Permaculture for the Rest of Us: Abundant Living on Less than an Acre by Jenni BlackmorePermaculture for the Rest of Us: Abundant Living on Less than an Acre by Jenni Blackmore

Permaculture for the Rest of Us: Abundant Living on Less than an Acre

byJenni Blackmore

Paperback | October 1, 2015

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Adventures on the road to real-world self-sufficiency

Many of us want to increase our self-sufficiency, but few have access to the ideal 5 sunny, gently-sloping acres of rich, loamy, well-drained soil. Jenni Blackmore presents a highly entertaining, personal account of how permaculture can be practiced in adverse conditions, allowing anyone to learn to live more sustainably in a less-than-perfect world. With a rallying cry of "If we can do it, you can too," she distills the wisdom of 20 years of trial and error into a valuable teaching tool.

The perfect antidote to dense, high-level technical manuals, Permaculture for the Rest of Us presents the fundamental principles of this sometimes confusing concept in a humorous, reader-friendly way. Each chapter focuses on a specific method or technique, interspersing straightforward explanations with the author's own experiences. Learn how to successfully retrofit even the smallest homestead using skills such as:

  • No-till vs. till gardening, composting and soil-building
  • Natural pest control and integrating small livestock
  • Basic greenhouse construction
  • Harvesting, preservation and more.

Ideal for urban dreamers, suburbanites and country-dwellers alike, this inspirational and instructional "encouragement manual" is packed with vibrant photographs documenting the author's journey from adversity to abundance.

Jenni Blackmore is a farmer, artist and writer who built her house on a rocky, windswept island off the coast of Nova Scotia almost twenty-five years ago and has been stumbling along the road to self-sufficient living ever since. As a successful micro-farmer she produces most of her family's meat, eggs, fruit and vegetables, in spite...
Title:Permaculture for the Rest of Us: Abundant Living on Less than an AcreFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:192 pages, 9 × 6.02 × 0.48 inShipping dimensions:9 × 6.02 × 0.48 inPublished:October 1, 2015Publisher:New Society PublishersLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0865718105

ISBN - 13:9780865718104


Rated 3 out of 5 by from A good introductory story about permaculture I am a semi-beginner gardener and grabbed this book because I am in the phase of learning as much as possible. I would say the book is a good, encouraging read that introduced the idea of permaculture to me and made me curious to look into it further. The book reads like a novel. It is an easy read that will not hurt your head with information overload. I did learn several new things. My criticism is that at times the book is a bit disorganized and jumps between ideas. Also, because the book is written more like a novel, unless you bookmarked interesting information as you read, it will be hard to go back later and pinpoint specific information you were looking for. I would recommend this book as a decent starting place for someone who just 'wants to get a feel for' gardening or permaculture. If you are looking for manual-like details on individual crops, animal care, permaculture design etc. then I would look elsewhere.
Date published: 2017-05-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great for Both New and Seasoned Gardeners As a long-time gardener who began learning about building a food forest and permaculture only a few years ago, Blackmore’s book intrigued me. I’ve passed on many books over the years. Some contain information I already know. Others contain gardening methods I no longer wish to use. But now and again, I find a book like Blackmore’s that fills a void on my library shelf, one that promises I will find something new and useful between its covers. I was not disappointed. Blackmore opens the book by writing, “Permaculture is my passion and, as with all passions, it dominates my lifestyle here on this small island just east of Halifax, Nova Scotia.” She continued by voicing a concern many Canadians share, including me: “With the possibility of a food crisis looming in the near future, I believe it is essential to produce as much of our own food as possible.” Even if there is never a food crisis, the price of real food is rising drastically while processed food is set at a lower cost. Besides price, there are other issues with real food sold at the grocery stores. For our health’s sake, we need to grow a portion of our own food because many of us can’t afford to buy the required amount of healthy food to feed our families. “My purpose here is to write an encouragement manual, an if we can do it then for certain you can kind of book,” writes Blackmore. “A book that might save others from getting bogged down by the same mistakes we made and which simplifies and elevates permaculture methodology to its rightful status.” I believe Blackmore accomplished this. From the first page, people new to gardening will find useful information to guide them in planting their first garden bed. She talks about healthy soil, compost and pest control (such as slugs). The no-till concept is not new to me. I discovered its benefits a few years ago, but Blackmore explains it well for the homesteader’s garden. Information on when to plant, how to grown, when to harvest and how to gather seeds for certain plants is discussed. It gives a launching point to learn more about other plants other gardeners may want to grow in their gardens. One new (to me) and fascinating gardening technique Blackmore explains is hugelkultur. Hinted at by its name, this gardening method has an Austro-German origin. I won’t give away the details. You’ll have to read the book for that. Let’s just say, I’ll be trying this method in the near future. Blackmore has a section on greenhouses, a structure I’m planning for my homestead. I’ve looked at many designs over the past few years, and although I’m satisfied with what I plan, it’s always good to read more on the subject. A greenhouse is a big commitment, one not to be taken lightly. It needs to be in the right spot, built the right size to accommodate the gardener, and thought must be given to alternate heat if the gardener plans to either extend the growing season or grow year-round. Permaculture is about combining many systems in a natural way to ensure they work together smoothly. Few garden books I’ve read discussed the workings and melding together of the many intricate aspects of homesteading. This book does. Gardening is the focus, but Blackmore brings animals—goats, ducks, chickens, pigs—into the equation. Let’s face it, they are an important component in that equation and one supports the other. A pumpkin grown can be fed to the chickens who produce manure and soiled hay for the compost which in turn creates wonderful soil for the garden to grow those pumpkins. Unless a gardener wants to import compost or manure from another site, they will have to create their own. If they don’t, the production of compost from kitchen waste, dry leaves and various other compostable items will be slow. Producing compost (in essence creating soil) is a must to create new gardens and to enrich old gardens. I’ve been doing this with the help of animals for five years, and I’ve been able to make soil instead of importing it. When you import soil, you may also introduction pests and weeds that don’t currently exist on your property. For obvious reasons, you want to avoid this. This book will appeal to gardeners (both new and seasoned) who want to learn more about permaculture and living close to the rhythm of nature. It will be of particular interest to those living with four defined seasons on the east coast of North America. The basics are covered along with some new ideas that I have seen discussed amongst gardeners I know.
Date published: 2016-10-26

