Feeding yourself and growing your own food is a wonderful but sometimes frustrating endeavor. So the search always goes on for better ways to grow things. Gardening is one of those things about which you can never know everything there is to know. So every once in a while I get a few new gardening books and bury my nose in them to soak up every bit of wisdom I can.
In my effort to build my backyard garden, I have kind of let my front yard get overgrown. So in order to keep on good standing with the neighbors, I decided it needed a good sprucing up. But I hate to put a lot of work into plants that I can’t eat. So I’ve started researching edible landscaping. I often talk about my walking buddies Pam and Vicki. We get out each morning and try to beat back the ravages of time. They are great ladies and we are mutual sounding boards for all things gardening and homesteading. A few weeks ago Vicki clued me into a book she had just read about a lady feeding herself on 1/4 acre of land. She had really enjoyed it. So I bought a copy along with a couple of other books to get some inspiration. After reading them I thought you might be interested in them for your summer reading too. So here is a sneak peak inside.
First I want to say, the opinions written here are all my own. But if you like what you see here, and would like to read these books, you can click on the links and purchase your own. If you do, at no additional cost to you, I will get a small compensation. That is what keeps this blog going. So I thank you in advance.
“The Quarter-Acre Farm” by Spring Warren.
Have you ever thought about feeding yourself on 1/4 acre lot? That’s what Spring Warren decided to try to do. She wanted her quarter acre lot to provide 75% of the food she would eat. She was wise enough not to go for 100% as it’s hard to grow that much grain in such a small space, and she didn’t want to give up chocolate. Wise woman indeed. There is information about learning to eat what is growing at the time, even if the only thing in the garden is zucchini! And she tells about trying to convince here family to join her. This was indeed a fun book to read. Spring is a great story teller and had me captivated to find out what adventure was around the next corner. Included are some wonderful sounding recipes that I have just got to try! I was disappointed about the lack of practical information on how to grow all this food or how much she actually needed to grow. She admits some of her food came from friends and neighbors fruit and nut trees, but it was still a fun and inspiring book to read.
“The Edible Front Yard” by Ivette Soler
For all you visual learners out there, this book is for you. This is full of some of the most beautiful photographs of edible landscaping. It is quite thorough on the subject. Ivette talks about everything from building the soil to checking local setbacks and zoning laws. She covers hardscaping (fences, trellises and raised beds), and choosing the right plant, both for your environment and for beauty. Possible color combinations and the use of groupings is also covered. She goes over types of trees and bushes and explains how to prune or espalier fruit trees for use in small spaces. The photos of these are just beautiful.
One of my favorite parts was the lettuce lawn. It’s a much better use for all that green space, but alas, I’m afraid my husband just wont go for it. But seeing the photos of the combinations of plants definitely gives you some good ideas. Whether for a small area or your whole yard, this book will get the creative juices flowing for an Edible Front Yard.
“Mini Farming -Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre” By Brett L. Markham
If I was only allowed 2 gardening books, (my worst nightmare) this would be one of the two.
Brett Markham was as thorough, and yet easy to understand, as I have ever seen. This book starts with the soil and ends with preserving and selling the harvest. With copious amounts of meat (or I guess that should be vegetables) in between. He goes in depth into plant nutrients, irrigation, pest and disease control, starting seeds, properly saving seeds and extending the season. There are discussions on the economics of growing your own food and what doesn’t make economic sense. He uses step by step photos to help explain everything from double digging to building a hoop house. There are even a couple chapters on raising chickens.
Brett is an organic gardener, but he also explains non organic methods so you can understand and make informed decisions about how you want to raise your food. He is very well informed about many different methods, and is not preachy that his way is the only way. He puts everything out there so you can make the best choices with your own 1/4 acre mini farm. If you want a blueprint of how to feed yourself on 1/4 acre, this is the one. I highly recommend this book.
Brett Markham has now updated the book to incorporate 4 more books into one (score!) For just a few bucks more you get everything I mentioned above PLUS composting, fermenting and more!
P.S. You also might like to check out these other gardening books that I have and enjoy. (hint: one of them is the other of the two must haves.)
Have A Ducky Day!