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on August 1, 2012
My main purpose in writing this review is to warn about what I consider to be bad decisions by a publishing company looking to make money off a successful product.

This is an excellent book! I highly recommend it. However, if you're also considering buying The Mini Farming Guide to Vegetable Gardening, don't waste your money. Buy the Maximizing book, not the Vegetable book. The Mini Farming Guide to Vegetable Gardening is the first 18 chapters of the larger Maximizing Your Mini Farm book. It is word for word the same! However there is a chapter 19 (Permaculture with Perennial Vegetables) that is not in this book. Don't buy both books! Just buy this one since it has the same info plus 8 additional chapters not in the smaller book.
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on May 18, 2012
I received this book just a few days ago and I have already found lots of useful information. The text has separate chapters for common vegetables and includes many creative methods of pest control. There is a section on fermenting and making your own cheese. The book isn't a copy of Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 acre but is a companion volume with additional material. I have found very useful information in both texts and I would recommend each. Go with the original Mini-Farming book for general information about bed preparation, composting, seed starting, canning, and raising chickens. Go with this one for specific advice about vegetables as well as fermenting (I think he has a book coming out in July that is exclusively about fermenting, too). The author is very fact-oriented but has a simple, approachable writing style. I didn't see any filler material although each veggie chapter has a recipe in it. The use of photographs is varied and better than the original Mini-Farming (there is no repeating image of grass at the start of each chapter, for instance). I would have loved to see something on worm composting and large scale composting (he recommends several cubic feet of compost for some beds) but I guess we can't have everything.
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on July 1, 2012
Unlike most "gardening" books I have read, this book does not teach you a single gardening method as if it is all you need to know. Instead, it integrates several different methods, points out the strengths and weaknesses of going with any particular method, and gets you going. Even better, the author has a reality based "let's grow food" perspective - what things can you grow that will best feed you? Simple, yes, but not something you see often enough - hint, growing your own wheat is probably not a smart move.

The most important thing is that the author gives you pretty much everything you need to know in order to actually win with your garden. I'm biased toward greenhouses, and mine is modeled around his suggestions. My sister thinks greenhouses make no sense for her situation, and her more traditional garden is also modeled around his suggestions. They both work. That's the glory of his approach.

He just published a new book. Don't get it (Maximizing Your Mini Farm: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre) instead - get both. They are definitely companion pieces - you'll be glad you did.

Also, consider getting (Aquaponic Gardening: A Step-By-Step Guide to Raising Vegetables and Fish Together) as well. Aquaponics is another way to raise a significant amount of (organic) food easily in a small space. This author takes a similar approach to teaching you what you need to know in order to make informed choices, and the flexibility is something you'll appreciate.
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on November 16, 2012
Make sure you read the index before you buy this! From the title, I expected that there would be detailed discussion about how to take a quarter acre of land and make it produce for some level of self-sufficiency. About 140 pages details different vegetables, each in their own category but under the moniker "Part 1 - Getting the Most out of your vegetables. Nine pages in the beginning about soil quality, 19 pages about planting, sixty some pages of things totally unrelated to the title or gardening in general; Like how to make wine, vinegar and cheese!!??! Cheese in a gardening book? Without livestock? On a quarter acre?

The book is well written and illustrated, if a bit too technically detailed. And the publisher used "big" pictures to make the book more weighty. 1.5 page photos at the beginning of each chapter. I was especially confused how a picture of cooked aspergas that took up over 40% of a page with nothing below it improved the learning experience!

I guess I should have purchased the first book first.... or read the index of this one and moved on.
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on August 16, 2012
I purchased this book after a recommendation from a family member who is seeking to live "off the grid", ie as independently as possible in terms of food and energy needs. I'm a long time hobby gardener and landscape artist so I was already familiar with the general ideas. But the author goes into a lot of depth, pointing out helpful details and supporting his statements with just enough statistical information while not allowing the book to feel too scientific in it's content.

This book is easy to read and has a ton of helpful photos and diagrams to illustrate each topc. He covers all the basics and summarizes each chapter, another very helpful aspect. A generous section of note pages is provided in the back as well as lovely color photos throughout, so you don't feel as if you're reading a ponderous how-to book. It's an inspiring, instructive work and I found it very helpful. I think you will too.
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on July 5, 2015
I recently bought this book even tho I have more space for a garden than the name implies. What this book includes.

A section on each plant. That section includes general info on the plant, variety selection, how to plant, talks about weeds, pests and diseases, harvesting and seed saving which is brief but should help get the job done. Each plant has its own chapter.

This book also has a section on tools and techniques. It includes things such as planting guides, trellising, and weed control.

It also has a section on self-sufficiency. That includes making country wines, vinegar, cheese and other ideas that can make life easier.

I plan to get the rest of this series of books. This book is written in a way that I want to get more. I would recommend an additional book for diseases. While this book discusses what pests and diseases affect the plant, it doesn't have a lot of pictures so that you can identify the pest or disease.

I would also like to add this for the people who may find some books hard to read because of eye sight. This book uses a very easy to read font. I'm not saying it is large print but it is easy for even me to read. Newspaper print is hard for me to read. Some books that use a font that has thin lines are also hard for me to read without a magnifying glass. I can read this book without that and no sore eyes.
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on January 27, 2015
The author of this book is constantly referring to another book of theirs, like a needy salesman. It really gets in the way of the book's content.
Other than that, the information in the book is detailed per veggie.
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on January 4, 2013
It's a handy book with lot's of info and specific info on garden edibles BUT it does refer back to the original 'mini-farming' many time so if you don't have it you'll be missing out on a lot of info!!
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on August 27, 2014
This book needs to be read with its companion Mini Farming. In a nut shell, Markham instructions will get you professional results. I am writing this after my first garden's early fall harvest. I had almost perfect organic vegetables. I read the book in the winter and begun mini farming in the spring. As the book says, its best to start preparations in the fall. I also added a small flock of chickens and the book covers all that's needed to know. Long term sustainability of society is dependent on personal mini-farming. Many futuristic artist show advanced space aged technology next to simple earthly living. Markham's speaks the no-holds- bar truth, "it's hard work!"
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on November 27, 2012
I just finished Master Gardener training where I learned many useful things about soil, plants, pests and plant nutrition. This book presents a surprising depth of information in a clear, concise and easy to read and understand, format. I keep it and it's companion editions close by as ready references.

I recommend this book for both new and experienced gardeners. It will save you both time and money, not to mention what it will do for your garden.
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