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.
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.