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Old 05-10-2009, 05:31 PM
 
Location: London, United Kingdom
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Can anyone recommend any (relatively) recent books (published in the last thirty years) on small scale (less than 10 ac) farming?
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Old 05-10-2009, 07:55 PM
 
Location: SW Missouri
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Originally Posted by john gunn View Post
Can anyone recommend any (relatively) recent books (published in the last thirty years) on small scale (less than 10 ac) farming?
Due to the prevalence of the mentality that urban and suburban living is highly preferential to living on a small holding in the country, you will find that there have not been many GOOD publications that have come out during the past 30 years. You would be well advised to check out some of the older publications (some of which are available online free). Some that come to mind are "Five Acres and Independence" by Maurice G. Kains (available at abebooks.com for $3.45 plus shopping), "Two Acres and Freedom" by Baker, J O (Also available at abebooks.com for $9.78 plus shipping). There is also the "Have More Plan", which is quite old, but has a wealth of information.

Other good books would be:

1. Back To Basics - Readers Digest.

2. The Encyclopedia of Country Living - Carla Emory.

3. Root Cellaring - Natural Cold Storage of Fruits & Vegetables - Mike Bubel, Nancy Bubel.

4. Barnyard In Your Backyard - Gail Damerow editor.

5. Storey's Guide to Raising Dairy Goats: Breeds, Care, Dairying - Jerry Belanger (Any of the Storey's Guides to raising anything (pigs, chickens, sheep, ducks, etc.,))

6. Storey's Guide To Raising Chickens: Care/feeding/Facilities - Gael Damerow.

7.. Practical Poultry Keeping - David Bland.

8. Raising Animals By The Moon - Louise Riotte.

9. Carrots Love Tomatoes and Roses Love Garlic - Louise Riotte

Just to name a few.

20yrsinBranson
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Old 05-10-2009, 10:03 PM
 
Location: Middle America
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Absolutely the Reader's Digest Back to Basics book, if it's still in print. My parents had the original edition, they were very DIY and live-off the land back in the late seventies/early eighties. I wore that book OUT as a kid growing up with parents who preferred time-honored ways of doing things on our small farm.

I'm so glad you wrote that, that's exactly what I was thinking of. What a great book! I learned so much from it, and as a little girl living on a farm, found so many neat things to do and try in it! I wish I had my own copy!
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Old 05-11-2009, 05:04 AM
 
1,297 posts, read 3,158,802 times
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Originally Posted by john gunn View Post
Can anyone recommend any (relatively) recent books (published in the last thirty years) on small scale (less than 10 ac) farming?
Depending upon what you are looking for, books may or may not be a good source to turn to for help. While my recent farm venture has been on a bit bigger scale then 10 acres, I have found the internet/forums to be my best information because you can sort of draw a conclusion from numerous sources instead of one rather biased opinion from one author, or limited group of authors.

If you are truly looking to farm and not merely homestead (there is a VAST difference between the two), then you must keep in mind that many of the authors of these books are using writing to supplement their farm income. That unto itself is not a bad thing, but if you plan to reenact their blueprint then one must also duplicate the off-farm income as well. It does not have to be via writing per se, but you must definately calculate in doing something off-farm to have a similiar income and way of life.

In other words, if these people were truly doing well at farming the way they do it, then they should be working even harder to do more in the way of farming and not merely writing about what they do. They should be building more root cellars, clearing more land, or at the very least building up their soil via compost. There is a lot to do on a farm, and certainly in any season.

As far as livestock goes, I have found the book Grass Fed Beef to be helpful. It looked at every aspect of raising beef from conception to freezer and in a whole new way. I enjoyed looking outside the box on every aspect a lot. A few of the techniques were not able to be reproduced in my state, and certainly the canadian quota system where the author was from, is far different then the marketing system here, but all in all it was a good book and could be used by a small farmer/homesteader.

