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Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  1,857 ratings  ·  125 reviews
Mini Farming describes a holistic approach to small-area farming that will show you how to produce 85 percent of an average family's food on just a quarter acre—and earn $10,000 in cash annually while spending less than half the time that an ordinary job would require. Even if you have never been a farmer or a gardener, this book covers everything you need to know to get s ...more
Kindle Edition, 240 pages
Published April 1st 2010 by Skyhorse Publishing (first published December 1st 2006)
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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 ·  1,857 ratings  ·  125 reviews

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I found this book much less satisfying than others of its type (Backyard Homestead and The New Self-Sufficient Gardener are better). The chapters were basically an outline of what should be covered, but the coverage of various topics, from compost to accounting, often left a lot to be desired. The thing which sets this book apart from others is its focus on the economics of mini-farming. The back cover says that this book: "will show you how to produce 85 percent of an average family's food on j ...more
Nov 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is fantastic. It's to the point, and its illustrations and helpful advice get you through the seasons and on your way to self sufficiency. It was first recommended to me by a young man in Asheville, NC who had devoted himself to a plot of land which eventually grew into a large enough farm to support volunteers who wanted to learn about farming naturally, and being self sufficient on the land you have.

I bought the digital version of this book years ago, and was very excited to win the
Sep 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The hardest part about doing something where you're still relatively new to it: Figuring out what you still don't know. If you're in that place with gardening, this fills in a lot of holes and then points you to where you need to learn more. There were also lots of little tricks that probably used to be handed down parent to child in farming communities but were lost when family farms changed.

This was a great overview of an enormous number of aspects to running a high-yield garden. It also expl
Aaron Bolin
Apr 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book expecting a good general overview based on the cover and table of contents. In my opinion, Markham delivers exactly what the cover promises. Because he covers a lot of topics, the level of detail is broad and focused around general knowledge: gardening, raising poultry, food storage, etc.

In terms of criticism, the level of detail is sometimes at too high a level to be useful. At other times, the author goes very deep into tagental topics.

Overall, I liked the book and feel like
Oct 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mini Farming is probably the beginner book I'll start to recommend to aspiring gardeners. It still tells you to use a lot of storebought materials, but it's better than Square Foot Gardening. Nothing really there for the intermediate or advanced reader though. ...more
Matt Sears
Jan 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good beginner's guide. I skipped some of the parts on chickens; maybe eventually. ...more
Jul 23, 2017 rated it did not like it
Waste of a $7 for me. Everything I wanted to get out of the book was in 2 sentences :(
Josh Ritchie
Borrowed this from the library with expectations on how-to details across the spectrum of chapters. Most of the chapters lacked much depth into the topics and I felt it to be a general read without learning much. The book does cover raising and harvesting chickens in greater depth than the other topics, in case that’s something you’re interested in. The book has a few good tables on seeding timing, blanching timing for some vegetables, etc, as a quick reference, however I’ll be referring to othe ...more
Lady Saga
Oct 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Book offers a great overview of things to look out for when growing vegetables. I honestly forgot to take the soil quality into consideration when initially setting up the garden planing. I wished the book would have gone a little bit more into detail as far as set up of the garden itself. Nice beginner overview but it seems like I have to get 10 books to bits and piece my garden together.
Wes Martin
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As if I wasn't excited enough for gardening this spring, I read Mini Farming by Brett Markham. This book is a comprehensive guide to all aspects of mini farming, including soil treatment, intensive organic farming methods, crop selection, seed-saving, raising chickens, food preservation...the list goes on. The author even includes plans and supply lists for a homemade thresher and chicken plucker! Now I have grandiose plans for multiple raised beds and expansion of my own little 1/4 acre. If you ...more
Sarah Mcbride
Jan 28, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lots of basic useful information with good instruction and illustration. I’m excited for spring and new garden beds!!!!
Dec 15, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
I've been growing veggies for years and am always learning. Not looking to grow enough to sell, but am always looking to learn a thing or two. This book touches on a lot of subjects and doesn't promise answers, but is perfect for beginnes

I give it 4/5 because it says right from the beginning that it's not going to have your answers and that you need to take this and learn from it what you can and investigate more. I would have dropped that amount to 3/5 if this was more of a "this is the greates
Felicity Fields
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Factual, detailed read

This is a "just the facts" guide to everything I wanted to know about mini-farming. I was initially put off by the lack of personality in the writing. But having taken a break from this book to read one with lots of personality and very little information, I have a new appreciation for the author's direct informative writing style. I learned a lot about plants, gardening, and preserving and found this book a useful primer.
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very informative book for anyone wanting to farm on small acreage. I was impressed with all the information that it contained. It gave me some new ideas on how to improve my small garden. It covered a lot if different issues and even had some recipes for canning items. This book will have a place on my bookshelf for many years to come. I would recommend it to anyone.
Sep 24, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some good info

There were some useful bits of information in this book but obviously its intended for people who want to operate on a larger scale than an allotment. Also, it’s a US book so all if the website and store recommendations are useless for the UK, certain other things like measurements and US pests etc.
Machon N Ross
Sep 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book gives you a lot of information about some popular crops. I was excited about all the things you can grow on 1/4 acre. I currently have a raised bed garden and went overboard but it was nice to know I was on the right track. Good information about bugs and a good amount of information on soil PH. I would recommend this book to a new gardener.
Bram De La Selva
Dec 25, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mycollection
I find this book very unsatisfying. It is full of contradictions, sometimes within the same paragraph, rarely goes for an in-depth treatment of a topic, and offers a lot of unsustainable advice without the author seeming to be aware of it. Also the unnecessarily heavy, glossy format and the fact that it was printed in China (for the US market) rubs me the wrong way.
Apr 07, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great overview on sustainable farming via intensive agriculture, broadly covering everything you need to know to start a new mini-farm or garden. I really enjoyed that the author took the time to explain other schools of thought and techniques before elaborating on his chosen methods (for example, tilling vs no-tilling). Will definitely be referencing this book in the future!
Stacey Hatfield
May 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love the idea of a good reference book about gardening. It encourages you to get out and try your hand at it.

The book goes through every area of farming in general. At every stage of it. The more you do it. the better you get.
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good primer

This is an excellent first book on gardening and farming, but more experienced gardeners (such as myself) might find it lacking in detail at times. I give the author extra props for linking his citations to his bibliography; it also made him a more credible expert.
Ian Tierney
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the economics perspective provided by this book that kept it interesting and yet practical for application of its principles. This book covers more than I bargained for including raising chickens and preserving foods.
Sarah Aspacher
Mar 18, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a practical guide for your novice homesteader. It’s not just fluff and pretty pictures like some other similar books. He gives you a great starting point to actually put into practice what you’re learning.
Benoit Huméry
Apr 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Good overall introduction to mini farming. I really enjoyed the parts on building boxes.

Good overall introduction to mini farming. I really enjoyed the parts on building boxes. Easy to read and great ending.
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Some good ideas and inspiration, but not as much detail as I'd hoped for. This book gives a really brief overview of a lot of topics. Perhaps a more seasoned gardener/farmer would glean more from it. ...more
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent tips for everything from preparing your ground to preserving the food. Definitely a book worth having, especially if you have a family to take care of!
the book was interesting, but it was only a survey of what you could do. nice way to whet your whistle, but if you want step by step you'll want to look elsewhere. ...more
Jul 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gardening
Very informative..will try some of his ideas
Aug 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lots of color photographs, and practical information. This is a good beginning book to get the basics of a variety of topics.
Keith Wilson
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing book! I needed this to get moving on making our farm as side business into a reality. I'll be dissecting it for years to come! ...more
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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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