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Paradise Lot: Two Plant Geeks, One-Tenth of…

Paradise Lot: Two Plant Geeks, One-Tenth of an Acre, and the Making of an…

by Eric Toensmeier

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In 2004, two “plant nerds” (the primary and contributing authors) bought a duplex on a 1/10 acre lot of “urbanite” soil in Holyoke MA, with a plan to bring permaculture into an urban context. This is the story of their garden through seasons and years, with background of how each came to permaculture as a vocation, and bits of entwined life as both men marry and their wives introduce ideas and expertise. It is useful for its scale (it does not assume multiple acres and ample space for trees), its attitude (despite relevant education, much trial and error was involved, and the garden remains a work in progress), and its results (an appendix of mostly edible perennials that can make it through a New England winter). They advise a year of preparation, observing sunny and shady areas, testing (and amending) the soil; by this method (sketches are included), they determined the one location suitable for a greenhouse, and a microclimate where tropical plants could survive. The emphasis is on sustainable polyculture, low maintenance (perennials and self-seeding annuals, spreading but not invasive) and high density (multiple layers and multiple edible parts), attractive to wildlife (at least far more so than the average city yard), native when plausible but not ideologically purist. Not great literature, but informative and encouraging.

(read 13 Jul 2013)
2 vote qebo | Aug 24, 2013 |
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Tells the story of two single men who turned a backyard lot into a productive garden, with advice on setting up a permaculture, choosing suitable food plants, and designing an urban garden that functions as a natural ecosystem.

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