Author(s): Eric Toensmeier
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.
""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"