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

Eric Toensmeier, Author, Jonathan Bates, Contribution by
Eric Toensmeier with Jonathan Bates. Chelsea Green, $19.95 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-1-60358-399-2
Reviewed on: 01/21/2013
Release date: 02/01/2013
Open Ebook - 240 pages - 978-1-60358-400-5
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In this charming, true-life tale of urban regeneration and the birth of a forest garden movement, Toensmeier, famous among permaculture enthusiasts for his Perennial Vegetables and as coauthor of Edible Forest Gardens, tells the story behind the Holyoke, Mass., garden featured as a test case in the latter, which, in the course of eight years, he and Bates transformed from a bare backyard wasteland into a flourishing, edible Eden. In true permaculture fashion, the book follows not only the progression of the garden but also its influence on and relations with its creators’ lives—including a surprisingly Austen-like romantic element—their neighborhood, and the larger permaculture and forest gardening community. Bates, whose nursery business, Food Forest Farm, is an offshoot of this garden, contributes philosophical and personal essays interspersed throughout the narrative. Fans of Toensmeier and Bates’s work will be thrilled to read the details of their experiments with polycultures, their problems with and solutions for pests and overly aggressive plants, and their idiosyncratic plant choices. Adventurous readers with conventional gardens and lawns may be inspired to venture into the more integrated, evolutionary approach that this book so vividly and appealingly portrays. Agent: Kit Ward, Ward & Balkin Agency (Mar.)
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