Review: The Backyard Homestead

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After examining the results of Fridays poll it’s obvious many readers are interested in setting up and running a small homestead.

And since you’ve shown an interest, I thought it would be fitting (and useful) to do a review of The Backyard Homestead: Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre! by Carleen Madigan/Storey Publishing.

The Backyard Homestead... Best Price: $4.91 Buy New $10.91 (as of 05:50 UTC - Details)

Actually, I’ve been planning a review this book for several weeks, but was sidetracked by other projects. Too many irons in the fire. Can’t believe, I was thinking about doing a survival podcast. Thank you for setting me straight on that one.

It doesn’t take a lot of land to have a self-sufficient homestead. I have two acres, but use about half of that for my garden, fruit and nut trees, henhouse, grape vines, goat lot, rabbit hutch, bee hive, compost pile, trailer and yard. You don’t need a lot of land.

But you do need to know how to use your small acreage efficiently, The Backyard Homestead will help you do that.

Within it’s 368 pages you’ll find easy to understand, straightforward instructions covering a wealth of information, that’ll help you get the most from a small homestead or even your backyard.

Mini Farming: Self-Suf... Markham, Brett L. Best Price: $5.95 Buy New $11.29 (as of 05:20 UTC - Details)

The thing that stood out most was the detailed planning diagrams and breakdowns for different sized plots, arrangements and lists of possible yields from each. Of course the actual yield harvested, would depend on many factors. But the suggestions give something to work for and compare progress.

The Backyard Homestead covers a range of topics, all geared toward those of us homesteading on small acreage, such as: vegetable gardening, fruit and nut trees, herbs, grains, poultry, rabbits, pigs, goats, sheep, cattle, preserving, making wine, cider, vinegar, herbs, making cheese, yogurt and butter and a lot more.

On the back of the book, it tells you that on a 1/4 acre, you can harvest:

  • 1400 eggs
  • 50 lbs of wheat
  • 60 lbs of fruit
  • 2000 lbs of vegetables
  • 280 lbs of pork
  • 75 lbs of nuts

The Backyard Homestead is a great book.

My only complaint (I have to complain about something – no matter how trivial) is that some of the suppliers mentioned are no longer in business. This can be expected as businesses come and go and any such listing is guaranteed to become dated. This isn’t a big deal as other sources and alternatives are easy to find.

I also thought it strange that there were no plans for composting or homemade composters. This isn’t a big deal as this info is all over the web and detailed in just about any book on gardening or homesteading.

Would I recommend this book? Yes; I would.

It is a gold mine of information for those of us homesteading on small acreage.

What about you?

What books would you recommend for those homesteading on a small plot of land?

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June 22, 2010

M.D. Creekmore [send him mail] is a full-time blogger and preparedness consultant. He currently lives completely off-grid somewhere in the Appalachian mountains and is currently working on his upcoming book The Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat for Paladin Press. To connect with M.D. Creekmore please visit his Survival Blog.