Free Book Giveaway – The Ultimate Guide to Permaculture


I’ve learned much about permaculture after reading a very interesting book. Permaculture is a method of growing food and building homes in a manner that works with nature instead of against it.

Author Nicole Faires has written a hands-on guide that takes the reader through every step of the permaculture process. The book is divided into nine sections:

  • Overview
  • Energy
  • Water
  • Homes and shelter
  • Gardens
  • Cooking and preserving
  • Zones
  • Community
  • Plants

Faires lays out a common-sense approach for sustainable living, and while some of the ideas aren’t applicable to those of us who live in urban areas (how to build an underground house or breed cattle, for example), the ideas are nonetheless fascinating and interesting to read.

Maybe because it snowed again in Colorado yesterday I’ve been in full-out garden dreaming mode, so the gardening sections in this book were especially interesting to me. Faires includes an extensive list of plants to consider for your own homestead, from perennial food crops to interesting edibles like JuJuBe and quinoa.

She also includes a very useful 16-page chart of companion planting ideas. The idea is to group plants in communities or guilds, taking advantage of their growing tendencies and the way they use nutrients, so that the plants support each other. It’s a concept that seems so simple and smart – but one which, admittedly, I’ve rarely considered other than in terms of aesthetics.

If you’re interested in learning more about self-reliance and living off the land, the book is packed with ideas, illustrations, photos and tips for topics like worm farming, designing a greenhouse, conserving water, extending the growing season, cold storage, building a chicken coop, composting, preserving food, finding your right career and much more.

The Ultimate Guide to Permaculture is 330 pages and retails for $16.95 USD. Skyhorse Publishing has generously provided a complimentary copy for one lucky reader.

To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment below and answer the question “What is one step you would like to take towards sustainability or self-sufficiency in the next 18 months?” The giveaway closes next Tuesday March 12 at midnight MST, and is open to US residents.


The signature for Eliza Cross

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

Free Book Giveaway – The Ultimate Guide to Permaculture

  • kent in KC


    This year my main goal is to produce “Goldilocks” compost. Real living rich compost is perhaps the most important permaculture ingredient. I’ve been attempting and failing for years…it turns out putting a bunch of debris in a pile doesn’t do the trick. So this year I’m following Geoff Lawton’s compost guide (google Geoff Lawton 18 day compost). The Goldilocks reference means getting the right balance of carbon, nitrogen, air and water. Turning the pile often and getting it up to the right temp. I’ve learned one cubic yard of good compost is enough to grow all the food for one person for one year. Come on spring!

  • Jess

    I want chickens and a compost pile.

  • Over 1/3 of all energy is lost in transmission and distribution. I am designing my own photovoltaic system to provide for my home’s energy needs. I am also keeping water on site for irrigation, washing, etc instead of pumping it to my house then wasting the grey water by putting it into the sewer system.

  • Jenny

    We just moved into a “new” old house and have already started planting our edible garden! We make our own cleaning supplies and shop almost excusively second-hand. Now for the BIG challenge… how to tactifully ask my in-laws to stop giving us so much stuff! Help! : )

  • Tina Sharp

    I grow produce (strawberries, tomatoes and zucchini) on the balcony of my condo. In the next 18 months, I hope to have sold the condo so I can buy a home with a little land and add chickens, a larger garden, and be able to compost. Right now I’m working on becoming debt free, recycle and reduce my use of/purchase of plastics.

  • Debra Lee

    Definitely planting my own vegetables and canning them!

  • Kim Sneden

    i would love to grow more of my own food.

  • Julie

    I will have my first garden this year, and I would like to learn to can.

  • Bobbie

    I have limited space, but I am going to work on a small patio vegetable garden.

  • Jenniifer

    I am not officially entering because my husband and I are permaculture educators and designers and the book would be better off in the hands of someone just starting out, but I wanted to say how exciting it is that more people are taking an interest in permaculture and making choices to be more sustainable. It is very heartening. I applaud all of your efforts. Each of us is part of the solution.

  • Susan

    I would like to add two new raised beds to plant kale, lettuce and more.

  • Terri

    I’m getting ready to attend a permaculture design course. We have a large garden, chickens,and bees. I am helping develop a new community garden and teaching some basic gardening classes. My latest experiment is learning to make our own body care products. This is such a fun way to live.

  • Karissa

    What a fantastic book! I’d like to turn more of our lawn into a food garden and replace any dying ornamental bushes and trees into fruit trees.

  • Martha

    We’re trying to cut down on purchased cleaning products and trying to make more of our own–including homemade bug deterrents. But I would also like to know what else to plant that might encourage good bugs.

  • Jane Bloss

    I would like to start container gardening since I live in an apartment.

  • domestic diva

    We’re going to try (again!) to successfully grow some of our own produce this year. hopefully we harvest more than last year.

  • Joni

    I would like to plan a garden where there is always something to harvest at different times throughout the year by using my garden space to its fullest advantage.

  • aurora mattison

    starting a stockpile.

  • joyce

    I would like to grow more food for the family. Also, I have thought about adding some laying hens.

  • Rachel Steelman

    We’re living with relatives at the moment, but I hope we’ll be in a position to find a place of our own this year. When we do, I really want to start a vegetable garden, and my husband has been learning about do-it-yourself solar panels as an alternative energy source. In the meantime, I want to do a lot more sewing/mending/upcycling, and get myself out of the disposable clothing mindset.

  • Mrsfarmerjen

    I am working on producing more of my family’s food: this year I am going to grow our chicken flock and get a bred heifer. I’m also expanding our garden to include more fruits like blueberries, strawberries and raspberries.

  • Diane Boeck

    I want to make two rain barrels to water my garden. I have three raised bed gardens and that would help with my watering needs.

  • Melissa D

    We are installing rain barrels this spring and enlarging our garden to enable us to grow more of our own food

  • Nan Bixby

    We have bought a place in MO that we will begin working on and have many plans such as using gray water, raising animals, gardens and fruit trees.

  • Elaine M

    I would like to get a rain barrel…that is find one or find a way to reuse something to make one…so I can water my garden this summer.

  • I have started reading books about chicks and will begin looking into how to build my own hen house! I would eventually like to raise three hens in my suburban lot!

  • Jenifer

    We are moving off the grid in less than two years. Building an underground house. Would absolutely love to get my hands on this book.

  • Sheila C.

    I would like to install a gray water system to use for irrigating my garden.

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