I can’t explain how much I love this book.
The author, Michael Judd, sent me a copy and asked me to take a look at it. This kind of thing happens with some regularity, so I have this huge stack of books that are already in my “read and review” pile. I know if you’re a nerd like me, this sounds like the best possible problem in the world, but the truth is I feel terrible about just not having the time to tell the world about every book that comes over my desk.
So now I try to set realistic expectations when people tell me they want to send me a book. “I have kind of a long list of books to review, but sure, send it to me. No promises,” I told Michael.
What arrived was the best Permaculture book for true beginners I’ve yet seen. Edible Landscaping With A Permaculture Twist isn’t a definitive guide to permaculture. It doesn’t get poetic about the philosophy of multi-systems care that underlies a Permaculture system. It does not ask you to draw a complex schematic of your home topography before you take shovel to soil.
Instead, it provides clear, actionable techniques that you can use to bring some easy-care Permaculture style into your garden. You know how sometimes authors tell you too much and then you get kinda intimidated and don’t know where to begin? This happens a lot in Permaculture writing because Permaculture includes, like, everything. All the things get balanced and thoughtfully considered in a thriving Permaculture design.
How do you narrow “everything” down into something a beginner can really grok? How do you boil the the complexity of system-stacking and layering and watershed-style irrigation management and cooperative plant guild design and more into something that makes a beginner say, “hey, that looks fun! I can do that!”
This book has done it.
Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist managed to demystify things that have left me confused for years – like how and why to build swales on the contour of your ground and the big picture overview of what to stick together for a happy fruit tree guild.
For the Permacurious beginner like me, a giant table full of every possible nitrogen fixing shrub doesn’t actually help me to understand how to create my own successful guilds. A picture, a basic “recipe” and a list of a few proven guild companions to start with is just right.
This book is full of cheerfully presented but dead-useful advice, illustrations and photos that really help to clarify key Permaculture techniques and make that system of garden design seem eminently do-able at any scale. I really feel like Michael has managed to strip out everything that didn’t need to be in a practical Permaculture primer and capture everything that did.
I am currently planning to rework the perimeter beds around my patch of lawn (soon to be eco-lawn!) into something a little more food-foresty. The chapter on Uncommon Fruits has been so helpful – I feel like someone else has given me the cheat sheet of what to plant.
So, all in all, a great introduction to Permaculture techniques that will be especially useful to the beginning Permaculturist and folks (like me) who prefer a hands-on approach to learning and just want to jump in and see what happens.
This book will give you the info you need to jump into Permaculture successfully without bogging you down in details you probably don’t need to worry about yet (when it comes time to select that perfect nitrogen fixing shrub, the entire internet is there for you).
Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist has a fun, you-can-do-this tone and the book itself is of good production quality, with full-color printed, gloss pages throughout. The fact that there are periodic cocktail recipes in the book doesn’t hurt my estimation of it, either.
To give you an idea of what’s covered the book, it’s a easy-reading 143 pages long and covers herb spirals, rainwater harvesting, swales and rain gardens, growing specialty mushrooms, food forests, uncommon fruits, fruit tree care and pruning, grafting, hugelkultur, earthen ovens, how to make cob bricks, and a few thoughts on creating high-margin products from your edible landscape to make a homestead life more financially feasible.
Michael, the author, is offering up three free copies of his book to readers of NW Edible. To enter to win, go like the Edible Landscaping with A Permaculture Twist page on Facebook (they post all kinds of good info on useful plants).
Then, come back here and comment on this post. Tell me what you’re most interested to learn about edible landscaping or permaculture and confirm that you like the Edible Landscaping page on Facebook. If you hate Facebook and are a social media conscientious objector, that’s fine too, just let me know.
Fine print: Open to US residents only due to shipping costs. One entry per person, additional entires will be disqualified. Three winners will be chosen. Each winner will receive one copy of Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist. Contest open until Wednesday, March 12th, 8 PM PST. Winners will be emailed and will have 24 hours to respond to claim their prize or another winner will be chosen.
