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Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  1,660 ratings  ·  102 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 ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published April 1st 2010 by Skyhorse (first published December 1st 2006)
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Average rating 3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,660 ratings  ·  102 reviews

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Jan 02, 2011 rated it it was ok
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 ...more
Aaron Bolin
Apr 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 23, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Waste of a $7 for me. Everything I wanted to get out of the book was in 2 sentences :(
Josh Ritchie
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
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 ...more
Wes Martin
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Oct 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
Matt Sears
Jan 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
A good beginner's guide. I skipped some of the parts on chickens; maybe eventually.
Dec 15, 2017 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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.
Ian Tierney
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
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.
Stacey Hatfield
May 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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.
Carolyn Semple faucher
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-read, garden
Good book but I don’t think it’s worth owning. It’s just a bit too basic for me.
Aug 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lots of color photographs, and practical information. This is a good beginning book to get the basics of a variety of topics.
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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!
May 04, 2018 rated it liked it
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.
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top-10-favorites
Wow, this books is definitely the best gardening book I have read yet. Amazing information here and so pragmatic. Highly recommend!
Jul 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gardening
Very informative..will try some of his ideas
Apr 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Excellent! Highly recommend. I would give it 5 stars, but the section on preserving didn't break things down enough to be palatable.
Jeanne M. Umland
Excellent and detailed tutorial!

What a great resource for any interested in learning about mini farming or those who may be amateurs, like myself, who want to keep learning.
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
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!
Mar 30, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: growing, 2011
I think I really enjoyed this book because it feeds into my most basic desire - that it is possible to quit your job and support your family on a small plot of land. The economics and math here are a little bit fuzzy, but essentially, if you make $30,000 a year or less, you could/can reduce your expenses and make enough money on 1/4 of an acre to get by. It sounds preposterous, and I haven't lived it enough to say whether it's possible for most people, but it seems, well, at least not completely ...more
May 01, 2015 rated it liked it
This book, in all aspects, is a very short textbook. If you're looking for something that's completely in-depth and reads more like a book, I don't think this is the perfect fit for you. If you're a mostly total beginner like I am, you'll probably get some helpful info like I did.

Gardening was something I was introduced to during a long hospitalization. Mostly I was introduced to how much I loved gardening -- it was good emotional and physical therapy for me!

I recently decided that I wanted to
Sep 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: food, gardening
There are many parts of this book that I feel needed to go into greater depth, but at other moments, Markham breaks down processes in ways that other books I've read on the topic fail to. I appreciate that Markham expects his readership to be tech-literate and rather than repeating everyone else's research, supplies suggestions as to where we can find the information we may want in a convenient manner. At times it felt like I was reading a personal blog more than a guide to mini-farming, and the ...more
Oct 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Markham does an excellent job of giving general information concerning self-sufficiency with regard to food production. The information is not regionally specialized which makes the book useful for anyone considering a major lifestyle change that includes true self sufficiency. The gist is to use raised beds, start slow and use intensive agriculture methods that make the most efficient use of space. An extra plus is that Markham includes a few short chapters on raising (and slaughtering) ...more
Sergiu Burlacu
Mar 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Even though this book provides a good overview on how to use garden space more efficiently, I was disappointed with how impersonal the style is. When I am reading a gardening book I expect to see the joy and enthusiasm of being in nature and growing your own food. Moreover, his approach to organic agriculture seems to require a dependency on expensive non-renewable resources with a high carbon print which is not the way I imagine sustainable agriculture. I have seen so many inspiring gardeners ...more
Oct 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Markham delivers a general overview of mini farming. He covers a broad range of topics. My advice to anyone wanting to live a life leading to self-sufficiency farming is to pick and choose from this book. Start out small. If you read it with the mindset that you would like to do everything that Markham discusses, you will become overwhelmed quickly. The book is also an interesting, informative read for anyone who wants to know more about mini farming, what's involved, and how it is accomplished.
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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.
“Using 4-feet × 8-feet beds, that would be 22 beds per person or 66 for a family of three.” 0 likes
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