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Book Data

ISBN: 9781603583992
Year Added to Catalog: 2012
Book Format: Paperback
Book Art: B&W images
Dimensions: 6 x 9
Number of Pages: 248
Book Publisher: Chelsea Green
Release Date: January 25, 2013
Web Product ID: 670

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Paradise Lot

Two Plant Geeks, One-Tenth of an Acre, and the Making of an Edible Garden Oasis in the City

by Eric Toensmeier, Jonathan Bates

With contributions from Jonathan Bates

"Paradise Lot is a magnificent story about how two young broke landless "plant geeks" transform an urban lot into a permaculture heaven capable of producing all their fruit and vegetables as well as attracting suitable mates. The book is a groundbreaking work on temperate-climate permaculture as well as a personal saga, as the author's discovery and discussion of the differences between theory and practice goes beyond anything in the current permaculture literature. The book has a lot of information on growing and using various perennial food plants and, of particular value, it includes specific accounts of what didn't work and why as well as what did. Paradise Lot should be particularly useful to those with small lots or poor or abused soil. Much writing in permaculture is for people with plenty of land and money. This is permaculture for the rest of us. Best of all, Paradise Lot is fun to read. It overflows with love—love of plants, love of land, love of adventuring on the edge of knowledge, and love of living. It's hard to put down. I read it in two large gulps."

Carol Deppe, author of The Resilient Gardener and Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties

Featured in The New York Times!

One of Amazon.com's Top Books of February 2013!

How we did it and the challenges along the way.

When Eric Toensmeier and Jonathan Bates moved into a duplex in a run-down part of Holyoke, Massachusetts, the tenth-of-an-acre lot was barren ground and bad soil, peppered with broken pieces of concrete, asphalt, and brick. The two friends got to work designing what would become not just another urban farm, but a “permaculture paradise” replete with perennial broccoli, paw paws, bananas, and moringa—all told, more than two hundred low-maintenance edible plants in an innovative food forest on a small city lot. The garden—intended to function like a natural ecosystem with the plants themselves providing most of the garden’s needs for fertility, pest control, and weed suppression—also features an edible water garden, a year-round unheated greenhouse, tropical crops, urban poultry, and even silkworms.

In telling the story of Paradise Lot, Toensmeier explains the principles and practices of permaculture, the choice of exotic and unusual food plants, the techniques of design and cultivation, and, of course, the adventures, mistakes, and do-overs in the process. Packed full of detailed, useful information about designing a highly productive permaculture garden, Paradise Lot is also a funny and charming story of two single guys, both plant nerds, with a wild plan: to realize the garden of their dreams and meet women to share it with. Amazingly, on both counts, they succeed.


About the Authors

Eric Toensmeier

Eric Toensmeier has studied and practiced permaculture since 1990. He is the author of Perennial Vegetables and coauthor of Edible Forest Gardens with Dave Jacke. Toensmeier has worked as a small-farm trainer at the New England Small Farm Institute, has managed the Tierra de Oportunidades new-farmer program of Nuestras Raices, and is a graduate and former faculty member of the Institute for Social Ecology in Plainfield, Vermont. His current interest is in large-scale permaculture farming as a carbon-sequestering solution to climate change. Toensmeier’s writing, consulting, and teaching business is based at www.perennialsolutions.org, where he posts his latest articles and ...

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Jonathan Bates

Jonathan Bates owns Food Forest Farm Permaculture Nursery (permaculturenursery.com), a nursery specializing in educational services and useful/edible plant sales. He has been studying, creating, and working with rural and urban gardens in the Connecticut River Valley for over a decade. With a bachelor's degree in biology, and an MA in social ecology from the Institute for Social Ecology, Jonathan loves wild crafting with friends, and working with folks to better the world we live in. He cofounded and is a board member of the Apios Institute, is a teacher at the Yestermorrow Design/Build School, and is a farmer with ...

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