If you are not a giveaway winner but want to get your hands on a copy of Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist, it’s available on Amazon (check out those reviews! I’m not the only one who loves this book!) or directly from the author. If you buy from Michael, he’ll sign your copy of the book and you’ll get the warm fuzzies of knowing more of your money is going directly to the work’s creator.
All images except cover shot courtesy Michael Judd, used with permission.3
Just liked the FB page!
My front yard is the next spot I plan to turn into edible gardens – I would love to use this book as a guide for designing and planting from the very start of the project.
Jason Sinclair says
I like the FaceBook page! Now I can get ideas for different plants sent to my info feed. As for the book itself, I really want to learn more about plant guilds and how I can make my small garden more productive and eco-friendly. Well, and all the unusual plants to try… 🙂
Kaitlin Jenkins says
I’m a fan on facebook. I’d love to learn more about edible landscaping that I can manage with apartment living
Chelsea W says
I love the idea of permaculture, but have no IDEA about how to actually implement it at my home…this book sounds like it would be great help to me.
I am thrilled to see this book. I admittedly have not bought a new gardening book in awhile. You get stuck with your existing library, and decide to live off info online. Saves money, too. But this idea of making permaculture accessible intrigued me. I went to a Wild Ones meeting once where the speaker was not hardcore on natives, knowing that getting folks to start with cultivars can lead to loving the real natives. That is a technique I use at the garden center where I work in Chicago.
So I liked the age and really LIKED the page! Great photos, info on plants to attract beneficial insects, info on how to build a rain garden (oft misunderstood by customers), and use of medicinals like borage for mulch.
I do garden consulting on the side to supplement the seasonal perennial sales work. I very much want to share this information with my clients, my colleagues, our customers, and garden club friends. Already I learned yarrow has even more benefits than I knew. I want to learn and share the love. Thanks!
I’m new to permaculture and agree about how philosophical most books are. I’m reading those too, but am thrilled to find a practical guide! Thanks for telling us about the book. I liked the facebook page and look forward to learning more there too. Thanks!
I would love a roadmap to create a more focused edible garden design in my yard! I also liked on facebook.
Liked their page…looks cool! Edible landscaping would be so nice…love the herb spirals and have wanted to try one for a while.
We’re getting ready to landscape our sloped back yard, with strategically-placed retaining walls and large pots. I’d love to incorporate some edible plants and herbs into our plans, but I need help figuring out which ones will work best. I liked the fb page. Pls pick me! 🙂
Jeff Ferriss says
I’m not on the facebook train but I love your blog and just bought a house with a very sloped backyard of grass. I’ve put my boxing gloves on and am about to get in the ring with the grass and the hill. I think this book would be a killer way to start. Keep up the great work girl!
Annette Knupp says
I am a transplanted New Englander, trying to learn how to grow vegetables in the desert.
Edible Landscaping with a permaculture twist will be added to my arsenol for the Battle against the Lawn!
Ghislaine Schwartz says
I’d love to learn how to incorporate at least some aspects of permaculture in my San Diego backyard -especially fruit tree guilds!
We live in a 1950s subdivision that used to be a golf course and did something radical — turned our front yard into a vegetable garden, much to the chagrin of traditional neighbors. I’m hoping our front yard will eventually become an example of sustainable urban gardening and wise water use that might inspire the many people who walk by. By coincidence, I just read Gaia’s Garden from the library and found it fascinating but too much to digest all at once, so Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist sounds perfect, and I’ve also liked his page. Thanks for the recommendation, Erica! I really enjoy your blog and think of you not only when outdoors gardening, but when spritzing homemade lemon/lavender cleaner around the house!
Heather Miller says
Im really interested in this book because my husband always has crazy ideas for our garden and I’d like to be able to tell him my opinion with some backup from a book like this. It would be amazing to have the knowledge I can gain from this book. I did like it on FB too. Thanks!!
