- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC; Illustrated edition (11 February 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1603421386
- ISBN-13: 978-1603421386
- Product Dimensions:: 17.8 x 2.5 x 22.9 cm
- Shipping Weight: 680 g
- Customer reviews: 924 customer ratings
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: 26,909 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Backyard Homestead: Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre! Paperback – Illustrated, 11 February 2009
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“The Backyard Homestead is a comprehensive and accessible guide to starting a vegetable garden, raising chickens and cows, canning food, making cheese, and a whole lot more. Editor Carleen Madigan…a homesteader in her own right, draws on the dozens of books about country living that Storey has published since its founding in 1983.”
“Because you need to brace yourself for what’s on the horizon: The Backyard Homestead. This fascinating, friendly book is brimming with ideas, illustrations, and enthusiasm. The garden plans are solid, the advice crisp; the diagrams, as on pruning and double digging, are models of decorum. Halfway through, she puts the pedal to the metal, and whoosh! At warp speed, we’re growing our own hops and making our own beer, planting our own wheat fields, keeping chickens (ho hum), ducks, geese, and turkeys (now we’re talking) and milking goats, butchering lamb, raising rabbits, and grinding sausage. Oh, and tapping our maple trees, churning butter, and making our own cheese and yogurt. Peacocks, anyone? Need I say more? Well, yes. Stock up on some knitting books because next winter, you’ll want to grow your own sweaters, too."
From the Back Cover
Put your backyard to work. Enjoy fresher, organic, better-tasting food all the time. The solution is as close as your own backyard. Grow the vegetables and fruits your family loves; keep bees; raise chickens, goats, or even a cow. The Backyard Homestead shows you how it's done. And when the harvest is in, you'll learn how to cook, preserve, cure, brew, or pickle the fruits of your labor.
The indispensable guide to food self-sufficiency: learn how to milk a goat, prune a fruit tree, dry herbs, make dandelion wine, bake whole-grain bread, tap a maple tree, make fresh mozzarella, brew beer, mill grains for flour, save seeds for next season, and a whole lot more.
The book that launched the best-selling series
Brimming with a bounty of information from Storey’s extensive library on growing and preserving, The Backyard Homestead is a trusted reference for fans of independent living everywhere, and the cornerstone of The Backyard Homestead series, which has a combined total of 495,000 copies in print.
Be your own local food source
Whether your backyard ambitions are modest or you’re scaling up for complete food self-sufficiency, this practical guide teaches a range of essential skills, from starting seedlings and carving a turkey to beekeeping basics and sugaring maple syrup, making the process of producing and preserving your own food accessible and satisfying at any scale.
An exciting variety of food at your fingertips
Cultivate a simple strawberry patch or start a flock of chickens; grow wheat for milling your own flour and hops for brewing your own beer. The possibilities for backyard food production are endless, and this homesteading handbook covers it all, with how-to information on growing and harvesting herbs, grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables, as well as fresh eggs, meat, dairy, honey, and more.
|The Backyard Homestead Seasonal Planner||The Backyard Homestead Guide to Rasing Farm Animals||The Backyard Homestead Book of Building Projects||The Backyard Homestead Book of Kitchen Know-How|
|More from Storey Publishing||This hardworking addition to the best-selling Backyard Homestead series offers expert advice on what tasks to do around your farm and when to do them — no matter where on the planet you call home.||With just a little land, anyone can have plenty of poultry, livestock, and honey bees. This book covers everything from selecting breeds to feeding and housing, animal health, and producing delicious fresh milk, cheese, honey, eggs, and meat.||With simple, step-by-step instructions that even novices can use, this book of 76 projects is the go-to DIY resource for anyone building functional structures and essential pieces of equipment for the house, garden, yard, and root cellar.||From milling flour to curing sausage, freezing or drying vegetables to preserving fruits, this all-in-one handbook teaches everything farm-fresh food enthusiasts need to know.|
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
"Garden plans" are ridiculously uninformative and impractical - the "plans" in the section "Making a garden plan" give no dimensions for the bed - or indeed, no dimensions for any of the beds, and no spacing for plants. That is a recipe for failure, and it's but one example of impractical, incomplete and random information.
The book is an extremely poor value for what it is - a cute book for daydreaming about homesteading. Not at all recommended.
