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The Essential Urban Farmer

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  256 ratings  ·  27 reviews
The "how-to" guide for a new generation of farmers from the author of Farm City and a leading urban garden educator. In this indispensable guide, Farm City author Novella Carpenter and Willow Rosenthal share their experience as successful urban farmers and provide practical blueprints-complete with rich visual material-for novice and experienced growers looking to bring th ...more
Paperback, 592 pages
Published December 27th 2011 by Penguin Group
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 ·  256 ratings  ·  27 reviews

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Apr 07, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: library
Skimmed through most of it. Was more for starting garden from nothing. I was looking for info on vertical gardening and small space gardening.
Nov 24, 2018 added it
Information overload.

Eventually, I'll get really serious about my tiny garden plot and use this guide to help me recondition the soil and all the rest. Until then, I'll just be dreaming about a composting toilet in the backyard and saving urine to make fertilizer.
Kathryn Kochunas
Sep 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great book. Well written and covers the basics from day one to harvest (be it vegetable or animal). The authors' enthusiasm makes this an interesting read, especially in reflection after a first year's garden. They don't endorse anything rash, however, and stress responsible decision making. This was a great read and wi be an invaluable reference as I expand some of my ventures. ...more
Aug 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
I didn't realize this was going to be a complete guide to farming/gardening - glad I got it though! I'll keep an eye out for a cheap version to buy - it's a really good reference to own. Lots of applicable info on front yard and container gardening. ...more
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gardening
This book is probably more appropriate to suburban than urban environments.
I don't see things like fruit trees, bees, goats, greenhouses and outdoor washing stations going over well/being possible in the city. I have a suburban house and bee keeping seems a bit self-centered even here.

That being said, there is a good amount of useful information for suburban farmers here.
There is a bit less of a focus on gardening techniques than I'd like, but there are tons of other useful information such as
Al Lock
I'm not sure that what is described in this book should really be called farming (unless on a very small scale) but there is lots of useful information contained within this book (although a lot of it is repetitive). ...more
Jun 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Practical and comprehensive.
Jerry Cheung
Feb 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
An in-depth and broad coverage of the authors' experiences at farming in an urban setting. The term "urban farming" annoys me with it's hipster connotations, but the book was genuine in tone and advice. It reads fine sequentially, but I find it more valuable as a reference book -- picking and choosing sections as questions come up. It covers site selection, preparation, growing high yield and high value vegetables in small spaces, bee keeping, rabbits, and goats. I skipped the animal section bec ...more
Jan 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a truly essential guide. Written with great experience and wry humor, this book has detailed information on just about every topic you can think of in urban agriculture, and what's beyond the scope of this volume, the authors give clear ideas about where to find more information. It's already improved my garden. I need to get my own copy instead of just borrowing the library's. I can't recommend this book enough if urban farming is your thing. ...more
Ellen Bell
Jun 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is the most comprehensive book I think I've ever read on any specific topic. It is almost an encyclopedia of sorts, covering every aspect imaginable of gardening/farming in an urban setting. For anyone who is serious about growing or raising their own food and doing so in an organic, sustainable way, I would highly recommend this book! I checked it out through the library, but this is one volume that I will likely purchase to add to my gardening reference collection. ...more
Nina Carter
Sep 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
I've just begun this book, and I'm already seeing some really practical and great ideas. I did find the yield described for 3 hives ODD, since I would expect close to 48 liters out of one strong hive. ...more
Yvonne Loveday
Jun 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Great reference. Love Novella.
Feb 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book has SO much good information! Very well written and easy to understand. I learned some things about seed starting, and plant anatomy!
Apr 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Essential to anyone involved in urban farming. I love this enough that I have both the print and kindle version as I feel it will be a constant reference as we build Urbanstead.
May 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: farm, green
Tons of useful, practical information.
Aug 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Mucho useful. An excellent reference in its own right. A great springboard to a lot of other more in depth sources.
Jun 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A solid reference book for urban farming - easily rivals Carl Emery's classic homesteading tome, but with a more science-based and environmental focus. Good for novices and experienced land lovers. ...more
Apr 13, 2012 added it
Jun 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
So informative. Great reference guide.
Jun 13, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: gardening
Mills College Library
635.977 C296 2011
May 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Chock full of inspiration & information!
Nov 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: gave-up, non-fic
too generic
Jan 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Novella Carpenter is an inspiration! Read Farm City too!
Tanya Marquardt
rated it it was amazing
Feb 26, 2018
rated it it was amazing
Jun 20, 2020
Booklass Garrahan
rated it liked it
Dec 25, 2016
rated it it was amazing
Feb 22, 2012
rated it liked it
Jun 07, 2015
Sandra Štasselová
rated it really liked it
Mar 14, 2015
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Novella Carpenter grew up in rural Idaho and Washington State. She majored in biology and English at the University of Washington in Seattle. While attending Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, she studied under Michael Pollan for two years. Her urban farm began with a few chickens, then some bees, until she had a full-blown farm near downtown Oakland.

Author photo courtesy of author website.

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