Today I’m reviewing the book Backyard Farming on an Acre (More or Less).
Author: Angela England
Note: Angela is a personal friend. She blogs at Backyard Farming Guide, Untrained Housewife and The Homestead Blogger Network, and can be found on Facebook at Untrained Housewife and Backyard Farming
List Price: $20
Length: 414 pages, including index, resource list, etc
Frugal, Sustainable or Prepared? All three!
“It doesn’t take a lot of space to reap a bountiful harvest of nutritious, affordable food. With proper planning you can grow your own fresh vegetables and fruit, raise chickens and goats for eggs, milk or meat, and keep bees for honey–on as little as a quarter acre of land. . . “
If you are interested in living a more sustainable lifestyle and taking charge of your family’s food needs then Backyard Gardening has tons of information for you! This book really covers “soup to nuts” on having a small homestead–background on why many are choosing to have backyard farms, how to look at and plan your land (either finding & purchasing or using what you’ve got),tools and skills, the all the relevant basics of gardening (including seed saving, starting seeds, soil & zone information, extensive specific plant/herb information, types of gardening methods, fruits etc), small livestock (full chapters on chickens, rabbits, goats and bees), various methods of food use and preservation (recipes, canning, freezing, dehydrating, smoking, root cellars and particulars to herbs and herbal medicine), dairy (cheese, yogurt and butter making), fiber (fleece preparation, spinning etc), home brewing, soap making and even some additional income making opportunities.
Of course there is only so much information one can squeeze into 400 pages. You could find entire books covering any one of the topics in this book –but Angela lays everything out in a clear, concise and easily accessible way. With her directions and information you could start and complete any one of these projects. The sections are full of relevant details and information–and it’s all in one place!
This book is organized into 5 parts: Living Large on a Small Scale, Gardening on a Backyard Farm, Animals for a Backyard Farm, Enjoying the Bounty, and Crafting from a Backyard Farm. Each section has a 1 page overview that describes the purp0se of the section.
Each of the sections has multiple chapters for a total of 25–and the table of contents very helpfully breaks down even the chapters into relevant topic areas. Of course it still has an index in the back of the book that you can utilize for finding very specific information–but I found the chapter breakdowns to be very useful.
Throughout the book there are plenty of photographs (black and white) to enhance the written description or directions. There are call out boxes for “Over the Garden Fence”–interesting facts; “On a Different Scale”–information relevant to either smaller or larger situations; “Thorny Matters”–problems or issues you should know about or consider; “Definitions”; and occasionally directions/information for a specific topic like “Thinning Seedlings” .
What makes this book different from others on the topic?
Many “overview” type books try to be all things to all people and wind up being nothing to anyone. Too general. Too many topics. Backyard Farming on an Acre (More or Less) avoids this! I think that she hits that difficult balance of providing an overview of most of the topics necessary for a homestead type situation while still delving into each topic far enough to provide information that is actually useful. I think the range of topics and the depth to which they are covered is unusually good.
Who will most benefit from this book?
If you are considering taking the step into providing some of your family’s needs from your own land, however small, I’d say that it is a great resource book to have on your shelf ! It provides enough information for you to think about the situation, avoid some of the “newbie” mistakes (or at least think about those issues), allows you to get started and to make choices–and then as you proceed if you find you want more specific information on any topic you can research those more through other sources. Even a more experienced person will find helpful information.
I highly recommend this book!