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Best Books

 
Brandon Greer
Posts: 264
Location: 1 Hour Northeast Of Dallas
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Hi all. I just finished reading gaia's garden and it was extremely informative. I wanted to see if you all have any other recommendations as to what other books are must-reads for aspiring permies such as myself? Is the 2nd edition of Gaia's Garden a worthwhile read? I tried doing a search here on the forums but didn't find what I was looking for.
 
Rick Roman
pollinator
Posts: 442
Location: Pennsylvania Pocono Mt Neutral-Acidic Elv1024ft AYR41in Zone 5b
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Hi Brandon, You can look under global resources-books here on permies, in fact a tread was started today called fall and winter reading list thread. It has some great suggestions. If you liked Gia's. Try Perennial Vegetables by Eric Toensmeir or Edible Forest Gardens vol. 1& 2 by Dave Jacke or Mycelium Running and Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms by paul stamets

http://www.permies.com/t/9478/books/Fall-winter-reading-list-thread
 
Kris Minto
Posts: 137
Location: Ottawa, Canada -- Zone 4b/5a
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I would recommend Forest Garden by Martin Crawford and sepp holzer books.

thanks,
Kris
 
Brandon Greer
Posts: 264
Location: 1 Hour Northeast Of Dallas
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Great thank you both. I'll check out those books
 
Dale Bunger
Posts: 45
Location: WI, USA (Zone 5) Continental ~33" avg. rainfall
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If you have any acreage at all, I would highly recommend Restoration Agriculture by Mark Shepard.

This is one of the few books on Permaculture that is based on real world experience on a working Permaculture farm as opposed to theory or individual projects.

 
dj niels
Posts: 181
Location: CO; semi-arid: 10-12"; 6000 ft
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Dale, when you say "any acreage" how big do you mean? I have actually looked at the ads for this book and wondered if it would help me. I have 2 acres I am developing into a market garden and (hopefully, eventually into a Food Forest). There are so many great books and DVDs recommended. I wish I could get, or at least read and/or view all of them, but it is taking all the money I can pull together to develop my land, with fencing, watering, small buildings, etc, and to keep expanding my market garden beds to the point where I can grow enough produce to sell. We (my two adult sons and I, a 60-something female with ambition but not a lot of strength), are doing all the work with hand tools. I have water lines but no power to the property. Because of the semi-arid climate, we have learned that sunken beds work much better than raised beds, so we are gradually digging out all the growing spaces with pick and shovel to break through the thick, compacted layer just beneath the loose surface sand. I have had to buy compost to top the beds of scrounged wood, old hay and straw, manure, etc, to get a layer of something I could plant into, as my land is nothing but pure sand and has no topsoil. I am trying to create compost from these materials, but in this high, dry "shoulder of the Rockies," I have had piles of organic matter, my "compost piles," sit for a whole year and still look like the meadow hay, straw and weeds that I laid down. it doesn't seem to matter how much I water them--the dry air just sucks all the moisture out of the pile, and out of my beds. I did finally achieve some success when I made a compost heap with a 10 foot diameter and covered it with a tarp to hold in the moisture, but compost making is a very slow process here.

Back to topic, I have about one acre that I hope to develop into a Food Forest, using swales and/or "kratur-beets" (sunken beds filled with wood and other organic matter, on contour) to catch and hold moisture for lines of trees and shrubs etc. So I ask, would this book be a good resource for this situation? Or are you referring to a much broader acreage?

Thanks to all for posting these resources. It would be nice to have a library nearby that carried some of these things. I have been able to check out, multiple times, Mollison's Intro to Permaculture, as well as the Earth Users guide to PC. I do have Mollison's Designers Manual, which I read or search over and over, and Perm. I and II, which I bought back in the 1980s; How to Make a forest garden, by Whitefield; the 2 volume set Edible Food Forest, by Dave Jacke and Eric T.; and a nice little book called "Growing Food in the Southwest Mountains", by Lisa Raynor. I read all these books over and over, along with Gaia's Garden and 4-season harvest, trying to glean new ideas to try (My copy of Gaia's Garden is starting to fall apart, I read it so much). I have been trying to watch and or read as many of the youtube videos and forums as I can, but many of the ideas for plants and methods only seem likely to work in much milder regions. Even the info I have found from Colorado Extension office seems more geared to the higher elevations with cool summers--and doesn't apply here at all. I started watching that permaculture design class in nc, but most of the plants he talked about are so local to his region that it is hard to translate into my climate.

I do think I have learned the basic principles of PC from my reading and experimenting, but methods and techniques are very site/region specific. The tricks and techniques that were successful in Maine, or Delaware, or western Washington, just don't work very well here, so I really need some more ideas of things that might work in this harsher environment. (Low rainfall, high elevation, hot summers, cool nights, cold winters, harsh winds). I know PC works, and works very well in many places all over the globe, and even is working quite well here in my 1/8 acre home garden, I just have to figure out how to work with what we have on a bit larger scale so we can "get a yield" and get most benefit for least work, and eventually to create a surplus to share.