My point on that last paragraph is truly important. No matter what book you read, you should be critical of it and then try to arrange the parts that will work for your farm/homestead and those that do not. It is a very silly person who reads something and then tries to make their farm conform to that style of farming. One should always strive to make the farming style, commodity and livestock MATCH the farm, and not the other way around. Reading books and doing research on different methods of farming will help you develop a farm/homestead plan and will ensure a higher rate of success, but nothing will sink a farm/homestead faster then copying a farm plan from another.
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Old 05-11-2009, 09:29 AM
 
Location: London, United Kingdom
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Quote:
If you are truly looking to farm and not merely homestead (there is a VAST difference between the two), then you must keep in mind that many of the authors of these books are using writing to supplement their farm income. That unto itself is not a bad thing, but if you plan to reenact their blueprint then one must also duplicate the off-farm income as well. It does not have to be via writing per se, but you must definately calculate in doing something off-farm to have a similiar income and way of life.
Ok, FYI I'm considering hobby farming as an addition to my income as a writer rather than relying soley on farm income.

All your suggestions seem interesting but there was a book about farming on less than 5 (or was it two) acres that I saw favourably mentioned in another thread that I was going to buy but I forgot its name. It was published in the last 15 years and written by a female author (I know this is a very vague description!).

UPDATE: The book that I seem to have been thinking about was Storey's Basic Country Skills: A Practical Guide to Self-Reliance. Anyway, if there are any other books that people would recommend - or if you think the above book is good (or bad) I'd really like to know!

Last edited by john gunn; 05-11-2009 at 10:32 AM..
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Old 05-11-2009, 11:33 AM
 
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I have always used the "rule of thumb" in seeking advice---------if someone won't share what he has tried that did NOT work in addition to what IS working for him----I usually disregard his advice.

Many times one can learn more from a person's failures / what to avoid than you can from an overly optomistic person who claims EVERYTHING they tried was a success.
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Old 05-11-2009, 02:27 PM
 
Location: London, United Kingdom
84 posts, read 300,166 times
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Quote:
I have always used the "rule of thumb" in seeking advice---------if someone won't share what he has tried that did NOT work in addition to what IS working for him----I usually disregard his advice.

Many times one can learn more from a person's failures / what to avoid than you can from an overly optomistic person who claims EVERYTHING they tried was a success.
Good point. Are there any books that I should avoid then?
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Old 05-11-2009, 02:47 PM
 
Location: North Cackelacky....in the hills.
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John Seymour's book is quite handy:

Amazon.com: The Self-sufficient Life and How to Live It: John Seymour: Books

As is Gene Logsdon's 'The Contrary Farmer':
Amazon.com: The Contrary Farmer (Real Goods Independent Living Book): Gene Logsdon: Books
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Old 05-12-2009, 02:40 AM
 
1,297 posts, read 3,158,802 times
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Originally Posted by marmac View Post
I have always used the "rule of thumb" in seeking advice---------if someone won't share what he has tried that did NOT work in addition to what IS working for him----I usually disregard his advice.

Many times one can learn more from a person's failures / what to avoid than you can from an overly optomistic person who claims EVERYTHING they tried was a success.
That is an excellent point Marmac.

There was a guy on another forum regarding sheep and no matter what the issue, whatever he did always turned out the best. For instance he used others peoples land to graze and got the landowners to pay for fencing. He raised grass fed beef and got an enormously high price. He sold unpasteurized milk from his cows to locals and claimed he was getting $60 a hundred weight for it...all in the same state of Maine that I live in. (???)

He seemed to dispense a lot of rosy information there for awhile on anything and everything, but now he is suddenly quiet and not saying much.

As for the original poster though. I see nothing wrong with remaining small. Myself I have never done this, but I would think the only way to get production up on a small land base would be to increase your yields. Since you cannot do that by getting bigger, you would have to increase the yield through a longer growing season. That could be done with hoop houses (low cost/unheated greenhouses) and it is being done. Certainly what you save in not buying additional farmland you could invest in hoop houses.

It makes sense, but as we have discussed on here a lot, its also something a lot of other people are already doing via CSA's and truck gardens. Whether the market is saturated or not is still up to debate I guess.

MY only other thought is that a person doing this would really have to chose their livestock well, assuming they wanted their own self-raised meat.
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