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Successful Small-Scale Farming: An Organic Approach (Down-To-Earth Book) Paperback – January 4, 1991
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From the Back Cover
So begins this classic guide to organic small-scale agriculture, fully updated and revised for the 1990s -- for a new generation of readers who would like to live closer to the earth.
Successful Small-Scale Farming introduces anyone owning (or planning to own) a small farm to both the harsh realities and the real potential involved in making a full- or part-time living on the land. Karl Schwenke's clear-eyed approach to the best farming methods covers a wide range of proven techniques and practical advice, including:
* How to improve, conserve, and enrich your soil organically, to ensure the highest (and healthiest) yields.
* What machinery you'll need and how to use it.
* The best "cash crops" and specialty crops to grow for profit and how to raise them.
* How to use innovative strategies to find or create a market "niche" for your farm's crops or services.
* A concise overview of essential farmstead skills, such as haying, fencing, and managing a woodlot.
* Numerous charts and tables that put useful calculations at your fingertips.
With today's increased concern for the quality of the food we eat and the health of our environment, Successful Small-Scale Farming offers a unique and invaluable perspective on the future of agriculture. Karl Schwenke's message -- that small-scale farms can be cleaner, smarter, and more efficient than corporate agribusiness -- has never been so relevant as it is today.
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Top Customer Reviews
If you don't know about those things, this book is the place to start. With the information here and a little current market research, (ie. surf the web for 20 minutes to get prices,) you can write a complete farm business plan.
Well written, clear and to the point, it's full of tips and tricks to make your venture a success. It would be a bargain at ten times the price! (And I'm a hard grader.
The book was almost ruined for me by comments such as "wrong headed farmers", "why soil scientists came up with such a cumbersome scale defies explanation" (referring to the logarithmic pH scale), while freely using science to support his beliefs (without citing sources or giving credit).
The book has one of the best introductory farm equipment chapters, covering the small, older tractors a beginning farmer would be able to afford, and one of the best summaries of many pieces of farm equipment, that I have read. It is worth the price alone.
It has a chapter on farming practices such as plowing, tilling, terracing, cultivating which is worth reading as well. There are rather cursory chapters on soils and plant growth. While the author obviously believes in organic and sustainable agriculture; he does little to explain it. There are two chapters analyzing various cash crops that serve as a good introduction to finding a crop to grow, including standard farm crops such as wheat and corn, and specialty crops such as berries and wood lots. The concluding chapters on the farm in general, and farm life, are also good.
I would give the book four stars, perhaps, except for the bashing mentioned above, that serves no purpose whatsoever. It is a good book for someone taking a first look at farming as a new occupation.
From its title, one would expect Schwenke's volume to present a reasonably broad overview of farm operations, concentrating on methods proven to be successful and profitable. While no one should expect a completely thorough and fully-detailed investigation of such a vast topic as farming, agronomy, and farm-business operations in one single volume, I should have known from the short length of this book, a mere 130 pages, that topics essential to its title would receive inexcusabley short shrift.
About half of Schwenke's offering is an examination of thoughts on organic farming to include an organic approach to maintaining soil and various organic cropping methods. This is all well and good, but considering this comprises only 39 pages of an already thin book, there is little reason one would not fare better buying a volume devoted solely to organic agriculture and the actual, useful detail and sophistication it would offer.
If the vestigal treatment of organic farming is insufficient reason to buy Schwenke's book, then one must conclude it would be for the depth and breadth of its exploration and analysis of successful small-scale farm techniques and operations. In this, Schwenke's attempt falls short again.
He offers a scant 12-page chapter on farm machinery, laughable in its superficial treatment of a profoundly important topic to successful farmers.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This boolk reads a lot like a business book for those who want to farm. It is not a popular, easy to read, you can do it book. Read morePublished on December 30, 2013 by Sally V. Smith
so good its the sound of a rumble of a tractor in the field and the veggies getting bigger in the fields.Published on July 24, 2013 by S Moore
I only glanced through this book as I bought for a gift for my very environmentally inclined son. Who is striving to be self sufficient food wise.Published on May 24, 2013 by Marva Lang
This was a gift for my husband. When I asked him howled he liked the book he had only read the first chapter, but he was pleased with it so far,Published on January 12, 2013 by Rebecca T. Thompson
This gives you everything you need to begin your farm...right down to the little details. So glad I bought it!Published on January 8, 2013 by Jennifer Crabiel
My son is interested in one day starting a small farm and this contained a lot of general, good information.Published on December 28, 2012 by Kim Shultz
Bought this for my dad (in India) who decided to make a career switch from a metallurgist to an agriculturist/farming. Read morePublished on December 9, 2012 by Sid