I was hoping for a new approach or ideas to my smaller space. I have experience in range of permaculture, aquaculture, greenhouses, chickens, etc. This book isn't how to create a wholistic or profitable dynamic farm ecology in your backyard, it isn't about how to "literally" turn your backyard into a homestead, but just do homesteady things like canning, growing vegetables, and caring for small animals. I wasn't impressed at all and learned nothing new in how to maximize space for efficiency which is what I was looking for. There is literally only 1 page of about 4 paragraphs that even mentions greenhouses, which to maximize space and efficiency is obviously an absolute necessity. It speaks absolutely nothing to water storage, conservation, or recycling, which is an absolute critical necessity as well.
This book did not live up to its title at all. There are many better books out there on this subject, and that specialize in the various aspects of food production and preservation. Like you want a good book on fermenting try the Art of Fermentation by Katz. You want a good book on water storage and uses check out Art Ludwigs books. It just feels like this is a bad attempt and bringing together a lot of knowledge because it all felt disconnected and not integrated into an actual plan to produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre. It wasn't integrated enough into an actual real world case study on an actual site, an actual climate zone, actual amounts of water, actual money spent on inputs that make things like raising a cow on 1/4 acre is totally unfeasible even in the lushest of environments. And a lot of it was like that, too boiler plated, too untested without application. The stuff that was tested with application were just things I could have googled in 5 seconds.
If you are an absolute beginner just looking for a random craft project or starting your first garden this could be a good "first intro book" to get your feet wet.
But now that I have fruit trees to prune and chicks to raise, I'm not looking to this book for information. For building raised beds, I'm using the instructions from The Urban Homestead (Expanded & Revised Edition): Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City (Process Self-reliance Series), which also details composting with worms, reducing your reliance on the energy grid, and using water more intelligently -things The Backyard Homestead doesn't even mention. Or take pruning. On page 111, "Pruning a Fruit Tree in Four Steps," Step 2 says "First shorten the branch to about a foot, then undercut the branch slightly before sawing it from above. Finally, saw off the stub, leaving a slight collar to promote good healing." These are just the kind of clear-as-mud directions that would greatly benefit from an illustration; unfortunately all that is there is a drawing of a man sawing a branch with a long-handled tool of some kind, nothing to show what exactly a collar is or how much of the remaining foot qualifies as the stub or even why he selected that particular branch. So for pruning, I attended a workshop presented by my local nursery, which was far more informative and has the advantage of pertaining entirely to where I live. Regarding chickens: There are some interesting points, like letting a fresh egg age in the fridge a week before hard-boiling so it won't be difficult to peel or selecting a dual-purpose (egg laying and meat) breed because they are more disease-resistant than specialized breeds, but nothing that will in anyway get you started. For that I'm presently using the book Chick Days: An Absolute Beginner's Guide to Raising Chickens from Hatching to Laying. For rabbits, you'll get two pages most of which just informs you that there are different breeds.
The only section of The Backyard Homestead that I was able to test out in my apartment days was the section on herb gardening. I killed all of them, until getting Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces), which revealed why the rosemary survived but did not grow (too small a pot), why the basil died (unrelenting exposure to wind), how all of them could have benefited from mulch, and how to make simple plant foods. It also explained terms I had seen thrown around in several gardening books, like the warning to not let your plants "bolt" (which at the time I could only imagine involved my herbs running away to a more competent home). All those other books have unhelpful charts describing the exact conditions favored by each plant (type of soil, pH, full sun vs partial shade, etc) until you believe each plant should be grown in its own meticulously placed test tube. And I spent years thinking "partial shade" meant some kind of sparse, broken shade, like under a tree. Turns out the "partial" refers to time; 4-6 hours of direct sun per day compared to 8 hours of direct sun per day for "full sun." And if you've always wanted to grow herbs, but wondered what you might do with them beyond cooking, then absolutely get Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World, a brilliant DIY book on everything from making your own shampoo to beer to how to slaughter a chicken (The Backyard Homestead refers you to other books for any slaughtering instructions).
By all means, get The Backyard Homestead. Pour over it for hours in a coffee shop/bathtub/Cracker Barrel/escape-of-your-choice. Gaze lovingly at the beautiful, orderly homestead layouts at the beginning of the book. But think of it more as a course catalogue for college, that thick book (if they still put those out) that lists every class a college offers along with a brief description for each, rather than as the classes themselves. Use it to sketch out which topics you'd like to study, then find other resources (mentors, workshops, youtube demonstrations, books, meetup groups, feed stores, nurseries, magazines like Urban Farm) and go from there.