8 Best Permaculture Gardening Books
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Wondering which are the best permaculture gardening books?
You’re not alone. So many folks have asked me for book recommendations on this topic, and I’m excited to share my top picks with you in one convenient list of 8 best permaculture gardening books.
What exactly is permaculture, you may wonder.
The term “permaculture” came from two words: “permanent” + “agriculture”. If the term is new to you, I’ll offer one simple description: permaculture is a way of living with nature instead of fighting against it.
Of course, permaculture goes much deeper than that, but it’s a good place to start. Permaculture methods are always looking to mimic nature by creating diverse systems that minimize human input.
8 Best Permaculture Gardening Books
There are more books about permaculture than you might think, but many of them read like textbooks and can feel overwhelming for newbies. Below I’ve listed the ones I feel are easiest to understand and provide plenty of examples and how-tos. Each is a helpful resource to add to your personal library.
The first three books on the list are decidedly permaculture focused while the remaining five are more permaculture-ish. However, I wholeheartedly recommend each book to anyone looking to grow food organically, using permaculture methods.
Pssst! I think you’ll also love these books: 15 Must-Read Books for Real Foodies.
1. The Suburban Micro-Farm by Amy Stross
Amy’s book is probably my top recommendation for practical application of permaculture gardening in the suburbs and even for small farms and homesteads. She does an excellent job of breaking down permaculture principles into laymen’s terms and easy-to-follow instructions.
2. Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist by Michael Judd
I love Michael Judd’s specific recommendations in this easy-to-read permaculture book. He takes his vast expertise and packages it in a practical way that makes permaculture feel less intimidating and highly approachable.
3. Gaia’s Garden by Toby Hemenway
To be honest, I’ve struggled with this book. The entire scope of a permaculture mindset involves such a departure from the typical, compartmentalized approach to gardening and farming here in America. Permaculture concepts can feel complex, intimidating, and hard to attain.
I feel that weight when I read this book, and yet I know I need to continue to absorb its truths.
4. Folks, This Ain’t Normal by Joel Salatin
I debated about including this book because it does not address permaculture, per se. However, Joel Salatin is arguably the father of sustainable agriculture in the United States, and this book offers a fabulous introduction to permaculture concepts.
5. & 6. The New Organic Grower and The Winter Harvest Handbook by Eliot Coleman
Authored by one of the top authorities on organic vegetable gardening, these books are incredible resources for home and market gardeners.
I’ll admit to feeling overwhelmed and intimated by Eliot’s practices and recommendations. However, I’ve learned so much from reading and re-reading key sections of his books. And little by little, over time, as I’ve applied bits and pieces of his advice, I can see real progress.
When I read Eliot Coleman, I have to remind myself that he’s been doing this, on the market level, for DECADES. He is truly a pioneer in his field, every bit a scientist and artist.
I have to ask myself: what can I apply to my own situation? Even though I may never be a market gardener with greenhouses and an entire team of helpers, how can I benefit from his expertise?
Note: I also recommend The Four Season Farm Gardener’s Cookbook by Eliot’s wife Barbara Damrosch.
7. The Seasons on Henry’s Farm by Terra Brockman
What a lovely look at all four seasons on a sustainable market farm! Terra is a gifted writer and just happens to be the sister of Henry, a sustainable farmer. She lives and works on the farm and presents a beautiful glimpse of the ebb and flow of the food-growing life.
While this book isn’t exactly a how-to guide, it still provides plenty of practical application through Terra’s stories and musings. I highly recommend reading through once, and then re-reading along with the current seasons. Read the spring sections during spring, the summer parts during summer, and so forth. A real gem!
8. A Blessing of Toads by Sharon Lovejoy
I’m not sure that Sharon Lovejoy would consider herself a permaculturist, but she definitely takes the cake when it comes to both gardening and communicating. In my opinion, all gardeners and food-growers would benefit from reading this delightful book!
There are so many wonderful books about gardening! It’s hard to narrow it down to 8 best permaculture gardening books. I’d love to hear your favorites…please share them in a comment below!
More books about gardening and food-growing:
- 15 Must-Read Books for Real Foodies
- 11 Favorite Children’s Books About Seeds and Gardens
- Favorite Books for Homestead Kids
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