[Sdpg] NEW BOOK Paradise Lot Two Plant Geeks One-Tenth of an Acre, and the Making of an Edible Garden Oasis in the City by Eric Toensmeier

Wesley Roe and Santa Barbara Permaculture Network lakinroe at silcom.com
Sat Nov 17 20:22:58 PST 2012

Paradise Lot
Two Plant Geeks, One-Tenth of an Acre, and the Making of an Edible 
Garden Oasis in the City
by Eric Toensmeier

"Eric has a leisurely, entertaining, and personable way of revealing how 
his own edible forest garden evolved. Along the way, the reader will 
learn design guidelines that can be used in virtually any climate. A 
good read full of insight and science."
—Robert Kourik, author of Designing and Maintaining Your Edible 

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 Author

Eric Toensmeier
Eric Toensmeier calls himself a "socially engaged plant geek." He has 
spent much of his adult life exploring edible and otherwise useful 
plants and how they can be used in designed ecosystems. He is also 
co-author with Dave Jacke of the two-volume permaculture design manual 
Edible Forest Gardens. 

Eric has worked as a small farm trainer at the New England Small Farm 
Institute (Belchertown, MA) (www.smallfarm.org) and currently manages 
the Tierra de Oportunidades new farmer program of Nuestras Raices 
(www.nuestras-raices.org) in Holyoke, MA. There he is designing and 
installing a permaculture landscape in concert with immigrant farmers ...

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