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The Everything Backyard Farming Book: A Guide to Self-Sufficient Living Through Growing, Harvesting, Raising, and Preserving Your Own Food (Everything Series) Paperback – November 18, 2013
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The Adams Media, 2013
Review by Barbara Bamberger Scott
“As a modern consumer, you don’t have much control over the food you put in your family’s mouths, but as a backyard farmer, you can have 100 percent control.” This basic statement encapsulates both the “why” and the “how” that is embedded in this thoughtful and thoroughly practical guide to feeding your family without leaving home.
Neil Shelton is the creator of the successful website, Homestead.org, providing weekly articles by various writers, including Shelton himself, on a wide range of subject matter, from birthing baby animals to burying your loved ones in a green and frugal way. A homesteader by conviction, the author has put his beliefs to the test on his land in the Ozarks.
TEBFB is a large format, amply illustrated book that takes the reader through the basics and complexities of becoming a green revolutionary in one’s backyard. Pointing out that farming doesn’t have to be large scale to be successful, the author even examines issues such as how to placate neighbors if you live in tight urban quarters, who might not approve of seeing rows of edible green cabbage where once was a swath of inedible, high maintenance green grass. If you have to, start small, with salad veggies. Build raised beds, which are tidy and can even be attractive, and though labor intensive to get started, are sciatica-sufferer-friendly in the long haul. Maximize space by intensive planting. If you want a compost heap, be prepared to maintain it. Can you get some rabbit manure? A pond, a tractor, a toolshed, a greenhouse – all excellent accouterment if you have sufficient acreage.Read more ›
To give the devil's due though, if you're the type who needs someone to tell you a four wheel drive tractor will pull harder than a two wheel drive tractor, or that it's easier to call the hardware store to see if they have what you need instead of driving there, or that plants need sunlight, et cetera, then by all means, buy this book. It will give you at least some idea where to start. But if you want a productive garden, get one of the excellent French Intensive gardening books; if your place is bigger and you classify as a farm, you should probably go to better sources for your information, since there really isn't that much in this book. But perhaps that's the way it is in the Ozarks, since that area hardly classifies as a high production farming area.