I received a pre-release copy of The Vegetable Gardener’s Guide to Permaculture and liked it very much for all that it is and everything that it is not. The information and writing is general, approachable, and easy to read.
If we place some of the permaculture books already on the market on a scale of 1 to 10 for readability and as an introduction to permaculture, starting with the heavy’s on the upper end of the scale: Mollison’s Designers’ Manual at 10 and Holmgren’s Permaculture: Principles and Pathways at 7. In the middle to lower end I’d lump in Hemenway’s Gaia’s Garden at, say, 5, and Peter Bane’s The Permaculture Handbook at 3. That leaves The Vegetable Gardener’s Guide to Permaculture firmly at a 1.
That’s the place we need a book on permaculture, and this book fits that need perfectly. This isn’t for the professional designer, or even someone who read some of the other titles mentioned. This book is to give to the masses, and start their way down the road of ecological design. The book to have on hand when talking before garden clubs or civic groups. Or, for me to give to my father when he asks me, again, what it is I do with my life.
Why do I say that? This is a gorgeous book with plenty of pictures I’d leave on my coffee table with a blend of gardening and design ideas throughout, including simple take away projects someone can try, that aren’t intimidating, expensive, or time consuming. There are lists of what to plants that includes plants I’d dare to say most folks have heard of and the ways to adapt them, and the other information, to different climates. The overview of design that lacks jargon or other inaccessible language, all while still keeping permaculture at the core. Through it all, Christopher’s personal story and journey are woven as a narrative that allow the reader to relate to him and his place in the world by removing the technical and including the human. From my interview with Christopher, a lot of work went into getting those results, but it’s an overwhelming success, and a worthy addition to a beginner’s library.
If this is your first exposure to Permaculture: buy this book.
If you know permaculture and want a way to share it with someone else, or you’ve read some of the other permaculture titles and shake your head going “huh, I don’t get it”, pick up a copy. It’s the right place for them, or you, to start.