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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mini Farming - The Review


Library copy

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.

9 comments:

Dawn Dutton said...

Hi Paula, I agree with you on this book. I ordered it from Amazon after reading the reviews. I have learned much and plan on using it in the future. It's very good! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the books you read. I read the same ones. Funny huh?

Desert Willow said...

I just want to pop in here and say thank you for taking the time to do book reviews. I have been a "silent" reader for some time and I really appreciate your opinion on this genre of book. I have been on the same quest with gardening, bees, chickens and self-sufficiency so an opinion from someone on the same path is quite valuable.

JustAnotherGraphicsGirl said...

Hi Paula!
Thanks for reading the book and taking the time to share your findings. This sounds like the book I am looking for. I want something that will include yield informatiton. This year will be my first garden since I was a child and I am sooooo very anxious to get started! Have A Great Day!
JAGG

Miriam said...

Your reviews are so helpful - I'll definitely look for this one at the library! I'm a sucker for lists and charts and calculations, so this sounds right up my alley...

Ruth @ Hope, Joy and Faith Farm said...

I always like to hear about books that are recommended by "like-minded" folks. Thanks!

Paula said...

Not so funny, Dawn- we seem to be interested in the same things.

Thanks for popping in, Desert Willow.

Hey JAGG- haven't heard from you in awhile. I think the yield information is one of the things that sets this book apart- it's certainly one of the more useful bits in this one.

I'm looking at another book right now Miriam that might also be up your alley as the book is written from Vancouver Island, I think. I'll know better later once I read it, and let you know.

You're welcome Ruth!

click clack gorilla said...

Oo, this sounds really good.

Diane said...

I did an interlibrary request when I read this post and the book is already "in transit"! Love my computer access to our library system and your book reviews.

Paula said...

Computer access to a local library system is a pretty wonderful thing, I agree. I like being able to check in with our system and get stuff from all over. We also figured out (on our system, at any rate) that if you can't renew something because someone has a hold on it, it pays to keep checking, because if the same book is in the system and it has an earlier due date than yours, they'll fill the hold with it, so your book could become free to renew. We did that with a book and it was useful not having to take it back to the library because Steve wasn't done with it!