I’m a beginner at permaculture and I currently rent so I can’t make many changes to my landscape, but I’m trying to do what I can a bit at a time. I would love to build an herb spiral this summer and this book would be a great resource to inspire that project.
Also, I liked them on facebook!
I did like the ELw/PT site on Facebook. I’m actually really interested in Permaculture but feel overwhelmed whenever I start to read about it, maybe this book would help get me started. My husband actually went over to Amazon and read all of the reviews and almost bought the book but then I stopped him by saying “Wait Honey, I might be able to win a copy”. So I’m hoping we’ll win and can use the book money for seeds. Thanks Erica and Michael for doing this.
Liked the Edible Landscape page. Would love to win a copy of the book! We have four generations living on a five acre farm. Always looking for ways to provide a more self sustainable life for my family 🙂
Lynette Confer says
I have a basic knowledge of permaculture, but lack the confidence to just dig in and give it a try as it can seem overwhelming. This book looks like just the thing to motivate and inspire me to slowly integrate permaculture into my existing (but in need of updating) gardens. Thank you so much for sharing info on this book and delving into this topic. I liked Edible Lanscaping on FB. Thanks again.
Anne Hoff says
Did the “like” on FB. Your earlier post on hugelkultur sparked my interest in permaculture – that’s what I’m most interested in right now to enable water conservation (Seattle city water costs make gardening slightly ridiculous but I still do it) and also see if the additional heat generated in the bed makes tomatoes more viable in the NW.
I liked the site on facebook and I’m interested in edible landscaping.
Mark Mellon says
Liked the fb page and would love to have a copy of the book
I am interested in herb spirals.
I liked on Facebook.
I am just beginning to turn my backyard into a vegetable garden intermixed with flowers, trees and shrubs. Just built my first wicking bed from half a food grade barrel and hope to do more. I love that this book sounds both inspiring and practical, and not weighted down with too much info.
I liked it on FB.
Thanks for hosting the giveaway.
B.E. Ward says
Sorry, no Facebook for me.. but this book sounds amazing!
I would love to be able to prove to my husband that food can go into all landscaping instead of just being relegated to a corner of the yard! I’ve “liked” Edible Landscaping…” on FB.
Lauren Fein says
I liked the Facebook page for this book and look forward to seeing posts from it! I have a small, urban back yard but I still think it could be made more useful- and there are thriving urban gardens already in abandoned lots. I think people from more crowded places especially need to learn more about this. It would be helpful, healing and more healthful for all of us here in the “urban jungle.” For myself, it would help me to be more self-sufficient, and to contribute toward a better future.
“Permacurious.” I like that term, and that’s me. I’m eager to know more about guilds and fruit trees. But my chief interest — and most daunting task — is finding perennial food plants for my humid zone 7b site. No time for Facebook. Best wishes!
Terri Estey says
This looks like the perfect book for me! We are moving into a new house soon and I am faced with starting my garden from scratch…only this time, I want to incorporate permaculture concepts, including hugaculture and swales, etc. Where to begin when I’m completely unsure how to go about making a swale? To be honest, I don’t even understand what it is completely. I only know that I want one! LOL! So I’ve liked the author’s Facebook page (can’t wait to go back and read through it all), and who knows? Maybe I’ll be lucky enough to win a copy of this book! 🙂
Kim Rudolph says
Last year I started studying permaculture principles and implemented some ideas: planted an “apple tree guild”, cover crops, no till gardening, leaf mold, etc. fun stuff and I would definitely love to learn more.
Teresa Wray says
I want to start Edible Landscaping and make a spiral herb garden but, get overwhelmed by my perfectionism….lol typical human! Mother nature just has this drop and grow success rate 🙂 My nephew has opened my eyes to the wonderful healing and encouragement that mother nature of NW offers with plants that grow close to each other naturally and that it is for our use. The dandelion, plantian and even the tough cleaver and chickweed is more than a weed to be pulled! Maybe, this book will assist me in getting ideas for cooperation instead of mission of pull and weed…
Kate Levin says
I love your blog! Just “liked” the Edible Landscaping With a Permaculture Twist Facebook page. I am super excited to read this book! We just moved into a new home and want to tackle the yard this season so the timing is perfect!
