This Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist Book Review provides information on Michael Judd’s book. The book has eight chapters. I outline each of the chapters below followed by my thoughts of the book as a whole.
The introduction chapter explains what edible landscaping is and why you would want it. This chapter also explains what permaculture is and how to give edible landscaping a permaculture twist.
Herb Spiral, The Ultimate Raised Bed
An herb spiral as explained by Michael is like a snail shell coming out of the ground to create microclimates and provide lots of planting space in a small area. This chapter explains what an herb spiral is, how to construct one and why you would want to construct one. He even gives some examples of what someone may want to put in an herb spiral.
Rainwater Harvesting, Swales & Rain Gardens
In this chapter Michael explains some of the ways to harvest and conserve water. He focuses on swales, which are a ditch on contour, to slow and stop the water to allow it to penetrate the land. An explanation is given on how to make and calibrate an A-frame level, how to design and dig a swale, and some concepts for dealing with raised beds, such as mulching and planting into them. The book also talks about rain gardens for capturing water and how to construct one and explains how to make a good soil mixture to put into the rain garden.
Fungi!! Growing Specialty Mushrooms
The fungi chapter covers several different ways of cultivating fungi and harvesting the fruit – the mushrooms. He covers a good deal of safety in this chapter, as you have to be careful and not eat any old mushroom. One of the best ways to be safe with mushrooms is to grow your own and this chapter gives you several ways to do this and several sources to order material from.
To quote Michael; “A Food Forest is a low maintenance gardening technique that mimics a woodland ecosystem but substitutes woodland species with edible trees, bushes, perennial vegetables, herbs, vines, and annuals.” In this chapter he also touches on sheet mulching, companion planting, and guilds.
Here you will find some of the great forgotten fruits of our area as well as some not from our area. The list includes persimmon, paw paw, hardy kiwi, mulberry, jujube, goumi, sea berry, gooseberry & currants, and cider apples. He teaches us how to prune various fruit trees at different stages of a trees life cycle, how to graft, and how and when to paint a tree.
Hugelkultur, Mounds of Fertility
Hugelkultur is a mound of wood with soil on top. The first year or two are not great to grow in, but after that there is added fertility and hydration in the soil available to plants. Some mounds are built on top of the soil and some are sunken in the ground.
Earthen ovens are better insulated than brick ovens allowing the heat to be used longer and more efficiently. This chapter explains how to make one of these and gives very good detailed instructions along with a lot of pictures. He even offers up a recipe for your first pizza!
I met Michael at the Mid-Atlantic permaculture convergence in August where he was the key note speaker. He was selling books there and I bought one. I went on a business trip the next week and read this book cover to cover and immediately wanted to build an earthen oven, herb spiral, and get some mushroom logs going.
This book is probably not for the career permaculturist. It is absolutely for someone who is just starting out in permaculture or any level of gardening. He explains permaculture concepts and actually all concepts in a very easy to understand way and does not drown you with unfamiliar technology and terminology, but you do walk away having learned an immense amount of new information.
Available on Amazon
Purchase this book on Amazon. As of this writing it is on sale at Amazon for just under $20.
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