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Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre Paperback – April 1, 2010
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“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)
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.
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The book completely fails to deliver on the promise, in fact, there's almost no mention of how to grow intensively and virtually no pictures of the author or anyone else actually doing it. There are a few stock photos of vegetables and then maybe 20 or 30 copies of the same photo of long grass in the book. What's up with that? I eat grass - once converted to beef - but all those grass pictures could have been replaced with pictures of his own 1/4 acre intensive garden - assuming he actually has one. It's not clear at all from the book.
90% of the content of the book is standard articles easily available in any gardening book, magazine, website, or a dozen other places on how to create compost, how to plant, how to harvest, etc... nothing at all that is unique or special to an intensive garden. Look at urbanhomestead dot org for an example of great pictures of intensive gardening. You'll find nothing at all like that in this book.
The pictures and step-by-step instructions on many of the basic construction projects are amazingly useful. I also feel like, despite reading a million articles on composting, I never really "got" it until reading this book. The fact that Markham has laid it out so clearly in charts, so it becomes a matter of math and time, is so reassuring for the novice composter.
For people looking for help running a garden, this book isn't for you. The author makes it very clear that high-intensity farming is complicated, finicky, frustrating, and sometimes backbreaking work. But if you want to engage in real high-intensity farming, this book is an invaluable resource and I highly recommend it.