The Quarter-Acre Farm: How I Kept the Patio, Lost the Lawn, and Fed My Family for a Year

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Overview


When Spring Warren told her husband and two teenage boys that she wanted to grow 75 percent of all the food they consumed for one year—and that she wanted to do it in their yard—they told her she was crazy.

She did it anyway.

The Quarter-Acre Farm is Warren’s account of deciding—despite all resistance—to take control of her family’s food choices, get her hands dirty, and create a garden in her suburban yard. It’s a story of bugs, worms, rot, ...

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The Quarter-Acre Farm: How I Kept the Patio, Lost the Lawn, and Fed My Family for a Year

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Overview


When Spring Warren told her husband and two teenage boys that she wanted to grow 75 percent of all the food they consumed for one year—and that she wanted to do it in their yard—they told her she was crazy.

She did it anyway.

The Quarter-Acre Farm is Warren’s account of deciding—despite all resistance—to take control of her family’s food choices, get her hands dirty, and create a garden in her suburban yard. It’s a story of bugs, worms, rot, and failure; of learning, replanting, harvesting, and eating. The road is long and riddled with mistakes, but by the end of her yearlong experiment, Warren’s sons and husband have become her biggest fans—in fact, they’re even eager to help harvest (and eat) the beautiful bounty she brings in.

Full of tips and recipes to help anyone interested in growing and preparing at least a small part of their diet at home, The Quarter-Acre Farm is a warm, witty tale about family, food, and the incredible gratification that accompanies self-sufficiency.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Finally, a book about local eating that doesn't make me feel bad about myself! Warren entirely avoids the genre's stinky mire of holier than thou preaching, and instead tells the honest and informative story of her edible experiment. The recipes following each chapter are tasty, and the illustrations are stunningly beautiful."
—Novella Carpenter, author of Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer

“Reading Spring Warren’s book is like chatting with a good friend over coffee as she relates her garden adventures (some hilarious) and muses on the meaning of almost everything. This is an instructive, useful book, based on sound garden experience and in-depth research, and it’s an intimate tale of one woman’s relationship to food and family.”
—Georgeanne Brennan, author of Potager: Fresh Garden Cooking in the French Style and A Pig in Provence

“Spring Warren’s memoir of a year feeding her family from her suburban garden resonates with the American dream of self-sufficiency—what she comes to know of growing food is impressive, the recipes superb—and it is beautifully written, enlightening, and very funny.”
—John Lescroart, New York Times best-selling author

"A wise and tender-hearted book that will teach you as much about life as it will about gardening."
—Thrity Umrigar, best-selling author of The Space Between Us and The Weight of Heaven

Kirkus Reviews

The story of a farming experiment that reaped far more than fruits and vegetables.

Skepticism is the first seed planted when Warren (Turpentine, 2007), a novice gardener and self-proclaimed slacker, sought to transform her yard into a farm, in which she intended to produce 75 percent of her family's consumable food. The author readily admits, "I hate weeding. I forget to water. My garden is a testing ground for plants able to withstand abuse." This humility and honesty sets the tone for not only the project, but the book as well. Warren's enthusiasm gained her family's gradual compliance, and each member and even a few friends contributed to the experiment in their own way. Son Sam was an enthusiast in the kitchen, his brother Jesse an avid mushroomer, and Warren's husband's patience and support cultivated not only a harvest, but family harmony as well. The author roots beneath the surface, revealing a candid account of what does and doesn't work whether in the garden, the kitchen or her life. She provides gardening tips in a witty, approachable manner, most obvious in the chapter "Sadism in the Garden." Her advice is properly seasoned with a blend of recipes that range from the simple to the downright eccentric—while trying to rid the farm of snails, a bit of culinary research confirmed her suspicion that the pests were closely related to the delicacy escargot. No matter the undertaking or the outcome, Warren demonstrates how determination and a willingness to learn can yield more than crops.

Perfect balance of tips, recipes and anecdotes for continual referencing.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580053402
  • Publisher: Avalon Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/15/2011
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 319,615
  • Product dimensions: 7.80 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Spring Warren is the author of the novel Turpentine, a bronze medalist for the 2007 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award and a San Francisco Chronicle Notable Book of 2007.

Warren comes from Wyoming, where here family has lived since 1870. A true gal of the American West, she grew up in Casper and at a ranch in the Black Hills that her parents still own. She’s been a schoolteacher (children bring cow testicles to school for show and tell in Wyoming), raised pigs, killed rattlesnakes, hunted, and fished. When she moved toward writing, she was a working as a short order cook, selling worms and maple bars to campers, and teaching swimming lessons in the shadow of Devil's Tower, and was living in a trailer where she washed clothes in a wringer washer and dried them by the heat of the wood stove.

Warren now lives in Davis, California, an educational hub of the agricultural world, in the Central Valley, the world’s most productive agricultural region.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 2, 2012

    WHAT A COOL IDEA!

    Loved this book. Will make your realize you can plant a garden in your own backyard and enjoy doing it. Of course there will be some ups and downs, but I think the joy expressed in this book would be well worth the try.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 10, 2011

    Delightful - and informative, too

    Spring Warren has the special gift of regaling one with wit and humor - while sneaking in some pretty heavy duty history and science. She does it so deftly, however, that there is not even one pin prick of pain. In fact, the only pain you will feel is the ache in your side from laughing so much at the drama in her yard. The recipes sound delicious and her son's illustrations are as delightful as his mother's writing. One can read this just for fun, and great fun it will be; however, you can also read this as a guide for trying it on your own. Her trials will help you avoid some serious mistakes, and her successes will help point you down the path for creating your own similar successes.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2014

    Mini failures a real person faces.

    Good book. Funny. Sticking to eating what she grew and having one crop for weeks before anything else was ripe and finding ways to cook it and not give up. Although its a given that she doesn't have a day job so she has plenty of time on her hands which she admits to gardening in her bath robe lots of days.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

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