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Sepp Holzer's Permaculture: A Practical Guide to Small-Scale, Integrative Farming and Gardening

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  881 ratings  ·  57 reviews
Sepp Holzer farms steep mountainsides in Austria 1,500 meters above sea level. His farm is an intricate network of terraces, raised beds, ponds, waterways and tracks, well covered with productive fruit trees and other vegetation, with the farmhouse neatly nestling amongst them. This is in dramatic contrast to his neighbors' spruce monocultures.In this book, Holzer shares t ...more
Paperback, 232 pages
Published April 11th 2011 by Chelsea Green Publishing Company (first published 2004)
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Average rating 4.36  · 
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Jan 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: food, gardening
Before I comment on the book I just have to say that I very much admire Sepp Holzer and his work. The man is obviously brilliant when it comes to permaculture and understanding how to make the most of natural systems. Because of this I really wanted to love this book. Unfortunately it fell a bit short for me. I was able to get some interesting information about what is possible in permaculture systems: fruit trees that need almost no yearly care, plants that feed other plants without addition of ...more
Mar 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Sepp Holzer's Permaculture is worth reading, but not owning. Despite the subtitle, most of Holzer's tips aren't really applicable to the small scale, unless by small scale you're comparing yourself to thousand acre factory farms. However, there are some intriguing and thought-provoking ideas in the book (many of which I covered on my blog --- just follow the link for highlights.) ...more
Janelle Pickett
Oct 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read, reread and then PURCHASED this book. I must respectfully disagree with some of the other reviews - a more careful read of Sepp Holzer's book will show that Permaculture is a belief system not a "tips & tricks" approach. I have successfully used his methods on a very small urban scale! My produce yields were exceptional this year, despite NOT WATERING, not one drop. Hugelkulture is simply amazing! and I am in a cold, dry, high altitude like Mr. Holzer's. The book is revolutionary. Read it ...more
May 19, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful book, yet maybe not as useful as I had hoped it to be.
As another reviewer mentioned, this book is vague and very precise at the same time. It zooms in at breeds of pigs and zooms out when I would rather have a closer look, for instance with parts about the raised beds. There is a lot of skipping about, going through stories on permaculture projects and loads of different topics flutter around here and there. Oh and this man definitely has a crush on large digging machines.
It is wonde
Apr 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone in the World!
Recommended to Kyle by: Paul Wheaton
Probably one of the most important books ever written. While some of the sections are light on details (I recommend supplementing your knowledge with a book like "Gaia's Garden" by Toby Hemenway), many other sections describe things in a way that leaves you thinking "Of course! Why didn't I think of that?!" Sepp's book describes broad scale ideas tremendously well, and you really get a sense of the impact even one of these sites could have on a landscape and a community. I would love to see what ...more
Mostadam Eco-Design
Nov 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Mostadam by: klatsoot
I put this book near Fukuoka's book in importance, Sepp Holzer is a real farmer before and after all, he took the harsh way to teach himself and prove it works and then teach others. We need more of these rebel, free actors and pioneer farmers. So far It's only Sepp holzer that have a book of Permaculture on his name and methods, it's understandable why.

a straight forward practical book just as you would expect from Sepp Holzer, many things explained in good amount of details. Invaluable experie
Aug 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If you want to see what can be done with permaculture design, this is an incredible start. Sepp's approach to sustainable living is unique and yet completely doable. Highly recommend this to anyone interested in sustainability, food-security, the environment, plants in general, defying the norm, alternative living. Best part about Sepp is that he only writes from experience and with no nonsense, as a reader and someone extremely interested in Permaculture I felt a complete trust.

Jun 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book and will be adding it to my "should buy" list, which is really small because i'm cheap and i love the library. I tried to get his other book, The Rebel Farmer, but the library checked and it's out of print and they can't get it. :(

He does a great job of explaining how things work in conjunction with each other and gives good examples of stuff i really want to try!!!
Mar 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Loved it - every single page. I have never taken longer to read such a short book. This was jam-packed with great advice and workable ideas. It is now tattered, tabbed, and highlighted extensively. One of the most shocking things was the number of plants I have in my garden, that Mr Holzer uses in his gardens at such high elevations in Austria! I would love to visit the Krameterhof and learn from this incredibly knowledgable man.
David Koblos
Oct 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A really good example of the author's personal experiences designing his farm according to Permaculture principles in the high alpine country of Austria. It features many things, among others raised beds, fruit trees, animals, structures, as well as soil and water, all with exciting examples.
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gardening
Good content from a guy who know's his stuff. I wish it was better organized/more dense
Jean-marie Prevost
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gardening
Really enjoyed this one. One of the rare author to be perfectly honest about both the advantages but also the limits of permaculture.

My only complaint would be that the author is obviously working at a scale far far beyond what I can do in my garden, but it's not really an issue about the book so much as it not being really targeted at home gardeners.

