By August 1, 2013 Read More →

Book Review: The Backyard Homestead

Produce All the Food You Need on Just a Quarter Acre!

The Backyard Homestead was published in 2009 – I am reviewing it here because I think it is one of the best self-reliance books out there, and is one of the most loved and used books on my bookshelf.  I get many questions from preppers who could benefit from this book so I want to remind everyone that this great resource is out there.  It is published by Storey Publishing, who you may recall, publishes the well-respected Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens, and many other animal guides as well.  Carleen Madigan, an editor for Storey Publishing put this book together as a collection of the best of Storey’s small farming and gardening information.  The practice of homesteading has grown in leaps and bounds, as has the preparedness movement, making this book more relevant today than when it first came out.

How this Book can Help You with Preparedness
As people learn more and more about preparedness they eventually come to the realization that they need to at least know how to produce their own food – unfortunately not everyone is set up on 10 acres out in the county.  That is what makes this book so useful; the entire text is put together with producing as much food as you can in a small space.  It even has a plan for one tenth of an acre!  When preppers living in the city or on small suburban lots ask how they could possibly produce their own food with such a small space, I mention this book. There is a lot that can be done in a small space, assuming there are no HOA restraints, and a lawn is not needed.

Benefits and What’s Inside
The surest way to eat and be healthier is to grow, store, and eat your own food.  This book contains the right  information to go from planting to the table.  It sticks to topics directly related to producing food, unlike other books that try to cover everything.  There are tips on garden planning, seed starting, dealing with cold and hot weather, harvesting, preserving harvest and even recipes for cooking!  The Backyard Homestead also covers a wide variety of animals that can be kept on small acreage, how to select them, and how to keep them.  It’s all geared toward providing a year around food supply.

For more about: chickens, goats or pigs, there are several good books out there specifically for them.  The Backyard Homestead, however,  gives you a good start that can be built upon later.  It even briefly covers skills like vinegar making, wine making, some canning, bread making, beer making, processing and preserving meat, and cheese making.  It is a great read, with easy to understand instructions and illustrations.  I recommend it for anyone living on any size lot.  After all, who doesn’t want to do more with their existing space?  In my humble opinion, it has become a small classic in the world of self-reliance books.  For those who want to get started homesteading, but have limited space – this is a great book.

Companion Book
Storey Publishing has  a companion book out called “The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals“, that goes into more depth on choosing, feeding, and caring for the animals featured in this book.  Again, everything centers around producing one’s own food with these animals.

The Bottom Line:  This book is great for those who want to start their own homestead, or start small.

Where To Buy It?
The Backyard Homestead may be found in some retail book stores, or on by clicking here. Or as a kindle ebook by clicking here!

About the Author:

Stephanie is a writer for the American Preppers Network, a small local paper and for her blog, The Home Front and was featured in Marie Claire UK in the October 2012 issue that featured women preppers. She is also the credited writer of "Emergency Bag Essentials (Swatchbook): Everything You Need to Bug Out" released in August 2014 and available on "I write articles based on my own experience with emergency preparedness, self-sufficiency, homesteading, food preservation and life around the farmstead. I grew up in a very rural area where I learned to garden, the art of canning, to hunt and fish, and to raise my own animals for food. I also spent 6 years volunteering for the local county Search and Rescue group where I learned a variety of survival skills and a little bit about law enforcement protocol. " "As a general rule of principle I do not write articles about information that I have only read - if I am writing about something it's because I have done it myself and gone to great lengths to provide you with the facts meshed with personal experience. My alter egos are as an full time mom, amateur photographer, and backpacker." Stephanie's past APN articles are featured below on several pages. To connect with her --> click on one of the many little square social media buttons below!

21 Comments on "Book Review: The Backyard Homestead"

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  1. stevenswilkins says:

    my prepper friend introduced me to this book and fortunately or unfortunately this book has now become my hubbies new bff…. :) AWESOME BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Thanks Steven I really enjoyed it too – it is still the more frequently grabbed book on my shelf.

  3. good review may have to add that one to my library.

  4. This book was already on my “to buy” list. Glad it’s got great reviews!

  5. I like the book, and it’s good for the planning stage. By the time I have backyard animals, the biggest lack of information in the book will remind me of its existence; The book only refers to other works when it comes to slaughtering, butchering and processing animals for food. Otherwise, it reads well, and presents information in manageable chunks, so for planning a garden, this one will probably be used to lay my foundation.

  6. I was actually looking at this book today at the feed store! Decided not to buy it, was waiting to get online and find a review or two. Think I will pick it up next time I am there!

  7. Great book. I own it.

  8. I have had the book for a couple of years now. It is a great book! I also recommend the Readers Digest Back to Basics book. They are old, from the late 70’s I believe, but there is a lot of great information in there!

  9. Paul Byers says:

    Book is already on my self. great book

  10. Already have this. It’s a great book. :)

  11. There is also another great book Homesteading A Backyard Guide to: Growing Your Own Food, Canning, Keeping Chickens, Generating Your Own Energy, Crafting, Herbal medicine, and More by Abigail R. Gehring

  12. Karen Fudala says:

    I got this book from Mother Earth magazine and it’s great !!

  13. If you read the Backwoods Survival Home, Countryside, and Mother Earth News Magazines, you will have most of the information already. The book is great for starting, but it is not really in depth enough on any one thing.

    • While I enjoy Mother Earth News Magazine and Backwood Survival Home as much as as the next person I find that some of their articles are also lacking in depth. Rather keep years and years worth of magazines on hand for the sake of some select information and rather than trying to remember which issue it was in – this book will do quite nicely. It is difficult for any publication that tries to encompass this much information to go into depth. However, it does get you going in the right direction – depending on what kind of person – you are, you can then either “wing it” from there or seek out additional information as you need it.   

  14. AL Wolf says:

    looking for a android app or other software where i can in put food on hand and it will give a daily amount on hand by adult/child information entered.

  15. Have checked it out 2 times from library ~ going to buy it so I have it. Some good basic info!