Backyard Farming on an Acre (More or Less)

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Overview

Plan and plant a successful and sustainable backyard farm — from a quarter acre to a full acre and beyond — right in your own backyard. By raising and harvesting their own fruits, vegetables, chickens, bees, milk-bearing animals, and more, people are growing locally, sustainably, and at a fraction of the cost.

Backyard Farming on an Acre (More or Less) is written by someone who has planned and run a successful small-scale farm. Angela England guides you through the essentials of...

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Backyard Farming on an Acre (More or Less)

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Overview

Plan and plant a successful and sustainable backyard farm — from a quarter acre to a full acre and beyond — right in your own backyard. By raising and harvesting their own fruits, vegetables, chickens, bees, milk-bearing animals, and more, people are growing locally, sustainably, and at a fraction of the cost.

Backyard Farming on an Acre (More or Less) is written by someone who has planned and run a successful small-scale farm. Angela England guides you through the essentials of planning a small farm — deciding what should be grown or raised, implementing proven, sustainable techniques, and maximizing yield and harvest.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781615642144
  • Publisher: DK Publishing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/4/2012
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 497,073
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Angela England is a freelance writer who, along with her husband and five children, cultivates a 1/2 acre farm in their Oklahoma backyard where they manage to raise diary and meat goats, keep enough chickens for eggs and free-range poultry, and foster an intensively productive garden for fresh fruits and vegetables. Angela is the founder of UntrainedHousewife.com and enjoys guiding others in recapturing the lost arts of self-sufficient living. She also manages and maintains the Blissfully Domestic community and contributes to other sites and forums on a regular basis.

