Angela England is a freelance writer who, along with her husband and four children, cultivates a 1/2 acre farm in their 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. With dirt under their fingernails, they started by cultivating a small garden and eventually took on chickens and goats. With time, their garden grew and they began expanding to parent bees, cultivate fruit trees, and manage a larger plot while shedding the conveniences of urban life. Angela is the Plants and Bulbs Feature Writer at Suite101 and founded the Untrained Housewife website in order to guide others in recapturing the lost arts of rural living. She also manages and maintains the Blissfully Domestic community with an additional 300,000 page views monthly and contributes to other sites and forums on a regular basis. Eventually Angela and her husband will inherit The Ranch, an 80-acre spread in Oklahoma with cattle, large growing plots, and plenty of room for expanding their backyard farm.
Backyard Farming on an Acre (More or Less)by Angela England
As food prices continue to rise, more and more people have discovered that they can create their own food supply, right on their own property, and at a fraction of the price of conventional farm food that's been shipped to their local grocery from locations unknown. By raising and harvesting their own fruits, vegetables, chickens, bees, milk-bearing animals, and
As food prices continue to rise, more and more people have discovered that they can create their own food supply, right on their own property, and at a fraction of the price of conventional farm food that's been shipped to their local grocery from locations unknown. 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. However, poor planning for needs, proper use of available space, and a lack of preparedness for preserving or selling the harvest can quickly lead to wasted time and sweat.
Backyard Farming on an Acre (More or Less) is written by people who have planned and run a successful small-scale backyard farm. The authors guide readers through the essentials of planning a small-scale farm from a 1/4 acre all the way up to an acre and beyond. Readers will learn how to decide how large (or small) their farm should be, what they should plant or raise based on their invidual wants and needs (and available space), and how they can prevent their efforts from being wasted. Proven, sustainabile techniques will be presented to readers so they can yield the maximum benefit of their harvest through proven best practices. Readers will also learn how to raise small animals such as chickens and goats for milk, eggs, and meat, and will learn the crticial practices for successfully parenting bees, growing fruit tress, and much more.
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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!
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.
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!
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
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.