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The Quarter-Acre Farm: How I Kept the Patio, Lost the Lawn, and Fed My Family for a Year Paperback – March 15, 2011
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—Novella Carpenter, author of Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer
Reading Spring Warren’s book is like chatting with a good friend over coffee as she relates her garden adventures (some hilarious) and muses on the meaning of almost everything. This is an instructive, useful book, based on sound garden experience and in-depth research, and it’s an intimate tale of one woman’s relationship to food and family.”
—Georgeanne Brennan, author of Potager: Fresh Garden Cooking in the French Style and A Pig in Provence
Spring Warren’s memoir of a year feeding her family from her suburban garden resonates with the American dream of self-sufficiencywhat she comes to know of growing food is impressive, the recipes superband it is beautifully written, enlightening, and very funny.”
—John Lescroart, New York Times best-selling author
"A wise and tender-hearted book that will teach you as much about life as it will about gardening."
—Thrity Umrigar, best-selling author of The Space Between Us and The Weight of Heaven
About the Author
Warren comes from Wyoming, where here family has lived since 1870. A true gal of the American West, she grew up in Casper and at a ranch in the Black Hills that her parents still own. She’s been a schoolteacher (children bring cow testicles to school for show and tell in Wyoming), raised pigs, killed rattlesnakes, hunted, and fished. When she moved toward writing, she was a working as a short order cook, selling worms and maple bars to campers, and teaching swimming lessons in the shadow of Devil's Tower, and was living in a trailer where she washed clothes in a wringer washer and dried them by the heat of the wood stove.
Warren now lives in Davis, California, an educational hub of the agricultural world, in the Central Valley, the world’s most productive agricultural region.
Top Customer Reviews
As for my review title - Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is the standard I hold a lot of "homesteading" books to. That book taught me SO much about so many subjects that it's an excellent yardstick for me. Kingsolver's book is highly educational, makes me think, makes me feel involved due to her tone, and offers recipes that are approachable and "doable" for folks like me who aren't going to become pro chefs any time soon.
Warren's format in The Quarter-Acre Farm is similar to the format of Kingsolver's book; a chapter full of personal stories and interesting insights and research, along with a recipe to top off each chapter. How did Warren bump Kingsolver from my top 3? With her humor. While Kingsolver shares some fantastic stories, Warren's tone is more approachable and less professorial. Even her chapter titles bring fun to the read: "Pole Dancing" (which gave me a chuckle but then taught me very important things via her pumpkin trellis experiment) - "Magical Fruit" (yes, that would be the beans, of course!Read more ›
This is not a manifesto about why self-gardening is best and it doesn't wrap up uber-neatly, the way a lot of "I tried this for a year" memoirs do. Warren offers up practical tips and lessons on which vegetables thrived, which didn't, and why, and what she did with both the food and how she composted and tried various ways to increase her yield. The chapter where a "real" farmer comes and inspects her farm is especially interesting. I recommend this even if, like me, you have pretty much no thumb at all when it comes to gardening. Of course, if you do have an inclination toward growing even a small amount of your own food, you'll appreciate Warren's tips and especially her voice, but you don't have to have ever though about gardening or farming before to get a lot out of this book. The sheer respect Warren shows for the animals in her yard (geese!) and the plants and land she is using made me take a look at how easily I consume and dispose often prepackaged foods.Read more ›
Somehow this book manages to be an excellent "how to" guide, an extremely funny diary of the author's failures and successes, and a very readable instruction manual all at once. It will make you feel that producing some portion of your own food is an achievable and worthy goal no matter where you live. This book is just the encouragement and assistance that you've been looking for if you are dreaming of growing your own food on your own small lot/yard.
Above any practical value [though there is TONS of that], this book is the most entertaining and funny thing I've read in ages. Spring Warren has such a humorous perspective and such a clever way of looking at things, I really enjoyed reading what she had to say. I also enjoyed her indomitable spirit which comes through so clearly in this book. Even if you don't ever plan to grow a single thing in your yard, you might enjoy this book just as a really fun read.
I bought this book on a whim because I've been longing to transform my yard into something beautiful and practical [as in: something that feeds us!]. I am so happy that this was the book I chose - it was more than I ever expected. I have laughed out loud and been truly motivated to try this idea. I have learned more than I would have thought possible; all while reading a really great story. You can't ask for more than that from a book.
I agree with another review that says this book avoids all the preaching and chiding that other "environmentally friendly" book often contain - it sure does. The author teaches without preaching and entertains you the whole way.
Buy this book - you won't be sorry!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Many details lacking and the time frame for getting a production garden seems fictional. Hmmm....fictional. Like her previous book. Has me wondering, lol.Published 16 days ago by Jedaprau
It's been a long time since I have read a garden or homesteading book straight through for the enjoyment of it. It reminded me of Carla Emery's book. Read morePublished 17 days ago by Amazon Customer
The writer has a great humor and that really moves this story along. It also has a lot of information.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
I bought this partly for the appealing title and subtitle, which would carry a "You can do this too!" message to the person I had in mind. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Nanfran
Spring is a great story teller and I enjoyed that. She also had some recipes that I want to try. But the specifics on actually making this happen were a little weak.Published 2 months ago by Mary
I love all of the gardening advice, with the history thrown in. I would like to give mushrooms a try now....I am so ready to get in my Michigan garden.Published 4 months ago by Cindy S Allshouse
This book combines all of my favorite elements! Self-deprecating humor, excellent writing, gardening and recipes! How could you possibly not love it?Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer