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Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, 2nd Edition Paperback – May 19 2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing; 2 edition (May 19 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1603580298
  • ISBN-13: 978-1603580298
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 2.5 x 25.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 771 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #5,170 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"Become a sustainable producer of resources instead of a wasteful consumer. This wonderful book shows you how by helping you create and enhance beautiful backyard ecosystems within the garden. Put this book into action, and you'll begin to live an example that positively shifts your own community and beyond. Best of all, doing so with this book is simple, juicy, and fun."--Brad Lancaster, author of Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond and

"Toby's fun, well-grounded, and engaging book is fast becoming a classic, and deservedly so. Practical yet visionary, broad-ranging yet focused on the basics one needs to know, this is a great place to start on the permaculture path. The new edition builds solidly on the success of the first. Congratulations!"--Dave Jacke, co-author of the two-volume Edible Forest Gardens

"The world didn't come with an operating manual, so it's a good thing that some wise people have from time to time written them. Gaia's Garden is one of the more important, a book that will be absolutely necessary in the world ahead."--Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy and Hope, Human and Wild

"Permaculture gardens are no longer a thing of the future. They are here to stay and flourish. Gaia's Garden is enlightening and required reading for all people who desire to make their home's landscape healthy, sustainable, and healing."--Robert Kourik, author of Designing and Maintaining Your Edible Landscape--Naturally

"Gaia's Garden is simply the best permaculture book ever written, and is in the running for best gardening book ever written. No one should be without it."--Sharon Astyk, author of Depletion and Abundance: Life on the New Home Front

"Toby Hemenway's Gaia's Garden will be recorded in history as a milestone for gardeners and landscapers--a fusion of the practical and the visionary--using the natural intelligence of Earth's symbiotic communities to strengthen and sustain ecosystems in which humans are a partner, not a competitor. An amazing achievement showing how we can and must live in harmony with nature!"--Paul Stamets, author of Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World

About the Author

Toby Hemenway is the author of the first major North American book on permaculture, Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture. After obtaining a degree in biology from Tufts University, Toby worked for many years as a researcher in genetics and immunology, first in academic laboratories at Harvard and the University of Washington in Seattle, and then at Immunex, a major medical biotech company. At about the time he was growing dissatisfied with the direction biotechnology was taking, he discovered permaculture, a design approach based on ecological principles that creates sustainable landscapes, homes, and workplaces. A career change followed, and Toby and his wife spent ten years creating a rural permaculture site in southern Oregon. He was associate editor of Permaculture Activist, a journal of ecological design and sustainable culture, from 1999 to 2004. He teaches permaculture and consults and lectures on ecological design throughout the country.

Inside This Book

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Apostate Pinko on April 17 2011
Format: Paperback
I'm not a gardener. Yet. I have a small, inner city backyard that has run to weeds, with a few wild raspberry bushes in it, and I haven't known where to start to get it under control.

I got this book, and have been reading it like a novel for the past couple of days. It's strange to say that about a permaculture/gardening theory and how-to book, but seriously, I can't put it down! I'm so inspired by it. Not only that, but there are some really practical ideas for getting started, ideas that even a beginner like me can figure out. For instance, instead of doing the back-breaking weeding I kept thinking I had to do in order to get my backyard in order (and which we did some of last year, only to find the weeds growing back as fast as we could get rid of them), Hemenway suggests sheet mulching. Not to mention some rethinking about what "weeds" are, and what their role is in your garden ecosystem.

And I like the fact that the book really explains permaculture and the principles behind it, and how plants and trees and bugs and animals and people interact with each other. It starts from the very beginning, for beginners like me, but I think that even experienced gardeners will love this book because of all the examples and ideas Hemenway seeds through all of his writing.

If you need not only an introduction, but a thorough understanding of permaculture, this is your book.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Hélène on April 18 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Finally a way of gardening that calls to me! It's incredible the ressources we spend on producing food the standard way. It always felt against the flow to me, planting just a couple of different plants in rows, necessiting fertilisers, weeding and when things broke apart, insecticides, pesticides, fungicides. Without talking about seeds, seedlings and other time and money investement a garden needs! So much work for a gardener! This book, amongst other things, introduce the gardener to plants seldom seen in standard garden and how to reduce the human workload while upgrading significantly the harvest. This is not your lettuce garden, it is so much more.

Permaculture redefine the way a gardener works by suggesting to him to let mother nature do a lot of that work for him. The ingredients for the recipe are simple and Gaia's Garden: A Guide To Home-Scale Permaculture go through them clearly and thoroughly. From soil and water management to the insect and wildlife kingdom, it suggest ways to create a garden webbed in rich collaboration. The result is a garden that is stronger by it's diversity, making it more abondant and resistant.

If you feel you've been lacking the spark in gardening, this book could redefine the way you go about it with a world of exciting possibilities.

The small minus of the book I found was mostly at the beginning, where the author preaches more the philosophy of the practice. It feels like he need to defend his stance and for me, that's not necessary. I would say the 2 lasts chapters were the best. One of them does a great recap of all the book without the aforementionned preaching and the other is about a "Pop!".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jesse on Aug. 13 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In Gaia's Garden, Toby Hemenway has compiled an easy to read and comprehensive look into the vast world of ecological gardening and permaculture design. The many lists and appendixes provided throughout the pages makes Gaia's Garden an invaluable reference as well. Toby has given the reader a "full toolkit" of techniques and systems that can be put to use in any garden, wether it be urban, suburban or rural acreage. The takeaway is that we can treat the earth better, and reap many benefits in the process.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jae Pea on June 26 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Gaia's Garden has opened many academic and philosophical doors for me, From companion planting under fruit tree, to the effectiveness of "weeds" as cover crops and nutrient accumulator. This book is leading me down a path to soil sciences as well as pushing to a very ecological side of the fence.

The book itself has beautiful color pictures and diagrams and is well put together.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Zuni Too on Aug. 19 2010
Format: Paperback
Taking gardening and land stewardship to a whole new level, this book truly presents an entirely new paradigm for sustainable living.

The book picks up where bio-intensive gardening leaves off. If you're curious about permaculture, urban forests and sustainable life-styles, this is your chance to reach into the future, starting on a small urban or suburban property.

Hemenway gives deeper meaning to working with nature by exploring how She can help remedy the banes of residential lots: poor soil, bad drainage, and dependency on purchased water, chemicals and landscape materials. I wish I had discovered the book a long time ago. Read it, live it! Gaia's Garden: A Guide To Home-Scale Permaculture
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent book on how to implement Permaculture into your yard. Straightforward and clear with specific instructions. Great ideas and beautiful pictures. Teaches us how to lessen our impact on the Earth in an era of increasing concerns regarding GMOs, pesticide abuse, water resourcing, and food issues. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to know what is in the food they eat and does not like the urban dream of an unproductive, resource-dependent front lawn.
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