Book Review: Paradise Lot

Paradise-Lot1-682x1024If you spend much time in the permaculture realm, particularly in the Most Noble Kingdom of Food Forestry, you may start to get frustrated with your climate zone.

Time and time again, one pattern emerges: the tropics and subtropics beat the living daylights out of everywhere else. The best fruit trees, the best nitrogen fixers, the best perennial greens, the fastest growth…

The modern idea of a “food forest” may have originated with Robert Hart and his English garden, but as soon as the Australian crew got it, they went crazy with palms, mangoes, bananas, citrus, ice cream beans, sweet potatoes, avocados, etc.

It’s enough to make you look at your sad, slow-growing little apple trees and cry.

Fortunately, all is not hopeless. Eric Toensmeier, author of the excellent book Perennial Vegetables, recently released an entertaining look at how he and his friend Johnathan converted the small yard of their duplex in Massachusetts into a rich garden of edibles.

If you live anywhere north of Alabama and dream of perennial food systems, this book is crafted of pure inspiration.

Far from being a dry textbook, Paradise Lot is more of a story. Eric and Johnathan’s search for mates to share their dream… the interactions they shared with neighbors… the history of Eric’s dive into full-on plant geekiness and broader observations on why the accepted philosophies – even in permaculture – are not always correct… all are anchored by their growing garden in a depressed and cold urban neighborhood far from the lush vistas of the tropics.

Pick up a copy. It may not make you feel better about your poky apples, but it’ll certainly give you a hundred ideas on what you can plant around it while you wait.

About David The Good

David The Good is a naturalist, author and hard-core gardener who has grown his own food since 1984. At age five, he sprouted a bean in a Dixie cup of soil and caught the gardening bug. Soon after, his dad built an 8’ by 8’ plot for him and David hasn’t stopped growing since. David is the author of four books, writes a regular column for The Ag Mag in North Central Florida, is a Mother Earth News blogger and has also written for outlets including Backwoods Home, Survival Blog and Self-Reliance Magazine. You can find his books on Amazon here. David is a Christian, an artist, a husband, a father of seven, a cigar-smoker and an unrepentant economics junkie who now lives somewhere near the equator on a productive cocoa farm. Visit his daily gardening and survival blog here: The Survival Gardener And for lots more gardening info, click here and subscribe to his often hilarious YouTube channel.

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