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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)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  4,829 ratings  ·  349 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.

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Paperback, 368 pages
Published February 11th 2009 by Storey Publishing, LLC
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Nov 20, 2019 marked it as to-read
My sister has expressed an interest in "homesteading." Do you have a favorite book about homesteading that I could buy her for Christmas? My sister would like to stead a home. She's gonna farm. She's gonna live off the grid. She's gonna be one of those people who keep chickens for like two months until they realize that it's hard and annoying.

She just announced this recently, that she's into homesteading, particularly with regards to "the camp in Canada," which I've literally never heard of - h
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
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
Dec 09, 2017 marked it as to-read
A good overview book.
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good overview of a lot of different homesteading practices. More of a beginner's guide.
Apr 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really good guide, very informative. Just didn't all apply to our situation (bill wont ket me get chickens and making yogurt sounds smelly) but really enjoyed the gardening aspect!
Eleanor Bragdon
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Very informational, great place to start.
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great resource for homesteading. Some of the solutions are "ask a local" because everything can vary depending on where you live.
May 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
This one is a good starting point for beginning homesteaders and/or gardeners.
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! ...more
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.
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.
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! ...more
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. ‎
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.
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:)
Aug 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: gardening
Great jumping off point for gardening and self-efficient practices. Wish it had more information about organic gardening though.
Will defiantly need to refer to this book time and time again.
Jul 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recession, home, top-picks
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
Doris Raines
Apr 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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“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
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