Permaculture Part 1—Inspiration to Change the Way I Garden

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I discovered permaculture last spring when I stumbled upon the memoir Paradise Lot, by Eric Toensmeier and Jonathan Bates. The book is aptly subtitled “Two plant geeks, one-tenth of an acre and the making of an edible garden oasis in the city.” This book is my inspiration—if these guys can grow 800 pounds of food a year on a tiny lot in suburban Massachusetts, why can’t I do the same on two acres?

Eric and Jonathan began their project with significantly more agriculture and horticulture experience than I—they were already well-educated and experienced in the field. But what they offer their readers when detailing their 10+ years in Holyoke, MA, is the encouragement to take nothing and turn it into paradise. They took a dilapidated property with poor soil, toxic fill, and no vegetation other than Norway maples (as well as the resulting shade from the trees’ canopies) and turned…

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