The Backyard Homestead
For those who have limited gardening space, live in the suburbs, and dream of growing all of your own food, this is the compendium for you!
The Backyard Homestead prides itself on teaching you how to turn a quarter acre yard into a fully functional farm! On the back cover, this book boasts that a small yard can produce as much as 1,400 eggs, 50 pounds of wheat, 60 pounds of fruit, 2,000 pounds of vegetables, 280 pounds of pork, and 75 pounds of nuts. Though some of those totals may seem lofty, as you read through this book you will be empowered to achieve them!
The book begins by giving many examples of how to grow more in less space, giving great ideas for vertical growing, companion planting, and garden designing. Living in a cold climate, I very much appreciate the section about extending your growing season through greenhouses and cold frames. There is also a great chapter on starting seeds, perhaps the most crucial step in the gardening process.
Nearly every type of plant you would like to grow is touched upon in this book. Whether it's fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts - you will most likely find some great info here. It's full of charts, illustrations, and guides for caring for practically every staple.
A major part of being a homesteader is being able to preserve what you grow! Luckily, The Backyard Homestead knows this and there is a major section dedicated to just that. Learn to can, ferment, and store. You will find information for how to make wines, beer, vinegar, jams, jellies, preserves and more.
There is another quite large section dedicated to livestock. It covers many different kinds of poultry, goats, pigs, and even cows (though you may need more room for a bovine...). Likewise, all things dairy are in this amazing and concise book as well.
Nearly 400 pages of absolutely practical and vital information grace this wonderful book all about self-sufficiency in limited space. If you have a smaller garden and dream of being a homesteader, this is a perfect place to start.