Read from the Book

- 20170801

Table of Contents


1. Slug Wars or How it All Began
2. The Nitty Gritty on Building Dirt
3. To Dig or Not to Dig
4. Green Thumbing It 101
5. Easy Starter Crops
6. What? And When?
7. Gotta Getta Greenhouse
8. Warm Wussies
9. Quack, Cluck and Gobble
10. Ethics and Principles
11. Harvest Time: The Reason for it All!

Suggested Reading
About the Author

Editorial Reviews

"Permaculture is personal journey to a more sustainable, earth regenerating lifestyle. In Permaculture for the Rest of Us, Jenni Blackmore skillfully weaves a thorough explanation of permaculture principles and practices into her own story of returning to the land. With wit and charm she draws on her experiences homesteading in a challenging climate. She deftly illustrates how she and her family have truly created abundance while embracing the natural world around them. The result is a wealth of information, advice and inspiration." — Darrell Frey, Author of Bioshelter Market Garden: A Permaculture Farm "Self-reliance is a choice today, and a difficult one, but it won't be a choice in the future. Jenni Blackmore writes with heart about her family's crawl toward living in harmony with nature. Sharing her hard-won lessons in permaculture with verve and intimate warmth, the author reveals the human side of building a new way of life: food, seeds, animals, weather and setbacks. Genuine, pithy, and filled with practical tips to encourage and guide the reader, the book also expands our knowledge of coastal ecosystems." — Peter Bane, author, The Permaculture Handbook: Garden Farming for Town and Country and publisher, Permaculture Activist magazine "A welcome breath of fresh air, Jenni Blackmore's Permaculture for the Rest of Us is exactly what the title suggests: an enthusiastic, user-friendly guide to ecologically sensitive homesteading, using permaculture principles, for those who don't happen to have the money and opportunity to buy five or ten acres of perfect farmland. For those who want to grow their own food without pesticides or the other problematic features of industrial agriculture — and these days, it's hard to think of a more useful step toward personal sustainability — this is an excellent guide." — John Michael Greer, author, Green Wizardry: Conservation, Solar Power, Organic Gardening, and Other Hands-On Skills from the Appropriate Tech Toolkit "As Canadians change their approach to the garden, Jenni Blackmore is leading the way. It is not that nature has changed but our attitude towards her is. Blackmore shows us how to embrace the lead that nature provides us with, in an approach that is as much storytelling as it is a guide to self-sufficiency. I am not sure if this book is more useful in the magazine rack, next to the almanac where I can pick it up and gather some nuggets of knowledge that will make me a better gardener, or next to my fat, cushioned reading chair where I enjoy a good story. We need a special category for this book." — Mark Cullen, "For most, permaculture can seem like a complex philosophy too daunting to make part of our everyday reality. In Permaculture for the Rest of Us , Jenni Blackmore masterfully distills the concepts and principles of permaculture in such a way that the reader is convinced to put theory into practice. Both optimistic and realistic, Permaculture for the Rest of Us is a rare combination that provides both the how and why of creating a simpler life while fostering a deeper connection with nature, with the Earth, and with each other." — Av Singh, Just Us! Centre for Small Farms