Customer Review

584 of 597 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best on gardening, mini-farming, food self-sufficiency, April 4, 2008
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This review is from: Mini Farming for Self Sufficiency (Paperback)
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. It has good discussions of thermophilic composting and of the importance of aging compost; various types of irrigation systems; food requirements per person and practical ways of meeting them (including the economic infeasibility of growing wheat in the home garden); making aerated compost tea with a simple and inexpensive homemade system; the best media for seed starting; an introduction to saving and storing seeds, and references to excellent books that provide more information (such as Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners and Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties: The Gardener's & Farmer's Guide to Plant Breeding & Seed Saving); inexpensive ways to extend the growing season; fruit trees, bushes, and vines; raising poultry for eggs and/or meat; organic and certified naturally grown; and maximizing the money you make selling produce. The chapter on preserving the harvest by canning, freezing, and dehydrating (no mention of Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits & Vegetables) is not in-depth and will not take the place of other books on the subject, but serves as a good introduction. The only disappointment to me was that there was no mention of sheet composting (see Lasagna Gardening: A New Layering System for Bountiful Gardens: No Digging, No Tilling,No Weeding, No Kidding!); I might suggest building your raised beds in that way rather than by double digging.

If you are trying to move off the grid, grow 100% of your own food, and make your own clothes, this may not be the book for you. If you'd like to raise a lot of your own food in a garden that will fit in the typical suburban yard (the actual number of square feet he suggests cultivating for a family of three is just under 1/20th of an acre), this book is a great place to start.
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 10, 2008 11:34:19 AM PST
i was thinking of a book for "small to pot growing" for living through the last days. thanks. know the other mentioned books will definitely not work.

Posted on Apr 15, 2012 8:51:40 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 15, 2012 8:52:06 AM PDT
D. Norris says:
Wow, what a helpful, informative, well thought out review! Thanks for including the many helpful titles also, as well as the comparisons to this book and your own suggestions. I wish I had you to review all the books I'm interested in, lol, you could surely save me(and others) some $$, tho in this case, you're costing me because I want this one.

Posted on Jun 8, 2012 5:02:55 AM PDT
Good review and I appreciate your mention of Lasagna Gardening, that is my favorite and I know it works because I have done it. I am seriously considering buying this one.

Posted on Jul 5, 2012 9:17:37 PM PDT
Great Review! Thanks I think I will buy this book. also a few of your other suggestions

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2012 10:34:21 PM PDT
Samadhi says:
This book could still be helpful, even though you have very little space to get started. Have you considered vertical gardening, like in pallets, that you can grow on a balcony or porch along with the containers? As far as 'last days' goes, it's good to prepare for hard times but we never know what tomorrow holds. It's the end of the world for someone almost every minute of every day.... Don't get so busy thinking about the end of the world that you forget to live the day.

Posted on Mar 24, 2013 5:24:58 AM PDT
Machelle H says:
Thanks for the great review. I really apreciate the listing of and comparison to all of the other titles that you included.

In reply to an earlier post on May 28, 2013 11:23:59 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 28, 2013 11:29:14 AM PDT
Merryheart says:
Christina K Woods: I am afraid some people thought you were referring to an illegal plant, while I think you meant small garden or countainer garden.

Posted on Oct 1, 2013 8:21:18 PM PDT
Great review. I especially appreciate that you listed other books that were relevant to your discussion of this book. So many reviews vaguely claim that the book they're reviewing wasn't as good as other books they've read -- but fail to tell us what the better books are! No such issue with this fine review. Many thanks.

Posted on Oct 12, 2013 8:26:14 PM PDT
thanks for the extended reading list :)
I will have to preview some of these at my library.

Posted on Oct 30, 2013 7:56:27 PM PDT
Cb says:
Great review!! love the additional references, helpful for someone like me just starting research and looking for good educational leads.
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