Still lots of very interesting info and many overarching patterns that can be easily applied at any scale.
Jul 30, 2018 rated it liked it
The subtitle for this book is a bit misleading. A more accurate subtitle may have been "An Overview of Techniques used on The Krameterhof". There is a lot of great information in this book, and great concepts to explore, but the guide doesn't go into great detail of how to apply the techniques listed, nor into the permaculture design process. There is a detailed index at the end which will make looking for specific ideas to explore easily accessible.
Jane G Meyer
Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Such great information (read while stranded in the Dallas/FW airport!), explained relatively well, with some illustrations that helped visualize some of his thoughts. Just wish there had been a little more for the home gardener--and thoughts about gardening in other climates. Overall a great, inspiring read.
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sustainability
I really enjoyed this book, and look forward to putting some of it's recommendations into practice.

A great balance of philosophy / theory, practical hands-on guidance, and personality / humor.

Essential reading for anyone who wants to grow their own organic foods sustainably and profitably.
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Best "gardening" book I've read so far. Conceptual rather than detail oriented, this book gives a lot of insight into the workings of natural processes, and how they can be turned to your advantage in managing a landscape.

Mike Creuzer
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful inspiration.

An eye opening read about growing food in places most would consider impossible. A wonderful inspiration. I hope to put much of this to use in the Appalachian foothills with 400 feet of elevation change.
Aug 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Informative. Sepp Holzer is a very knowledgable man regarding permaculture practices, though this book rambles a bit and assumes the reader has permaculture experience.
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting permaculture read.
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful resource for understanding and how to begin permaculture on your own. It was informative but not stuffy, approachable and easy to read
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Practical advice for when I become a farmer
Veronika Bond
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A MUST READ for anybody who wants to develop their own way of growing an edible landscape.
Oct 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Great for inspiration. For specific implementation, not particularly relevant to my Alabama shade-tree yard.
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
While I don't necessarily agree with everything he says, there was quite a lot of information that I gleaned from his work and experiments.

Most of my disagreements, I suppose, come from simply having to be aware of different plants that can or should not be used (and not using ones that are considered invasive in Ohio) regardless of whether they would be "good soil builders". Invasive species are a pain to get rid of.

However, despite my not agreeing with absolutely everything, there is enough t
Harry Wykman
May 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: permaculture
'Sepp Holzer's Permaculture' is the work of a man of unique sensitivity and imagination. Holzer has combined a lifetime of practical experience with clarity of expression and intellect to produce a book which will satisfy a practically-minded farmer or gardener as well as the student of agroecological design. With gentle strength, Holzer would make designers and practicioners of us all and entrust to us neither task unless we join him in the school of nature.

He makes us want to join him in that
Sep 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This summer, I read Sepp Holzer's Permaculture: A Practical Guide to Small-Scale, Integrative Farming and Gardening by Sepp Holzer. Published in 2004, this book could be found in several genres including gardening and nonfiction. The author discusses his farm in the mountains of Austria and how he works with the climate to grow food. The theme of this book is permaculture gardening and sustainability and how to use it in your own garden. In this book, Sepp Holzer talks about how to design a perm ...more
Aug 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: food
Sepp Holzer is a pioneer in a lifestyle that is finally taking off in today's modern society: self-sufficiency. This practical guide is an amazing source of information and a testament to a man who simply would not listen to others concerning what can and cannot be done. Holzer has grown crops and raised livestock in areas that most of us would consider impossible.

What makes this book brilliant is not the writing style or literary significance, but the content and the historical significance. S
Beth Halseth
Feb 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book, it really challenged some of my current mindsets about what we could grow here by creating small micro climates.
I had read it with a desire to find a way to be able to scythe through the summer, which I discovered.
What I unexpectedly gleaned was about his way of pig raising which has brought about new changes that will save us feed and make happier pigs. We are not ready for whole families together, for a number of reasons, but allowing any of them to remain outside
David Albert
Apr 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. This guy's whole deal is creating self-sustaining, resilient ecosystems on his farm. He doesn't coddle his plants or animals artificially. Rather, he treats them very well by providing nature-inspired care and by ensuring that his plants and livestock are hardy, well suited to their environment, and not in need of excessive care from humans.
I'd love more details about everything he does, and any slight modifications needed to apply his methods elsewhere (he's on a mountain top). Still
Betsy Dion
Aug 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Sepp Holzer is a visionary, and I love his creativity. He took over his parents' farm at a young age, and by observing nature and using unconventional growing practices he is able to profitably grow a variety of crops at high altitudes. He loves his land, his plants, and his animals, and his integrated approach results in a flourishing of life and beauty. Many of his techniques are not applicable for my current situation, but his method of closely observing nature would be a benefit to any farme ...more
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