Permaculture for the Rest of Us—Abundant Living on Less Than an Acre
By Jenni Blackmore
I loved reading this book! It is so down-to-earth (appropriate for a gardening book!), practical and funny. It leads you on and on from one garden topic to another with so much helpful information in every paragraph that you don’t want it to end. It’s the first garden book I’ve read that reads as easy as a good novel.
This book is written by a woman who moved to a windswept island off of Nova Scotia 25 years ago to make a sustainable farm on poor clay soils facing challenging weather. Sounds like Montana! She learned by doing and along the way became educated in permaculture principals. Permaculture was developed in tropical places but lucky for us Jenni Blackmore is here to apply these principals to places like Montana.
While providing much useful information, the book does not go into depth on any given topic. As such it is very accessible and helpful to a beginning gardener. But the information also validates and reinforces a more experienced gardener’s knowledge and provides many suggestions that even master gardeners may not have tried yet. Two I am trying this year are: snipping the plants I thin rather than pulling them so as not to disturb the roots of the young plants I want to keep; and rather than trying to plant small lettuce and greens seeds in wet spring soil, broadcast the seeds on the soil, then cover with a thin layer of potting soil (or topsoil).
Jenni looks at her farm as a system, interlocking and logical. She encourages looking at the whole system—the physical components, the interdependent functioning, and the development in time. Her farm is less than an acre but she is able to provide much of the food for her family. She has learned by doing and her knowledge may help the rest of us prevent some errors without having to learn the hard way.
To give you an enticing sample of Jenni’s writing, here is her description of the purpose of the book from her introduction: “My purpose here is to write an encouragement manual, an if we can do it then for certain you can kind of book, a book that might save others from getting bogged down by the same mistakes we made and which simplifies and elevates permaculture methodology to its rightful status….While not wanting it to read like a text book, I do want to supply enough concrete information to facilitate success…Whether it’s a speed read during the first heady days of spring planting or leisurely dreaming on a cold winter’s afternoon, read on. And enjoy!”
This very enjoyable book is available by order from Barnes and Noble.
Book review submitted by Ann Guthals