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The Forest Garden Greenhouse

How to Design and Manage an Indoor Permaculture Oasis

With a revolutionary new “Climate Battery” design for near-net-zero heating and cooling

By the turn of the nineteenth century, thousands of acres of glass houses surrounded large American cities, becoming a commonplace symbol of the market garden and nursery trades. But the possibilities of the indoor garden to transform our homes and our lives remain largely unrealized. 

In this groundbreaking book, Jerome Osentowski, one of North America’s most accomplished permaculture designers, presents a wholly new approach to a very old horticultural subject. In The Forest Garden Greenhouse, he shows how bringing the forest garden indoors is not only possible, but doable on unlikely terrain and in cold climates, using near-net-zero technology. Different from other books on greenhouse design and management, this book advocates for an indoor agriculture using permaculture design concepts—integration, multi-functions, perennials, and polycultures—that take season extension into new and important territory.

Osentowski, director and founder of Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute (CRMPI), farms at 7,200 feet on a steep, rocky hillside in Colorado, incorporating deep, holistic permaculture design with practical common sense. It is at this site, high on a mountaintop, where Osentowski (along with architect and design partner Michael Thompson) has been designing and building revolutionary greenhouses that utilize passive and active solar technology via what they call the “climate battery”—a subterranean air-circulation system that takes the hot, moist, ambient air from the greenhouse during the day, stores it in the soil, and discharges it at night—that can offer tropical and Mediterranean climates at similarly high altitudes and in cold climates (and everywhere else). Osentowski’s greenhouse designs, which can range from the backyard homesteader to commercial greenhouses, are completely ecological and use a simple design that traps hot and cold air and regulates it for best possible use. The book is part case study of the amazing greenhouses at CRMPI and part how-to primer for anyone interested in a more integrated model for growing food and medicine in a greenhouse. With detailed design drawings, photos, and profiles of successful greenhouse projects on all scales, this inspirational manual will considerably change the conversation about greenhouse design.

REVIEWS AND PRAISE

Publishers Weekly-

"Osentowski shows how building and maintaining a Mediterranean or tropical greenhouse full of figs, lemons, papayas, and bananas can be both affordable and practical. Drawing on his 30 years of experimentation and teaching in the harsh, dry mountain environment of his Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute, he offers lush descriptions of his five greenhouses and in-depth, layered advice on designing and constructing a balmy winter retreat. His method uses a 'climate battery’ consisting of tubes buried underground to collect and hold warm air from the greenhouse, which then recirculate it when the temperature cools, backed up in the coldest days with a pellet or wood stove that can simultaneously heat an attached sauna. Osentowski admits that he prefers a hands-on method of teaching, and his written tours through greenhouses are sometimes hard to follow. Novices may be intimidated by the lack of step-by-step, formulaic instruction. But more experienced gardeners, builders, and tinkerers, and even intrepid beginners willing to carefully observe, compute, and ponder, will find this readable guide jam-packed with enough information and inspiration to help them attempt their own indoor paradises.”

“A grand master of American permaculture, Jerome Osentowski has pioneered school gardens, high-altitude/high-nutrient cropping, bio-islands for organic golf course management, and heritage fruit trees for the mountain West. Of them all, the forest garden greenhouse is the most impressive. A marvel of integration between humans, the built environment, and the natural world, the greenhouse, in a world of climate calamity, will prove indispensable for both home comfort and food production. The Forest Garden Greenhouse surpasses all others on the subject for technical innovation and practical design.”--Peter Bane, author of The Permaculture Handbook: Garden Farming for Town and Country, board member, Permaculture Institute of North America, and former publisher and editor, Permaculture Activist magazine

“In 1997 I had the privilege of visiting Jerome Osentowski’s forest garden in Basalt, Colorado. There is no doubt that Jerome learns from nature with enthusiasm and is one of the few with the capacity to translate his observations into a garden that feeds people—and dreams. The Forest Garden Greenhouse not only makes you wonder how you could achieve forest gardens at home and in your community, but it also makes you take action without delay! There is a sense of urgency that we transform our resource use; with wisdom gained from experience, Jerome shows us how we can do just that.”--Gunter Pauli, author of The Blue Economy

