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The Backyard Homestead: Produce All the Food You Need on Just a Quarter Acre!
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The Backyard Homestead: Produce All the Food You Need on Just a Quarter Acre!

(The Backyard Homestead)

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  4,516 ratings  ·  321 reviews
This comprehensive guide to homesteading provides all the information you need to grow and preserve a sustainable harvest of grains and vegetables; raise animals for meat, eggs, and dairy; and keep honey bees for your sweeter days. With easy-to-follow instructions on canning, drying, and pickling, you’ll enjoy your backyard bounty all winter long.
Paperback, 368 pages
Published February 11th 2009 by Storey Publishing, LLC
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4.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,516 ratings  ·  321 reviews

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This book didn't work for me for a number of reasons...

1. This book tries to do the old "everything for everyone" feat, and fails. Too many topics are (attempted to be) covered in the single volume, so that each is dealt with only superficially.

2. Related to the first issue, topics are given uneven consideration. Container gardening was given 1.5 pages. Choosing the right breed for laying/meat chickens was given 5. I'd bet good money that the number of people who would be interested in (and abl
Gwen the Librarian
Mar 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I've been reading and playing around with this book for the last month and I really love it. The tone is totally accessible for those interested in gardening, raising grains, or animal husbandry. The author shows how to make the most of small spaces from 1/10 acre up to 1/2 acre. I used her raised bed diagrams to plan my own and suggestions about what things to plant next to each other. I'm thinking about getting a couple of chickens on my city property and she has great advice about that too. T ...more
Mark Geiger
Nov 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Although not a definitive guide to how to do everything to raise your own food, this book does touch on the basics, and gives you an idea of what to do and what is needed. After that, you can use some of the many other resources that are listed to get into whatever depth level you wish.

That said, this is an eye-opening, very enjoyable book, one that shows just how easy itcan be to grow at least some of one's own food. I recently moved to a more rural area with just that in mind, but had no exper
Aug 23, 2009 rated it liked it
This is a good book for helping you to understand the potential of the lanscape that's available to you. There are some good tips on which vegetables, fruits, and herbs grow best in which climate regions, information on how to utilize space, and other helpful information.

There are also pieces on making your own ice cream, apple cider, beer, wine, maple syrup, and other seasonal treats. However, I felt as though the author didn't go into enough detail or offer alternatives for folks that don't ow
Mar 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I'm ashamed to admit it, but graphic design, pretty colors, attention to fonts (type and size), nice line drawings, and boxed quotes in the margins made me eat this book right up.

Funny thing is, the content is not much better than that of Deliberate Life, but I gave it 2 more stars....

Things I learned in this book:

I can get my Brussels sprouts to get bigger by picking the leaves off the plant once the sprouts have developed. *THAT'S* how they do it....

It's too bad I don't drink beer, because ma
I just finished flicking through this one again, and I'm dreaming of a slightly bigger piece of land, no hoa, and miniature dairy goats...

