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Mini Farming for Self Sufficiency Paperback – December 31, 2006

4.4 out of 5 stars 577 customer reviews

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Paperback, December 31, 2006
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Editorial Reviews


“A concept destined to appeal to that intrepid individual whose independent nature finds the idea of abandoning the grocery store alluring.” (Carol Haggas - Booklist)

“A helpful addition, alongside Bartholomew and Jeavons, for the serious DIY gardener.” (Margaret Heller - Library Journal) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Brett L. Markham is an engineer, third-generation farmer, and polymath. Using the methods explained in his book, he runs a profitable, Certified Naturally Grown mini farm on less than half an acre. Brett works full time as an engineer for a broadband ISP and farms in his spare time. He lives in New Ipswich, New Hampshire. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 148 pages
  • Publisher: Brett L Markham (December 31, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615134580
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615134581
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.3 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (577 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,806,997 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just read this book and I am very impressed. It compares favorably both to classics of intensive gardening and to classics on self sufficiency. Less complicated than How to Grow More Vegetables and Fruits: (And Fruits, Nuts, Berries, Grains, and Other Crops) (How to Grow More Vegetables: (And Fruits, Nuts, Berries, Grains,), less expensive and resource-hogging (in terms of peat moss, vermiculite, and grids) than All New Square Foot Gardening (which is still well worth buying for the beginning gardener; the charts on planting for a continuous three-season harvest alone are probably worth the price of the book). More focused and with more current (though perhaps still debatable) numbers than One Acre and Security: How to Live Off the Earth Without Ruining It, and written for an even smaller (and tractor-free) scale than Successful Small-Scale Farming: An Organic Approach (Down-To-Earth Book).

This book contains the simplest and most understandble description of double-digging that I have ever read, and the simplest way of placing seeds at the correct spacing in intensive gardening.
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I have been gardening for 40 years and have read hundreds of articles and books on gardening. This one is "hands down" the
best one I have read. Markham takes complex topics and explains them in plain english. For example, I now know exactly how to modify soil Ph with specific products in specific measure. I understand how each element influences the equation and why using a variety of soil amendments is advisable. I finally understand the value of Boron in plant physiology with smart ways to apply it. I now "get it" about what bio-char is, how to make it, and why it is important to my soil. I finally understand exactly why deep roto-tilling actually hurts the soil even though it "looks good" in the garden. Thank you Brett!
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Format: Paperback
This was just a really well done book. I liked they way Markham wrote and he explained things well. I had started a few years ago with the Square Foot Gardening and we had good success with it. But I wanted to expand it and in reality couldn't POSSIBLE afford the expense of the planting mixture Bartholomew suggest so came up with my own. So I also started to consider expanding the 4x4 squares to a wide 32" row and the length of the garden area, but still keep the intense planting for the benefits. And low and behold here's Markham writing about it and giving tips on accomplishing it. He doesn't hide behind the fact hat it's work to get those rows started. Double digging rows SUCKS! And he expresses that as well. It makes me feel better doing it when I read others agree it's hard work but needs to be done.

Having the background he does Markham is VERY anal and exact on his numbers for what's needed and the amounts. He has done FANTASTIC job of researching articles and books and brings them together. So this book is actually a wealth of knowledge from other sources. The Bibliography in the back is a GREAT resource as well.

I had considered the soil blocks from my seedlings in the past but never thought the expense was worth it. But he brings to light the whole world of it and also a link to an article on the Internet that will then lead you to other areas on the Internet for research of this subject. My point being: You learning doesn't have to stop with JUST reading this book. He shows you a path to follow that will lead you on your own research.

Markham incorporates a lot of other known farmer/writers works into his daily workings. It's something (with all the reading I've done of those others) being work towards. But he's actually DONE it and IS doing it.
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Format: Paperback
Truthfully, though I thought about it, I didn't buy this book. Why? Because of the negative reviews on Amazon. Luckily for me, I happened to see it on a shelf at my local library and decided to give it a try anyway. I say luckily, because I feel like I would have gone into my mini farming operation halfway blind if it hadn't been for this book. (In fact, now that I've finished reading the book, I'm fairly convinced that the negative reviews were written by competitors in the field or just generally grouchy people!)

The book itself is nicely put together. It has a glossy cover, thick pages, and helpful photography (which is plentiful, but not abundant enough to become a nuisance). The print is large enough to see easily, and the chapters are well-organized with an abundance of information in each one. The gardening portions of the book were the most helpful to me.

Granted, the book doesn't cover certain areas of self-sufficiency (other types of poultry besides chickens and ducks, rabbits, goats, soap and candle making, aquaculture, etc.) but I have read an abundance of books on self-sufficiency which claim to be all-encompassing and DO cover those areas, and I have walked away without knowing the basics of gardening. That was not the case with Markham's book. I now finally know what the NPK stands for on fertilizer bags, the basics of pruning fruit and nut trees, how to make my own compost and pesticide, and how to overwinter crops.

In short, this book is NOT for master gardeners (though they might be able to pick up a few tips!) or people who have been living on a homestead for any length of time. It's also not for people who are generally grouchy...but I would recommend it to anyone who has an open mind and who wants to learn the basics of running a functional mini farm. When my budget allows, I will gladly add Brett Markham's book to my collection...and I have high hopes for his new book as well!
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