“This revolutionary book captures what Jerome Osentowski has learned in decades of building and tending his high-altitude food forest and extensive permaculture site. Jerome’s climate battery is a brilliant idea deserving a broad audience. It brings greenhouse technology into the twenty-first century using simple, appropriate materials. The Forest Garden Greenhouse clearly and elegantly describes the greenhouse, the garden, and the evolution of Jerome’s deep wisdom and creativity. This is much more than a greenhouse book; it’s a manifesto and guidebook showing how permaculture can help us live regenerative lives.”--Toby Hemenway, author of The Permaculture City and Gaia’s Garden

“Jerome Osentowski is a master of simple, elegantly frugal, eminently practical indoor gardens that can grow lots of almost anything almost anywhere by not treating soil like dirt. His recipe for rich sheet-mulched soil has so far produced 58 passive-solar banana crops (and over 100 other kinds of higher plants including Bornean tropicals) in my own super-insulated passive-solar home near Aspen. Now The Forest Garden Greenhouse lucidly shares Jerome’s deep, versatile, and ever-evolving experience. Read, learn, apply, improve, spread, enjoy!”--Amory B. Lovins, cofounder and chief scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute

“Living in a cold climate is no excuse for not growing your own tropical fruits and year-round vegetables. The Forest Garden Greenhouse teaches how to harvest not just food but year-round temperateness, based on the real-world experience of a seasoned greenhouse designer and manager. After my last visit to Jerome’s greenhouse, I came home to Massachusetts and we built a subtropical greenhouse. Once you read his book, you will want to, too!”--Eric Toensmeier, author of The Carbon Farming Solution and Perennial Vegetables

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jerome Osentowski

Jerome Osentowski

A forager and permaculturist with roots in rural Nebraska, Jerome Osentowski lives in a passive solar home he built at 7200 feet above Colorado’s Roaring Fork Valley. Director and founder of Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute and a permaculture designer for thirty years, he has built five greenhouses for himself and scores of others for private clients and public schools in the Rockies and beyond. He makes his living from an intensively cultivated one acre of indoor and outdoor forest garden and plant nursery, which he uses as a backdrop for intensive permaculture and greenhouse design courses. Among his accomplishments is hosting the longest-running Permaculture Design Course in the world, now at twenty-nine years running. Jerome and Michael have also been instrumental in identifying, conserving, and propagating heritage fruit trees that have survived and borne crops for over a century in the harsh environment of the Roaring Fork Valley. Jerome’s explorations of sustainable systems and his travels for development projects have taken him to Baja, Nicaragua, Patagonia, Finland, Australia, and the Caribbean.

CONNECT WITH THIS AUTHOR

CRMPI Website
CRMPI Facebook
Check out Jerome's Courses and Workshops

AUTHOR EVENTS

June 03, 2017

Jerome Osentowski at CRMPI

CRMPI, CO | Jerome Osentowski
Jerome will be instructing a workshop June 3-4. Day one of these workshops will cover the basics of forest gardening, including successful companion planting for the high rockies, design considerations, getting started, and upkeep. One Day: $150 Two Days: $300

See all Events by this Author

AUTHOR VIDEOS

Grow Up! A guide to growing food naturally I

In part 1 from the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute, take a tour of the "Food Forest" and learn about fall harvesting, planting, and putting the garden "to bed" for the winter.

Grow Up! A guide to growing food naturally II

Think winter means the end of gardening season? Think again! In this episode we take you on a visit to the Central Rocky Mountain Permacuture's "Phoenix" tropical greenhouse.

Up Front with Commissioner Jill Ryan - Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute

Take a journey with Director Jerome Osentowski, Commissioner Jill Ryan, and Environmental Policy Planner Adam Palmer through the luscious forest garden at the Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute in Basalt, CO.

The Forest Garden Greenhouse

Pages:304 pages
Book Art:Color photos, tables, charts, and illustrations
Size: 8 x 10 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781603584265
Pub. Date October 15, 2015

Available In/Retail Price

Paperback, 304 pages, $34.95