in a sustainable way.It also covers farming as well as gardens.You can read how it should be done and then decide how far you want to take it.Although it is expensive I think it is good value for money,I am pleased i bought it.Read it through once and then dip into it when you need particular information.
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on 23 May 2017
A completely brilliant, life-changing, crystal-clear and fascinating book.
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on 16 May 2017
Excellent detailed book.
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on 4 October 2004
This is a wonderful book, both inspiring and practical. It inspires those new to Permaculture into action, demonstrating that we can all make a real and important difference by reducing our personal "footprint" - our energy consumption, and by thinking environmentally about each decision we make. This book leads the reader back outside, into nature.
It is a must for anyone interested in growing their own food, natural building, nature, alternative energy, waste treatment,... On a practical level there are excellent case studies, details of crop varieties most suitable to our temperate climate, seasonal guidelines - for readers who have small gardens, large farms, window boxes, or communal gardens. For example, there is a wonderful diagram which leads a total novice to determine what type of soil they have by using a few simple tests.
For the more advanced Permaculturist, this Manual is a wonderful guide and reference book and a binding together of many ideas and priciples.
I could not recommend it highly enough. You will continually dip into it and find more and more excellent advice and techniques
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on 10 February 2015
Just occasionally, I pick up a book and then kick myself for not having bought it sooner.

I'm going to be carrying the scar on my shin for a few years to come having realised what I've been missing out on with this little gem. But of course, it's not so little. Whilst not *quite* as big as Bill Mollison's 'Big Black Book', aka Permaculture: a Designer's Manual, it is still a pretty weighty tome and packed full of permaculture information of all kinds, from gardening and microclimates to energy, water, buildings, woodlands, biodiversity and the design process. Patrick Whitefield wrote this book primarily as a resource to support his work of teaching the 72 hour Permaculture Design Course, providing a solid back-up of information and explanations to continue to guide his students long after the course is over.

Whilst it covers much of the same information as the Designer's Manual, and in a similar depth, there are important differences.

Firstly, the Earth Care Manual is written for temperate climates, not tropical ones. Whilst permaculture can be applied to any climate, most people find it far easier to learn to apply the principles using a book written with their own climate type in mind. This book was written in the UK, and many of the examples are UK based, and anyone in a temperate climate is likely to find this book pretty well indispensable. Having this book by my side feels like having a favourite mentor standing right behind me ready to whisper words of wisdom in my ear the moment I need them.

Secondly, the style of writing is totally different. Whilst I'm deeply fond of Bill Mollison, he is a rather provocative writer, a bit of a gadfly who is constantly challenging his readers in an attempt to stimulate them to greater things and deeper thought processes. And I'm not always in the mood to deal with it. Patrick Whitefield writes much more gently, providing you with everything you need to know in a most reassuring, encouraging manner. For days when I need a bit of stimulation, I'll reach for Mollison, but when I need a reminder of the differences between Fukuoka and Bon Fils, or need to tell my sub-soilers from my mole ploughs, or just want to spend a quiet hour or three curled up with a veritable gold mine of the background information that all of us who aspire to care for the earth desperately need to assimilate, then I'll be reaching for the 'Big Blue Book' which now has pride of place on my bookshelf.

Having said that, no book is perfect. I loved the description of masonry stoves, but there was no mention of rocket mass heaters. I winced at the comment about energy saver bulbs and wanted to send a link to Paul Wheaton's video. And I wasn't too sure about having the third ethic listed as 'fair share', either. So I think I'm going to keep The Earth Care Manual as my guide and my back-up while I keep reaching and exploring to see what else can be discovered.
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on 2 July 2015
I bought a second copy of this book for a Spanish friend of mine who is trying to learn English and educate himself regarding alternative approaches to farming and food production methods. He was so surprised by the lateral thinking and pragmatic solutions of permaculture in its various guises. As an olive and almond producer he was shocked by how little he truly understood about his cultivation methods and fertilization regimes that are simply passed down from generation to generation without any great thought to alternative irrigation, fertilization and soil structuring...His eyes have been opened - he might now be able to save himself some serious cash on expensive manutactured 'super' non-organic fertilizers and become happy in the knowledge that his produce is ethically produced and healthier for all that.

This is a detailed and extensive guide and reference tool in all aspects of land management and food production using alternative, tried and tested methods. As useful to those who see more natural processes and alternative approaches to farming on any scale as it is to the hard-core permies. A very rewarding book.
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on 29 February 2012
I have been looking for a way to make a life which is both comfortable and ecologically sound, but all the ideas out there always seemed to me incomplete. Until I read this book.

Permaculture is a philosophy based on applying the principles of natural ecosystems to all aspects of life of earth. This book is primarily concerned with food growing, but Whitefield always finds a way to relate what you eat to just about every other environmental issue that has ever concerned you (and some that you may not know about). This book is, on the one hand, very scary, containing some dire predictions and even worse facts and on the other hand full of hope, as it describes sooooo many realistic ways we can all make a big difference.

I am a beginner at gardening and have only been growing veg for about 3 years, but the more technical information was fully acessible to me and it always flowed so it was a pleasure to read. Also, the Manual has very user friendly index and reading list so it will be useful as a reference book for years to come.

READ THIS BOOK. IT CHANGED MY LIFE, I am sure it will do something for you.
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on 6 May 2009
I ordered this book on impulse and I am beyond impressed with the wealth of useful information it contains. I have acquired a shelf full of 'gardening' books over the years and this one book has given me more valuable information in just one day.

An absolute must buy for anyone who wishes to grow food in a practical and sustainable manner.
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on 15 July 2009
I've been into Self sufficiency, Organics and Alternative energy for about 30 years . I was the 2nd Soil Association registered farm in the south west of the UK in 1985.
This book is something very special. It updates and integrates all the above to the 21st century with a more holistic approach. Its very inclusive, anybody can apply the principles and practices carefully explained with depth and detail in this book. There are many real life successful working examples of permaculture in action not just the detailed theory. The more people that read this book the better our lives will be. Its worth every penny its as good if not better than the Complete book of Self Sufficiency was (for its day) back in the 1970's. Or William Cobbets Cottage Economy in the 1820's
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