Thanks and keep up the great work.
I have wanted to an edible yard for years. But just didn’t know where to start. There are so many different wonderful plants. I have a feeling this book would help me get that start! We just moved onto new property and have an open canvas to paint with edibles!
I like the idea of permaculture, especially in my challenging environment, but get overwhelmed when I read up on it. This book sounds beginner friendly. I don’t do Facebook though so I couldn’t like their page.
Sherrill Dewberry says
I liked the Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist page and look forward to getting their posts. I’m especially interested in the herb spirals–both functional and attractive. Our local zoo has a demonstration keyhole garden that piqued my interest.
Megan Cain - The Creative Vegetable Gardener says
I’ve read a bunch of permaculture books and I agree with you, they are dense and overwhelming. I am looking for a new house right now (small house, BIG lot) and would like to integrate some permaculture into my new garden design. It’s hard to know where to start, so I am looking forward to this book’s easily digestible info.
Carly B says
I liked “Edible Landscaping with A Permaculture Twist” on FB, and am really interested in this book. I have been hearing about permaculture but have not found the few books at my local library on the subject to be very helpful for the beginner. I’d love to move beyond just my raised bed gardening.
Pick me! Pick me! I’ve been experimenting with native sourdough and desem bread, and I really need to build a cobb oven. I attended the ‘first bake’ of one built by grade school kids on Orcas Island one glorious day last Fall – how hard can it be? They bake pizzas made with their own garden ingredients – would never have thunk beet and potato pizza, but it was good. I think you could bake an old shoe using that technique and it would be delicious! Anyway, I’ve been using some permaculture thinking (from Australian YouTube videos) to solve garden/chicken problems, and I’m convinced it’s the way to go!
karen firnhaber says
This appears to be the most interesting and informative “how-to” book I’ve been looking for! Can’t wait to read it!
Oooh! This book looks fantastic! We recently bought a house and want to landscape in a smart and edible way. We’ve been exploring permaculture and we’re putting together our first (half-ass) hugelkultur garden bed this weekend. Wish us luck!
If you saw my yard, you would know I need this book!
I “liked” the FB page.
I liked his page on FB (not just bc you told me too either–I really like it!) and I think if I don’t win a copy, I will end up buying one. I’ve been really interested in hugelkultur, and we’ve already kind of jumped into growing edible mushrooms, but we don’t have a clue about what we’re doing!
My interests are to learn more about permaculture gardening and sustainability. The earthen ovens look interesting too.
I didn’t like the page on FB. I am not a fan of FB.
I liked the page! Sounds like a great book.
Thanks for your blog – I find it always useful and well written!
I don’t do Facebook, but I would like to do permaculture. This book sounds like it would give me a basic, non-overwhelming start! 🙂 Thanks!
Matt V says
I’ve always dreamed of building a pizza oven with basic materials like that and love the idea of this book in general. I don’t F-Book it at work (although I do northwest edible from time to time:) About to go home and like this page on facebook.
Matt V says
Neela G says
I liked the Facebook page, and I’m excited to read this book! My husband and I have just purchased our first home with a yard, and we are excited about our urban farm in progress. Some of the project we’ve planned that we would like more information on: creating a mini-orchard, hugelkultur, building with cob, creating an earthen oven, and growing edible mushrooms.
I want to be able to provide more for my family with edible landscape. I liked them on facebook.
Wendi Gale says
I liked the FB page (nice plant suggestions and pics)
the book looks like a great guide to backyard projects I can do, like the herb spiral!!
Jen Dunstan says
facebook name same as this entry. Working on our new garden and super excited to work with the land!