Here's a funny thing; I borrowed this book from the library six weeks ago. I flipped through it sometime during the first week, and decided I didn't like it, so I didn't read it. The first due date came up so I renewed it online, thinking I probably should at least read it so that I could be fair with my review. Still didn't get around to reading it. Then the next due date started looming, and I tried to renew it, but someone had a hold on it, so now I had to read it in just a couple of days. Well, I'm glad I did because I really like this book after all.
The reason that I like this book is that it doesn't give you lots of hypothetical ideas about what you can do to raise food on a quarter acre. There are plenty of homesteading books out there that do that. This book covers a lot of what other books cover, but I like it for what else it covers, which is the stuff that other books don't cover. Like recognizing soil deficiencies by what you're seeing in your crops, more detail on what you can and can't accomplish with composting at home, timing and yield information, with a table of tender, semi-hardy, and hardy vegetables so you can plan appropriate crops. I've never seen it mentioned anywhere else that crops grow slower in the fall and that you need to add ten days to the days-to-maturity calculation for timing fall crops. There are also tables that mention the the dietary needs of individual persons in terms of how many pounds of something they require a year, i.e., based on the USDA's food pyramid, a person needs 456 pounds of vegetables a year; then he goes on to tell you how many pounds you can expect from a 100 square feet of a given crop (if grown intensively). This is the first information I've seen that gives me a good idea of how much of my yard I need to have not only in production to feed us, but how much of the yard needs to be devoted to what crop in order to feed us. This is solid, usable information that has a direct application to what I'm trying to do, and it's the first time I've seen it presented in such a tangible format anywhere. There's a lot of solid, usable information in this book. There are step by step instructions with pictures for slaughtering a chicken. He even has instructions for making a chicken plucker, and includes public domain information for building a thresher (which he does attribute to the kind gentlemen who donated their designs online as a gift to humanity).
In spite of all the reading I do, and I do a lot of reading, I still learned a lot from this book. Even though I took a bunch of notes for myself, I think that I would still like to own my own copy of Mini-Farming because it's chockablock with information I need. It's aimed at both growing enough to feed your family, or growing enough to take to market, or growing enough to feed your family and maybe have enough left over to take to market.
Whatever your purpose, you probably ought to read this one.