Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, 2nd Edition

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Chelsea Green Publishing, May 19, 2009 - Gardening - 328 pages

The first edition of Gaia’s Garden sparked the imagination of America’s home gardeners, introducing permaculture’s central message: Working with Nature, not against her, results in more beautiful, abundant, and forgiving gardens. This extensively revised and expanded second edition broadens the reach and depth of the permaculture approach for urban and suburban growers.

Many people mistakenly think that ecological gardening—which involves growing a wide range of edible and other useful plants—can take place only on a large, multiacre scale. As Hemenway demonstrates, it’s fun and easy to create a “backyard ecosystem” by assembling communities of plants that can work cooperatively and perform a variety of functions, including:

  • Building and maintaining soil fertility and structure
  • Catching and conserving water in the landscape
  • Providing habitat for beneficial insects, birds, and animals
  • Growing an edible “forest” that yields seasonal fruits, nuts, and other foods

This revised and updated edition also features a new chapter on urban permaculture, designed especially for people in cities and suburbs who have very limited growing space. Whatever size yard or garden you have to work with, you can apply basic permaculture principles to make it more diverse, more natural, more productive, and more beautiful. Best of all, once it’s established, an ecological garden will reduce or eliminate most of the backbreaking work that’s needed to maintain the typical lawn and garden.


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Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture

User Review  - Book Verdict

Touting the message that permaculture works with nature, Hemenway's revised edition expands into urban permaculture. With tables, charts, and images. (LJ 9/1/01) Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - tess_schoolmarm - LibraryThing

This is the "perfect" gardening book. The author's premise is that gardens should be an extension of nature, and serve nature, not just some "beds" genetically created to cover space. There are templates given for different types of gardens with species specific reccomendations. Read full review


Introducing the Ecological Garden
A Gardeners Ecology
Designing the Ecological Garden
Bringing the Soil to Life
Catching Conserving and Using Water
Plants for Many Uses
Bringing in the Bees Birds and Other Helpful Animals
Creating Communities for the Garden
Growing a Food Forest
Permaculture Gardening in the City
Pop Goes the Garden
A Sampling of Useful Plants

Designing Garden Guilds

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About the author (2009)

Toby Hemenway was the author of the first major North American book on permaculture, Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, as well as The Permaculture City. 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 taught permaculture and consulted and lectured on ecological design throughout the country, and his writing appeared in magazines such as Whole Earth Review, Natural Home, and Kitchen Gardener. Toby passed away in 2016.

Visit his web site at

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