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Table of Contents

Part 1 Living Large on a Small Scale 1

1 The Backyard Farm Adventure 3

The Growing Food Crisis 3

An Earth-Friendly Lifestyle 5

Cost and Health Considerations 8

The Many Benefits of Small-Scale Farming 11

Cost of Land and Equipment 11

Ease of Maintenance 12

Intensive Production Possibilities 13

2 Finding Land: What Do You Need? 15

Purchasing Undeveloped Land 15

Location and Cost 15

History of the Land 17

Climate and Growing Season 18

Buying Developed Land with the House 18

Layout and Quality of the Land 19

Outbuildings and Existing Amenties 20

Fencing 21

Access to Water 23

Zoning Restrictions 24

3 Building on Land You Already Own 27

Assessing Your Current Situation 27

Quarter-Acre Lot 28

Half-Acre Lot 30

Full-Acre Lot 32

Creating a Workable Plan 34

Precise 34

Lasting 35

Arrival 36

Natural 36

Adding Buildings and Fences 37

Drainage 37

Building Material 37

Size and Situation 38

Part 3 Gardening on a Backyard Farm 41

4 What and How Much Do You Want to Grow? 43

Planning Your Garden Space 43

Square-Foot Style Gardening 45

Raised-Bed Gardening 46

Traditional Garden Plots with an Intensive Twist 47

Keep a Garden Journal 48

Maximizing Your Garden Space 49

Vertical Gardening 50

Container Gardening 52

Edible Landscaping 55

5 Tools and Skills for the Backyard Farmer 57

Hand Tools 57

Garden Spade or Trowel 58

Secateurs or Preuners 59

Digging Fork 59

Hand Weeder and Hoe 60

Cultivation 62

Tiller 62

Shovels and Spades 62

Garden Rake 63

Fencing and Miscellaneous Homestead Tools 64

Posthole Digger 64

Fence Pliers 66

Wire Cutters 66

Wheelbarrow 66

Other Must-Have Tools 68

Caring for Your Tools 69

Basic Building Skills 69

Cutting Lumber 69

Putting the Wood Together 71

6 Gardening Smart from the Start 73

Soil: A Dirty Word 73

Types of Soil 73

Feeding the Soil 74

Composting to Build Healthy Soil 74

The Right Ratio 75

Consider the Source 78

Organic Fertilizers and Soil Supplements 79

Zones and Plant Hardiness 81

Sun and Water 82

Organic and Land-Friendly Principles 83

7 Get the Most from Your Garden 87

Increasing Crops Through Intensive Gardening 87

Crop Rotation 88

Crop Succession 90

Extending the Growing Season 91

Seasonal Plantings 92

Cover Your Crops in the Garden 92

Cold Frames 94

Greenhouses 95

Start Plants Indoors 96

Companion Planting and Interplanting 96

8 Vegetables for the Backyard Farm 99

Vegetables to Grow on an Acre 99

Cool-Season Vegetables 99

Beets (Beta vulgaris) 100

Broccoli (Brassica oleracea) 101

Cabbage (Brassica oleracea) 103

Lettuce (Lactuca sativa) 105

Mustard (Brassica juncea) 107

Peas (Pisum sativum) 108

Spinach (Spinacea oleracea) 109

Swiss Chard (Beta vulgaris) 110

Warm-Season Vegetables 111

Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) 111

Carrots (Daucua carota) 113

Corn (Zea mays) 114

Cucumbers (Cucumis sativas) 115

Garlic (Allium sativum) 116

Onions (Allium cepa) 117

Peppers (Capsicum annum) 118

Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) 120

Summer Squash (Cucurbita sp.) 122

Tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum) 124

Winter Squash (Cucurbita spp.) 126

9 Kitchen Herb Gardens 129

Medicinal Herbs 129

Calendula (Calendula officinalis) 129

Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) 130

Comfrey (Symphytum officinalis) 130

Echinaceal (Echinacea purpurea) 131

Lavender (Lavendula) 132

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) 133

Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) 134

Culinary Herbs 134

Basil (Ocimum basilicum) 134

Cilantro (Corinadrum sativum) 136

Dill (Anethum graveolens) 137

Mint (Mentha) 138

Oregano (Origanum vulgare) 139

Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) 139

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) 140

Sage (Salvia officinalis) 142

Thyme (Thymus spp.) 143

10 Fruits, Berries, and More 145

Fruit on Just an Acre? Yes! 145

Apples (Malus) 146

Sweet Cherries (Prunus avium) and Sour Cherries (Prunus cerasus) 147

Mulberries (Morus sp.) 149

Peaches (Prunus persica) 150

Pears (Pyrus sp.) 152

Persimmons (Diospyros sp.) 155

Plums (Prunus sp.) 155

Vines and Berries 156

Blackberries and Raspberries (both Rubus spp.) 156

Blueberries (Vaccinium spp.) 157

Grapes (Vitis spp.) 158

Kiwifruit (Actinidia spp.) 160

Melons (Cucumis melo or Citrullus lanatus) 160

Strawberries (Fragaria spp.) 162

Perennial Edibles and Nuts to Grow 163

Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) 163

Elderberries (Sambucus canadensis) 164

Pecans (Carya illinoinenmis) 166

Walnuts (Juglans spp.) 167

11 Heirloom Plants and Saving Seeds 169

Benefits of Heirloom Gardening 169

Cost Effectiveness for Growing Produce 169

Sustainability and Self-Sufficiency 170

How to Save Seeds 172

Testing Viability and Starting Seeds 176

Part 3 Animals for a Backyard Farm 179

12 Keeping Chickens on a Small Scale 181

Breeds for Backyard Flocks 181

Egg Layers 183

Meat Breeds 183

Dual-Purpose Breeds 185

Chicken Husbandry 188

Chick Brood Box 189

Chicken Coop 190

Regular Maintenance 193

