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Edible Forest Gardens, Volume 1: Ecological Vision and Theory for Temperate Climate Permaculture
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Edible Forest Gardens, Volume 1: Ecological Vision and Theory for Temperate Climate Permaculture

4.45  ·  Rating details ·  621 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Edible Forest Gardens is a groundbreaking two-volume work that spells out and explores the key concepts of forest ecology and applies them to the needs of natural gardeners in temperate climates. Volume I lays out the vision of the forest garden and explains the basic ecological principles that make it work. In Volume II, Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier move on to practical ...more
Hardcover, 378 pages
Published July 1st 2005 by Chelsea Green Publishing Company
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Average rating 4.45  · 
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Aaron
Jul 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: gardeners, farmers, or those with an interest in sustainable agriculture
Volume 1 of this series of two textbooks describes the theory behind permaculture design in the temperate Northeastern United States. The implications of this kind of permaculture design are tremendous; applying them can result in self-fertilizing, soil building, low maintenance ecosystems where just about everything is edible. Once an initial inputs of fertilizer, soil amendments and biological cultures are applied, a mid-succession forest can establish itself in approximately four years.
This
...more
Brooks
Feb 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who like forests and eating
greatest resource ever on farming the forest. integrating this with livestock is my current life mission. i love biological systems.
Lindu Pindu
Jul 19, 2011 rated it liked it
It's a textbook. It's not fun. But it taught me a couple things. On to the practical side of things (Vol II)! ...more
Jessie
Apr 01, 2013 rated it liked it
This book is really more like an ecology textbook that happens to pertain to forest gardens. If you know ecology, just skip to the second volume.
David Koblos
Apr 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Highly detailed and theoretical, this book is by no means an easy reading, though the authors seemingly tried to avoid a lot of technical speech. Still, in order to learn and understand its information one should put these ideas into practice.
Jonah
Jan 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
there are two volumes, both great!
Matt Richads
May 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Essential reading for anyone seriously considering a forest garden or food forest.
Felicity Fields
Aug 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Every book on forest gardens references Edible Forest Gardens by Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier. Published in 2005, I'm amazed that this book is still referenced everywhere 15 years later.

It's A LOT of theory, some of it useful, some of it not as much. I really enjoyed the chapter in what goes on underground, and found the chapter on social structures and succession theories to be a real slog.

The writing isn't too pretentious - the authors (or their editor!) know when to throw in a joke and com
...more
Amy
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
For temperate climate growers and permaculture practitioners, there is not a more comprehensive source on food forest ecology and creation. If you want to design like a pro, this 2-volume set has everything you need.
Justin
Oct 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gardening
Very well researched, but far above my level/out of my scope as a beginning/intermediate gardener.
Kate
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Extremely informative book about the building blocks of Permaculture! Looking forward to exploring the planning information in volume 2.
Paige
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An incredible, easy-to-read introduction to permaculture food forests. I highly recommend this book!
Brett Anderson
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: permaculture
"Our biggest mistake is that we see ourselves as separate from the natural world." - Dave Jacke, Edible Forest Gardens, Volume 1
...more
Heidi
Sep 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Indispensable guide for anyone wanting to learn about growing their own food forest. I loved the variety of information, from diagrams to case studies.
Faith
Jun 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I actually read this hefty book (and it's second volume) cover to cover. I found it fascinating. ...more
John
Dec 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
What we have is no less than the beginning of an adventure, explicitly stated. That adventure is to see our habitats become habitats, restoring our dwellings to gardens in the shape of forests. The great pleasure of this adventure is that it can really be any of ours.

This book is the first of two volumes; between the two it is the considerably slighter by page count. With color illustrations, photographs, and watercolor touches, it also seems to be the prettier. Other comparisons will have to wa
...more
Benjamin
Jun 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The permaculture bible for the humid temperate zones of the world. Covers a diverse battery of the relevant topics from soil biology, to biological evolution, but mostly ecology.
Volume 1 is the design theory and lists of things to consider and helpfully useful plant species. Also covers common mistakes such as packing plants as close as possible.
On to volume 2, the practical how-to.

Unfortunately, I live just outside the forest zones on the prairie, so I'm waiting for the work at the Land Inst
...more
Mostadam Eco-Design
Nov 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: farming
ABSOLUTELY RECOMMENDED.

A book, that makes you want to write books, the quality of research, the objectiveness that is emerging from a real need to learn, instead of making clear facts that supports specific agendas. Asking most if not all of the questions needed about aboveground ecology, underground ecology, Plant's communal relationships and the development of ecosystems over time is just right. It's an intensive book, full of information...

A book that is eye opening and focus sharpening for a
...more
jess
Mar 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010, growing
This book is essentially a text book that brings together forest ecology, sustainability and edible landscape design. There is a good overview of a lot of the biology and ecology of creating low-maintenance, self-sustaining gardens. I know Volume 2 has more design and practice, so I can't wait to read it. Volume 1 has a a handy list of the top 100 plants for an edible forest, sorted by each plant's best environment (upper canopy, mid-story, shrubs, vining groundcovers, etc) in addition to all th ...more
Brandon
Feb 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: permaculture
I should have annotated this a long time ago -- both of these are reference materials a lot more than educational. For theory and systems concepts the first volume is essentially a longer and more detailed version of Gaia's Garden.

However, if you are looking for lists of plants and what characteristics they have to fit into a permaculture guild, this is the place to be for midwestern USA specifically and temperate regions in general.

Unfortunately, data tables are paper only. I already spend too
...more
Chris
May 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I got this book (and its companion volume Edible Forest Gardens: Ecological Design And Practice For Temperate-Climate Permaculture (Edible Forest Gardens)) for information about forest gardening in the north east. As I read it (and it's a surprisingly easy and enjoyable read for what is essentially a text book) I learned a huge amount about forest ecology.

These two volumes contain a wealth of theory and practical information.
...more
Marijan Šiško
Mar 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was really excellent book, as well as its sequel. The only reason I didn't give it maximum number of stars is it's north American focus. Wish someone wrote something like this centered on Europe. ...more
Rodney
Oct 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
An excellent and thorough guide to the topic of Forest Gardening (FG). Lots of theory behind concepts of FG are presented and some practical examples are given. I'm looking forward to reading the second volume and redesigning my yard. ...more
Kim
Dec 12, 2007 rated it really liked it
Loaded with information, a great reference book to have in the library.
Susan
Mar 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This blew my mind. So many ideas, so much to think about, so incredibly densely packed with information. I think I'll be re-reading this for years before it all soaks in. ...more
Josh
Feb 02, 2009 rated it liked it
This book is really good. It is a very informative book and I feel like every page or so I learned something new. That said, the material can be a little dry at times.
Crystal-lee-m
Feb 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Very good ideas for planning your own garden. Detailed sample plans and explanations about types of plants for different purposes in the garden/ecosystem.
Brian
Jul 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
I've just read and really enjoyed Volume I, Vision and Theory. It was not the re-hashing of drylands permaculture theory that I expected. I'm looking forward to Volume II. ...more
David Bilbrey
Nov 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Articulate, Illuminating. Can wait to read more!
Marc Anderson
Jan 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Good introduction to the subject.
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