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The Backyard Homestead: Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre! Paperback – February 11, 2009
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“The Backyard Homestead is a comprehensive and accessible guide to starting a vegetable garden, raising chickens and cows, canning food, making cheese, and a whole lot more. Editor Carleen Madigan…a homesteader in her own right, draws on the dozens of books about country living that Storey has published since its founding in 1983.”
“Because you need to brace yourself for what’s on the horizon: The Backyard Homestead. This fascinating, friendly book is brimming with ideas, illustrations, and enthusiasm. The garden plans are solid, the advice crisp; the diagrams, as on pruning and double digging, are models of decorum. Halfway through, she puts the pedal to the metal, and whoosh! At warp speed, we’re growing our own hops and making our own beer, planting our own wheat fields, keeping chickens (ho hum), ducks, geese, and turkeys (now we’re talking) and milking goats, butchering lamb, raising rabbits, and grinding sausage. Oh, and tapping our maple trees, churning butter, and making our own cheese and yogurt. Peacocks, anyone? Need I say more? Well, yes. Stock up on some knitting books because next winter, you’ll want to grow your own sweaters, too."
From the Back Cover
Your backyard homestead is a success! The vegetables and fruit are abundant and the fresh eggs are delicious, but they're more than your family can eat. Your pig is fattening up quickly; will you know how to fill out the cut sheet when it's time to call the butcher? A backyard bounty can be overwhelming.
Andrea Chesman's indispensable guide to gathering, processing, preserving, and eating the fruits of your backyard homestead ensures that nothing goes to waste. Her experience and clear instructions equip you with the skills to make the most of everything you harvest!
Top Customer Reviews
But now that I have fruit trees to prune and chicks to raise, I'm not looking to this book for information. For building raised beds, I'm using the instructions from The Urban Homestead (Expanded & Revised Edition): Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City (Process Self-reliance Series), which also details composting with worms, reducing your reliance on the energy grid, and using water more intelligently -things The Backyard Homestead doesn't even mention. Or take pruning. On page 111, "Pruning a Fruit Tree in Four Steps," Step 2 says "First shorten the branch to about a foot, then undercut the branch slightly before sawing it from above. Finally, saw off the stub, leaving a slight collar to promote good healing." These are just the kind of clear-as-mud directions that would greatly benefit from an illustration; unfortunately all that is there is a drawing of a man sawing a branch with a long-handled tool of some kind, nothing to show what exactly a collar is or how much of the remaining foot qualifies as the stub or even why he selected that particular branch. So for pruning, I attended a workshop presented by my local nursery, which was far more informative and has the advantage of pertaining entirely to where I live.Read more ›
Nigerians also get along well with chickens, and can share the same yard space as long as there is separate sleeping and feeding quarters for the chickens. And keeping 3-4 hens with your goats will keep the fly population down to nearly non-existent levels. So the back portion of your lot could be a single large pen, rather than two small ones, thus saving on the amount of fencing needed. A typical garden shed can be divided up to provide housing and feed storage for both goats and chickens, again saving on the cost (and space) of building separate structures.
The premise of this book is exciting. I love the cover illustration, and first few pages have great illustrations of how much you can produce on different sized lots. However, the rest of the book is a simply a rehashed encyclopedia of information that is incredibly frustrating to read. There is no "story" here -- no personal anecdotes, no interviews with people who have done this, no journalistic writing. Since that's not the chosen direction of this book, I can accept that. But without an interesting story, I was hoping for really solid, detailed, concrete information about how to eventually accomplish the goal of turning one's yard into a homestead. I didn't get that either.
The information in this book is almost trivial -- there is a lot of it, and it's well organized, but nothing goes into enough detail to actually be useful. For example, the section on raising chickens provides a vague overview of what is required to keep chickens, then several pages on chicken breeds, but not quite enough information to actually *choose* a breed, then goes into a bunch of detail about how to determine the age of an egg, how to cook an egg, but no information on how to actually care for chickens. There is a section on butchering, which basically tells you to find someone who knows how to butcher a chicken. There is a rough diagram of a fancy chicken coop for 3 chickens, but no discussion of the pros and cons of different kinds of coops, or how to house more than 3 chickens.
Eventually, I realized I can get more information on any subject in this book by doing a Google search.Read more ›
I've been a homebrewer for 5 years, and I grow wine grapes at home. The home-brew beer recipies in this book are from 1989, and are based around buying pre-made beer kits from Coopers or Muntons. Some of the ingredients listed are archane: "Laaglander malt extract" good luck finding it, Laaglander went out of business nearly a decade ago, or "Russian Malt beverage concentrate" whatever that is, you don't need it to make good homebrew.
The wine grapes section is terribly out of date as well. The American hybrid grapes she recommends were the best varieties availible 20 years go (DeChanuc, Baco, Foch) leaving out newer varieties that are much better (Traminette, Marquette, Corot Noir). She refers to Baco, Foch, and Chardonel as European varieties which they aren't. (there's a great book on growing a back-yard vineyard if you search for that phrase)
It may seem like I'm nit-picking, but it leaves me to wonder what careless mistakes are in the sections I don't know anything about? How out-of date are the other varietal recommendations? I get the impression that she culled all of this info from old books and has little experience of her own.
I'm returning my copy.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Unbelievable resource for all things gardening, canning, etc.Published 1 day ago by Scarlet Scholar
I bought this book at the recommendation from a friend who has her own vegetable garden. First, I checked it out at the library to see if it would be useful to me and got so... Read morePublished 2 days ago by MichaelVA
very comprehensive instruction manual. I could get rid of my other farming books and just keep this one.Published 11 days ago by H82Diet
Started a garden with this product. Helpful guide and easy to follow.Published 1 month ago by keosha t.
Bought it for my wife & can honestly say its jam packed with ideas & advice, I found it interesting as a city dweller it opened my eyes. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Nicolai Mihaleff