Read to the end to find out how you can win a copy of Permaculture for the Rest of Us: Abundant Living on Less than an Acre by Jenni Blackmore.
Permaculture for the Rest of Us: A Review
To the uninitiated, “permaculture” may be an intimidating term.
Sure, I had heard of permaculture, but I never bothered figure out what it was. I assumed it required an in-depth knowledge of soil chemistry, a penchant for complicated mathematical calculations, and acre upon acre of farm land. I have none of those things. End of story.
So when I was given the opportunity to read and review Jenni Blackmore’s book, Permaculture of the Rest of Us: Abundant Living on Less than an Acre, I was intrigued.
Abundant living on less than an acre? Why, that sounds familiar. After all, I produce much of my own food on a 1.1 acre suburban lot and have been doing so for years. I garden. I raise chickens. Could it be? Could permaculture actually apply to me?
As it turns out, I’ve been practicing permaculture right here in Royal Oaks all along.
Like me, author Jenni Blackmore was applying permaculture principles at her home before she realized what she was doing. But Blackmore’s story of how she adopted a self-sufficient lifestyle is much more compelling than any anecdotes about my cozy little life in suburban Cedar Rapids.
A self-described “accidental permaculturalist,” Blackmore fell into self-sufficiency by necessity. As a single mom with a tiny budget, she moved to a less-than-hospitable island off the coast of Nova Scotia. When the cabin roof leaked, she collected rain water and melting snow in garbage cans to make up for a lack of indoor plumbing. That rudimentary water collection system gave her the idea to add a cistern to the basement of the home she was building. Faced with substandard soil and wanting to grow food, she gathered seaweed and fallen leaves to add organic matter to her vegetable plot. To rid the garden of a slug problem, she got ducks, whose eggs and meat became additional sources of food.
In Permaculture for the Rest of Us, Blackmore explains the concepts and principles of permaculture – essentially, developing a site that sustains itself and meets the needs of all its inhabitants – in an entertaining and accessible way. Reading more like a memoir than a how-to manual, the book explains such permaculture practices as building soil (OMG, did I just get a lesson in soil chemistry without even realizing it?!), raised bed gardening, and using a greenhouse to extend the growing season.
Throughout the book, Blackmore provides practical advice for everyone based on her personal experiences. Those new to gardening will appreciate the chapter dedicated to four fail-safe starter crops. Veteran vegetable gardeners will learn the benefits of integrating poultry to create a perfect closed-loop system in the garden. Others looking to up their growing game (that’s me!) will take inspiration from Blackmore’s tips on seed-saving.
The key takeaway from Permaculture for the Rest of Us? If Blackmore can live abundantly on her little piece of the earth, anyone can become at least a bit more self-sufficient wherever they may be. As Blackmore emphasized, there are no problems in permaculture, only creative solutions. Permaculture is a common-sense way of living and working in harmony with one’s surroundings so that each gives back to the other.
12 ways I am practicing permaculture and didn’t even know it:
- I compost kitchen waste to feed the soil
- The compost bin is made from recycled wood pallets.
- My chickens and garden form a loop – I give the chickens garden waste and they turn it into eggs for the household and compost for the garden.
- We don’t use chemicals in the garden or on the lawn. Instead, I pull dandelions and other weeds by hand and feed them to the chickens.
- The back third of the lot is timber, with wild fruit trees that feed the birds – and us. We use the wild plums and mulberries in cooking.
- We collect runoff from the roof in a rain barrel that we use to water the garden.
- I recycle things like toilet paper tubes and yogurt containers to use for gardening. Read about ten things that can be recycled for the garden.
- We use fallen trees from the timber in landscaping.
- We converted an existing structure – a fenced-in dog run – to make a chicken enclosure.
- We created garden beds in another existing structure – a tiered retaining wall.
- We plant flowers in the garden to attract pollinators and repel pests naturally.
- We use a little greenhouse tent in the garden to extend the growing season.
Living a Permaculture Life
So this is what permaculture looks like.
How do you live in harmony with your environment? What can you do to make your co-existence with the land more harmonious? Let Permaculture for the Rest of Us inspire you to greater self-sufficiency.
Note: I received two copies of Permaculture for the Rest of Us: Abundant Living on Less than an Acre in exchange for this review; however, all opinions expressed herein are my own.
Permaculture for the Rest of Us: A Giveaway
Enter up to three times between May 1 and 8, 2016 for a chance to win your own copy of Permaculture for the Rest of Us: Abundant Living on Less than an Acre by Jenni Blackmore.
The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. age 18 and older. No purchase is necessary. Each entry affords one chance to win. All entries must be received by 12:00 a.m. CDT on May 8, 2016. One winner will be selected at random and notified by email.
Don’t want to wait for the giveaway? Click on the image below to purchase Permaculture for the Rest of Us: Abundant Living on Less than an Acre from Amazon.com (affiliate link):