Signs and Prevention of Illness and Disease 195

Eggs from Your Chickens 197

Meat from Your Chickens 199

Other Types of Popultry 200

Guineas Fowl 201

Geese 201

Ducks 201

Turkeys 201

13 Rabbits on a Backyard Farm 203

Rabbits for Meat 203

Rabbits for Fiber 205

Rabbit Husbandry 207

Housing Rabbits on a Small Scale 207

Care and Maintenance 209

Signs and Prevention of Illness and Disease 211

Harvesting Fiber from Rabbits 213

14 Sheep and Goats: Backyard Multitaskers 215

Breeds for Small Home Use 215

Breeds for Milk 215

Breeds for Meat 217

Breeds for Fiber 219

Goat and Sheep Husbandry 221

Care and Maintenance 221

Housing 224

Signs and Prevention of Illness and Disease 226

Breeding Goats and Sheep 227

Raising or Selling Your Yearly Offspring 232

Milking a Goat or Sheep 233

Shearing Sheep or Goats 236

15 Beekeeping in the Backyard 239

Getting to Know the Bee World 239

Starting Your Apiary 240

Equipment Needed 240

Acquiring a Hive 244

Keeping Bees-A Year-Round Guide 247

The Honey Harvest 251

Tools for Honey Extraction 251

Comb Honey 253

Straining the Honey 253

Part 4 Enjoying the Bounty 255

16 A Seasonal Guide to Managing Your Harvest 257

Eating Fresh in Spring 257

Spinach Salad with Tangy Dressing 258

Radishes and Egg Salad 259

Summer's Feast on the Kitchen Table 260

Stuffed Tomatoes 261

Basil Pesto 262

Blueberry Zucchini Bread 263

Red Skin Potato Salad 264

Fall Bounty from the Backyard Farm 264

Sweet Potato Casserole with Apricots 265

Simple Autumn Skillet 266

What's Available in Winter? 267

Applesauce Oatmeal Coffee Cake 267

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Winter Greens 268

Butchering on the Backyard Farm 269

Overview of Processing Meat and Chickens 269

Finding Local Help 271

17 Canning and Freezing Produce and Meat 273

Equipment Needed for Home Canning 274

Pressure Canners 276

Home Canning Safety Tips 278

Basic Steps for Water-Bath Canning 279

Basic Steps for Pressure Canning 281

Freezing Tips and Tricks 284

Vegetable Blanching and Freezer Preparation Chart 285

Packaging Meat to Freeze 286

Erica's Inside-Out Lasagna 289

18 Dehydrating and Smoking 291

Drying Herbs 291

Choosing a Dehydrator 293

Dehydrating Fruits and Vegetables 294

Fruit Leather 295

Making Jerky in a Dehydrator 295

Drying in a Solar Oven 297

Making Sun-Dried Tomatoes 298

Drying Meat in a Solar Oven 298

Smoking Meat in Home Smokers 299

19 Root Cellars and Basements 301

Storing Crops in a Cellar 301

Storing Root Cellared Foods 302

Constructing a Simple Root Cellar 305

Trash Can Root Cellar 306

Basement Root Cellar 306

20 Preserving Garden Herbs 309

Growing Your Own Herbs 309

Drying Herbs for Teas 310

Herbal Tea Benefits 310

Common Herbal Tea Blends 311

Herbal Vinegars 312

Herbed Butters, Oils, and Spreads 314

Herbal Infusions, Decoctions, and Tinctures 315

Part 5 Crafting from the Backyard Farm 319

21 Making Butter, Yogurt, and Cheese 321

Butter 321

Butter from Raw Cow's Milk 321

Butter from Goat's Milk 323

Tools You Can Use 324

Yogurt 325

Cheese 327

22 Fibers: From Sheep to Sweater 333

Cultivating and Choosing Good Fleece 334

Preparing a Fleece for Spinning 336

Washing 337

Carding and Combing 337

Dyeing Your Fiber 339

Hands-Off Dyeing 340

Stovetop or Vat Dyeing 340

Hand Painting with Dye 341

Spinning Yarn 341

Spindles and Wheels 342

Spinning Terms and Techniques 343

Marketing Your Fiber or Yarn 344

23 Home Brewing Cider and Wine 345

Brewing Homemade Cider 345

Pressing Your Own Cider 346

Fermenting Your Apple Cider 349

Racking Off the Cider 351

Brewing Homemade Wine 351

24 Goat's Milk Soap Making 355

Health Benefits Infused in Soap 355

Why Make Your Own Soap? 357

Making Goat's Milk Soap 357

Saponification 359

Creative Soap Making 362

Oil Combinations 363

Dyes and Embellishments 364

25 Other Ways to Use Your Harvest 365

Basketry and Weaving 365

Lip Balm 367

Candles 368

Crayons 369

Flower Cutting 370

Dried Flowers 371

Pressed Flowers 373

Lavender Wands 374

Plant-Based Dyes 377

Appendixes

A Simple Plans for the Backyard Farm 379

B Gardening Journal Pages 387

C Resources 393

Index 397

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2013

    Great

    Because of this book I have started my own backyard farm. It is very informative and an easy read. I recommend this book to anyone interested in growing their own food.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 3, 2013

    It is with great pleasure that I present my first book review fo

    It is with great pleasure that I present my first book review for 2013. I am so excited to review, Backyard Farming on an Acre (More or Less) by Angela England, as I have been working on my own little backyard farm, well...actually it is more like a front and backyard farm because I live in a condo and have even less than one acre to work with!

    In her book, Angela England has provided a very comprehensive outline on sustainable living. From the initial chapter discussing "The Backyard Farm Adventure" to the final chapter outlining "Other Ways to Use Your Harvest" I don't think I have ever read a more detailed book on this topic.

