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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.
"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