I love this book. It really gets you excited about the potential of your backyard. It works as a quick primer for growing vegetables, making your own wine, cheese, and all sorts of great things, but the information on each of these topics doesn't get too deep. If you really want to know how to make wine, for example, you can read the section in here first to s
Apr 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to be more self sufficient.
Recommended to Stephanie by: Amy R
This book is awesome. It's just what I needed. This was a gift to me from a friend and it is such a great resource. The second me and my husband picked this sucker up we started making improvements to our property. This book is never on my bookshelf, its outside with us, in my truck or on the kitchen counter. It provides just enough information for you to do it yourself. Many different projects and subjects in this book, but it doesn't leave you wanting - its not a complete encyclopedia on each ...more
Dec 09, 2017 marked it as to-read
A good overview book.
Mar 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This was a little too basic for me but I appreciated it as a general overview of options and as a jumping off point. Yes, you will definitely need more detailed books if you want to pursue any of this stuff. And, it really does not cover any of the problems you will definitely encounter. But, I think that's a helpful thing for beginners! Who wants to read about every single plant disease and pest right away? Just try some of this shit and see what happens. That's definitely more useful. THEN you ...more
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good overview of a lot of different homesteading practices. More of a beginner's guide.
Michelle Lines
Apr 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Going off the grid is still a pipe dream, but in the meantime, I'm working on learning on all the skills. Great intro level book. Current mission --> convince Morgan that raising our own rabbits for chow mein is a brilliant idea, because well, it is!
Mrs Robin
Dec 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Backyard Homestead is an excellent resource for homesteaders of all stages. If you're a beginner you will definitely appreciate it as there is so much information in it. If you're an advanced homesteader than the book will serve more as a valuable resource for you to occasionally glance over and refresh your memory with. Within the covers lies a well of knowledge. The beginning includes some handy illustrations showing you how much food you can produce on one tenth of an acre, on a quarter a ...more
Stephanie Johnson
Nov 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book could be the only one that I need for my homesteading project. It is detailed enough to get you started and then I believe that your own experiences would get you through more and more. I was very interested in the goat section as I have only even owned one goat and she was never kidded nor milked. The chicken section was less than my current knowledge but it did raise some good points for beginners. I think this is an excellent book to start with if you have some knowledge but not a l ...more
Jul 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who wants to live as self-sufficiently as possible.
What a wonderful reference for living as sustainably as possible on your own land - even if you only have a quarter acre! Although I cannot have livestock or even chickens in my city, this book provided a wealth of information about gardening, preserving, making cheese, growing and processing grains, baking bread, even brewing beer. I purchased this book to learn about gardening, and I was not disappointed. It has a handy reference for planting and caring for many kinds of veggies, fruits, nuts, ...more
Jul 21, 2009 rated it liked it
I was disappointed in the Readers-Digest-type format of the book. Just when you get some good information, it's time to move on to something else. Plus, I'm not sure that I trust the accuracy of the information - there are much better guides (especially for animal care) out there. Lastly, I think this book would have been more useful if I lived in Massachusetts instead of in the south. Very little information about southern gardening; tons of info on cold-weather gardening. So, while this was so ...more
May 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
When I think of homesteading, I think of being able to feed myself and of being self-sustaining. If that's your goal, I think John Seymour's "The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It" is a better choice.

It's not that this is a bad book, but it covers just the very basics. It's very easy to read and goes quickly, but I would never use this as a reference guide. On the other hand, John Seymour's book is almost all you need.
Mar 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is the first spring where I have a backyard and am planting a garden and I really love this book. Filled with great information and a great reference book. I can't wait till I have more space available and can make beer & wine from home grown barley, hops and grapes. And a chicken coop. And maybe a goat. Oh the possibilities!
May 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book is wonderful if you have dreams of getting "back to the earth". Full of detailed information, this book is a great resource to use when planning your backyard homestead -- it covers everything from growing vegetables and fruit to canning, raising livestock, even butchering (just touched on, but there is a list of further resources listed in the back of the book). Highly recommend.
Jun 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
Inspiring as a basic overview of what can be done with a half acre lot.

Unfortunately, the authors seem to count on the whole lot being usable and had no section on ecology or integration of natural ecosystems with your homestead.
La Fay
Mar 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I picked this up at the library, but it's definitely one I'm going to have to buy to keep around the house.
Excellent instructions on how to do basically everything, from picking the right plants for your zone to making your own beer.
Jul 16, 2012 rated it it was ok
Too basic to be of much use. Try the Encyclopedia of Country Living instead.
Apr 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read it and read it and read it again. And I'll continue to use this as a resource each spring and an inspiration each winter:)
Will defiantly need to refer to this book time and time again.
Jul 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: home, top-picks, recession
Every once in a great, great while I come across a book I want to give to everyone. This is one of them. I am in an apartment, but I am still using this book (and my standard-size balcony/kitchen counter) to grow limes, thyme, oregano, basil, rosemary, mint, pennyroyal, and aloe. I want to add lemons, tomatoes, peppers, and garlic and amazingly it just might all fit (and that's with a table and two chairs out here). I could easily see getting carried away enough to remove the door to the balcony ...more
Dec 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If you are looking to start a homestead, BUY THIS BOOK!

There is just so much indispensible information here. Of course, with the internet, a lot of this stuff could just be googled, but having all of that information in one place, from one source, whenever you need it, is always nice.