So, I guess my real question is, do any of you know of any specific resources that might relate more to my situation? Or does anyone know if there are other bioregions that are siimilar to this that I could study? Sometimes I feel like I am on a little island that is totally different from all the surrounding territory. It is also hard to find sources for plants that might be adapted, to say nothing of "local."

Thanks everyone

djn
 
Dale Bunger
Posts: 45
Location: WI, USA (Zone 5) Continental ~33" avg. rainfall
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Regarding Restoration Agriculture, I think that his methods are most applicable to people with more than 1/4 acre, but the general information is good for anyone interested in how Permaculture will actually be able to feed the world. I only suggest that his examples are based on a larger scale than a backyard in the city. This is also one of the biggest reasons for recommending his book.

His description of Biomes and Guilds is useable and general enough for everyone, however as with any specific example, his plant listing is somewhat climate specific. I am fortunate enough to live within about 100 miles from his farm, so I can use the information without too much translation.

I think the most important thing is to fill you layers with varieties that you like to eat and that can be sourced from areas close by. Primarily so you know that they will thrive in your climate.
 
dj niels
Posts: 181
Location: CO; semi-arid: 10-12"; 6000 ft
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I wish I knew some sources close by. I do have promises for a start of raspberries and a cherry tree that are growing in my town, other than that I don't know. I did get my start of rhubarb from a friend here, as well.

I have been studying the Sunset Western Garden Book for possible species to consider, but their emphasis seems to be mostly ornamental plants.
 
Rick Roman
pollinator
Posts: 442
Location: Pennsylvania Pocono Mt Neutral-Acidic Elv1024ft AYR41in Zone 5b
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Hi dj, I'm reading "Wild Plants of the Pueblo Province: Exploring Ancient and Enduring Uses" by Tierney, Bunmire & Nabhan It 's a wild plant reference, historical use guide and more. It's specific to your area (I think). You may find wild indigenous plants that work well within your permaculture garden. It's an excellent book.

Book Description - The homelands of the Pueblo people - New Mexico's Pajarito Plateau and middle Rio Grande Valley - are home as well to an abundantly diverse plant community that is virtually unrivaled in western North America. Plant biologist and former US Park Service ecologist Dunmire and botanist/anthropologist Tierney have written a book that combines a high degree of scholarship with a delightfully accessible trail-guide approach to the traditional uses of wild plants in the Pueblo world. This is an important book about the region's plant life and its vital interplay with cultures. Its sturdy laminated paper cover and cloth spine provide ideal backpack durability but will equally satisfy the armchair naturalist and weekend anthropology enthusiast. Colour landscape photographs and individual line drawings of sixty profiled plants blend to create a book that is visually rich and absorbing while educational and useful.

Author Gail D. Tierney has other similar books, you might want to look into.

Wild Plants and Native Peoples of the Four corners
Root length of plants of Los Alamos National Laboratory Lands
Roadside Plants of Northern New Mexico
 
dj niels
Posts: 181
Location: CO; semi-arid: 10-12"; 6000 ft
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Thanks, Dale and Rick, for your responses. I will try to get a look at those books.
 
Chris Cree
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I am currently reading restoration agriculture, and really am enjoying it. Shepard writes from actual expeirience doing permaculture on a large scale. He makes it work, and what he writes makes sence.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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I personally recommend the second edition of Gaia's Garden..and there are a lot of good forest garden and permaculture books..check out the book thread down farther on the forum listings.
http://www.backwoodshome.com/
also there are a lot of links to some good reading here
 
dj niels
Posts: 181
Location: CO; semi-arid: 10-12"; 6000 ft
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Thanks, Brenda, for that link. I looked over that book list, and have looked at others. I still have a question, however. With all these hundreds of books available on so many subjects, how does one decide which books have the info that will be most helpful, and worth spending time to read and money to purchase?

Does the 2nd edition of Gaia's garden really add a lot of info that is not in the first edition?

I listened to the 1st podcast of Paul and some others discussing the book, and I didn't really hear anything new. But I haven't managed to get back to listen to the rest--(I get lost reading these forums and don't always remember which one had a link I intended to go back to) and I am not computer/internet savvy enough to find my way through the maze of discussions and info and threads (or whatever they are called) and unfamiliar acronyms that are used. I am still struggling to learn how to access the forums. This is a new language for me, I didn't grow up learning this stuff, as my kids did, and many posters seem to have done.

I wish our library system had some of these books so I could read them first and be better able to choose which one or ones are worth taking up space on my already crowded book shelves. I have been collecting books for years on gardening, alternative building ideas, homesteading, etc., so I have a bunch already, and not a lot of cash to buy books that I may only read once and decide are not that useful to me.

 
Look ma! I'm selling my stuff!
The stocking stuffer game for all your Permaculture companions
http://www.FoodForestCardGame.com
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