    Each chapter outlines, step-by-step, how to begin the process. Ms. England has taken all the guesswork out of figuring out how to create our "Backyard Farm", which is what I really like the most about this book. We are then free to take the parts that we want and use them however they work for us. So in my case, while I may not be able to have any animals, I can grow certain foods and herbs to benefit my family. In fact, I've already been doing this on a very small scale, and for the last several years have enjoyed the benefits of fresh tomatoes that taste so much better than store bought. Now that I have read this book, I have plans to expand. Thank goodness my neighbors are all on board as they have given me permission to use their front yards!

    For those that have more land than I do, you will surely enjoy the illustrated layouts provided for a quarter-acre, half-acre and full-acre lots. The author asks us to "consider the illustrations as wish-lists for someday". In my mind this means use these ideas as a springboard to create our own dream farm, no matter how big or small. The goal is to have a "P.L.A.N.":

    Precise - make the plans precise. Think about how many different crops to plant, and how much room you'll need. Do you plan on having just a garden or will you add livestock? Perhaps a bit of both? Precision is the key to plans.

    Lasting - think of this adventure as a timeline. Nothing ever happens immediately, so realize that this is going to take a schedule that needs to be adhered to and plan accordingly. For example, in January, I will layout my garden and decide what I want to plant. In February I will purchase the seeds I need to grow my crops. In March, I will...you get the idea. Decide what needs to happen each week and month and then stick to the schedule. Large scale farmers have been doing this for years. It's no different for this scale.

    Arrival - means heading in a particular direction towards those goals. What are you going to do to make this happen? How will you adapt when something doesn't work?

    Natural - doing what works for you. Just because what works for Angela doesn't mean it is going to work for Susan and vice versa. It has to make sense for you; the plan needs to work for you. Write out the plan and start working on what's important now.

    The book also provides advice on how to plan plan the garden space and maximize it to its fullest potential; suggests keeping a journal and goes into great detail on the tools and skills needed for the backyard farmer. Also, for those that aren't as experienced with gardening, Angela provides the reader with a gentle reminder that's its not just about sticking the plant in the ground and letting it do it's thing (i.e. you have to amend the soil!) Novices will also appreciate the chapters on vegetables, herbs, fruits and berries as well as animals for a Backyard Farm.

    Don't let the details of this book overwhelm you. In fact, take a moment to really read Part 4, "Enjoying the Bounty", and Part 5 "Crafting from the Backyard Farm" because it really gives the reader a great guide as to what to do with the harvest from that garden we've spent so much time and energy on. Remember that Ms. England has provided us with the tools to get started. Now we have to use them and make it happen. Take the parts that work for you and save the rest for when you're able to use them. And above all, share this book with everyone you know.

    I found this book really helped to renew my enthusiasm for gardening and I can't wait to get started!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 11, 2012

    I have right around an acre and a half, that my family and I wil

    I have right around an acre and a half, that my family and I will be re-starting our farm on. I wish I had had this book the first time we tried to start a backyard farm/homestead. I highly recommend this book if you are new to farming or have been doing it for years, it includes everything you could ever possibly want to know about how to get started and how to continue. The value lies in Angela's ability to bring her personal experiences out to share with us all. This is a realistic book not a series of case studies and straight research. T

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 6, 2012

    We have less than an acre, but a nice size backyard for a city n

    We have less than an acre, but a nice size backyard for a city neighborhood. And we happen to live in a neighborhood with a home owners association. The great thing about this comprehensive book is that it address both of those. It provides tips for those with average size yards on how to utilize the space we DO have to work with. It provides steps for beginners, as well as tips for the more advanced or experienced person. The organization in five distinct sections, allows you to step into each area at whatever place you are. And perhaps skip areas that are not of interest or not a good fit for your situation (our neighbors nor homeowners association would appreciate us keeping goats or roosters), yet those are such a small part of a BIG book. There is something here for everyone. The book has a FANTASTIC index so you can jump into more healthy living, better cost savings and move (be it baby step or giant leap) toward a more self-sufficient lifestyle. This is the perfect gift book for those on your holiday list wanting to make some positive changes...and perfect for your own New Year's Resolutions toward the same in any area from growing more of your own food (even if you live in an apartment) to raising animals, bees (not me, but my brother does this) or candlemaking or lost arts. 

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 6, 2012

    This book covers everything and is perfect for the self-sufficie

    This book covers everything and is perfect for the self-sufficient wanna-be without a large place to farm. Everything you need to know to produce your own food in your backyard!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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