Seriously, this thing has everything from growing herbs to cutting meat from a butchered animal to growing grapes to making your own beer. Really everything except for the building aspect of having a homestead is d
May 20, 2018 rated it liked it
A Beginner's Reference Book

This book provides a good starting point for someone interested in homesteading. It is full of a wide variety of information.

However, I was a bit disappointed. The author is not a homesteader. The majority of the book is just straight information. There is no personal touch or stories. The book fails to take into account that things go wrong on a homestead. Under ideal circumstances, someone might be able to meet the claims listed on the back cover. However, life is n
Alexis DeJonge
Aug 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Not really very helpful if you know nothing at all about gardening, which I don't. It was good from an overall picture, but didn't find it all that helpful in real life application. The book attempted to teach things such as how to build a raised garden bed, but I'd still have to watch a YouTube video or Google it for more detailed instructions, but then again, maybe other people are just better at following instructions...and smarter.
Nov 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent book for beginners to dive into starting their own backyard homestead, and I found it super-useful when I was getting started. I love the visuals for "How much food can you produce?" on one-tenth of an acre (where I got my start), a quarter acre, or a half acre. I also loved the chapter on backyard fruits and nuts, as it was really useful for selecting the right varieties of crops and planting them correctly. The section on "country wines" was a unique addition.
Oct 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Lots of helpful illustrations are included, but some color photos of actual plantings would have been helped demonstrate how the design features can be fit into small spaces to produce large amounts of food. A garden evolves over the seasons and years, so designs often evolve too. Photos over time can be very helpful in demonstrating changes. More attention to possible challenges which might be encountered with specific plants would have been helpful.
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hobbies
The book give a good overview on homesteading ,however it does not cover a lot of the topics deeply enough so one will have to refer to other books.I particularly liked the illustration for the 1/10th acre homestead layout as that is the normal size of a plot of land in my home country.Overall ,I enjoyed the book.
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Madison Mega-Mara...: backyard homestead 1 4 Apr 26, 2012 06:03PM  
  • Back to Basics: A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills
  • The Backyard Homestead Guide To Raising Farm Animals
  • The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-sufficient Living in the Heart of the City (Process Self-Reliance Series)
  • The Encyclopedia of Country Living
  • The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It: The Complete Back-To-Basics Guide
  • Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners
  • Country Wisdom & Know-How: A Practical Guide to Living off the Land
  • Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits  Vegetables
  • Fresh Food from Small Spaces: The Square-Inch Gardener's Guide to Year-Round Growing, Fermenting, and Sprouting
  • Gardening When It Counts: Growing Food in Hard Times
  • Edible Landscaping
  • Food Not Lawns: How to Turn Your Yard Into a Garden and Your Neighborhood Into a Community
  • Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre
  • The Winter Harvest Handbook: Four Season Vegetable Production Using Deep-Organic Techniques and Unheated Greenhouses
  • Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces
  • Little House in the Suburbs: Backyard Farming and Home Skills for Self-Sufficient Living
  • Urban Homesteading: Heirloom Skills for Sustainable Living
  • Toolbox for Sustainable City Living: A Do-It-Ourselves Guide

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The Backyard Homestead (4 books)
  • The Backyard Homestead Book of Building Projects: 76 Useful Things You Can Build to Create Customized Working Spaces and Storage Facilities, Equip the Garden, Store the Harvest, House Your Animals, and Make Practical Outdoor Furniture
  • The Backyard Homestead Guide To Raising Farm Animals
  • The Backyard Homestead Book of Kitchen Know-How: Field-to-Table Cooking Skills
“While the list of easiest crops varies from region to region, there are a few super-simple standouts. Radishes and green beans top most gardeners’ “no-fail” lists. Other easy crops include cucumbers, summer squash, zucchini, garlic, leaf lettuce, snap peas, Swiss chard, and kale. Tomatoes are a bit more difficult but not by much. The newer compact hybrid tomatoes developed for patio culture are especially easy. Start small” 1 likes
“Know Your Vegetable Groups! Brassicas cabbage, kale, broccoli, collards, cauliflower, kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts Leafy Greens spinach, chard, lettuce Legumes peas, beans, limas Nightshades peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants Root Vegetables beets, carrots, turnips, salsify, parsnips, radishes, rutabagas, onions, garlic, leeks Vine Crops cucumbers, melons, squash” 0 likes
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