Thursday, April 26, 2012

Backyard Homesteading

CH5216_cov ]ja[.inddBackyard Homesteading – A Back-to-Basics Guide to Self-Sufficiency
Grow and preserve your own vegetable, fruits, nuts, and berries.  Keep chickens, goats, and bees.   Make beer, wine, and cider.

By David Toht
Published at Creative Homeowner

About the book

Backyard Homesteading addresses the needs of many people who want to take control of the food they eat and the products they use—even if they live in an urban or suburban house on a typical-size lot. It shows homeowners how to turn their yard into a productive and wholesome “homestead” that allows them to grow their own fruits and vegetables and raise farm animals, including chickens, ducks, and goats. Backyard Homesteading covers the laws and regulations of raising livestock in populated areas and demonstrates to readers how to use and preserve the bounty they produce.
Speaks to the homeowner who wishes to be self-sufficient and who wants to provide wholesome, homegrown food to his or her family
Shows how to turn even a small urban or suburban yard into a productive, efficient small farm
Covers vegetable gardens, beekeeping, and raising farm animals, including chickens, ducks, and goats
Runs the gamut from planting seeds to canning your own vegetables, from raising farm animals to preserving your own meat and poultry
A how-to guide for people who want to take control of what they eat and the products they use

Who is David Toht?

Dave Toht, once the proud owner of eight brown-egg biddies, has more than 60 how-to books to this credit. He considers harvesting a sun-warmed tomato from his own garden one of life’s sweetest pleasures. He and his wife, Rebecca, live in Olympia, Washington.

My Thoughts

We have been pondering about putting a garden in our backyard for several years.  The year we finally put one in our previous house, we ended up moving…   But with Pinterest, I have discovered a variety of ways I could garden without having the rabbits coming to eat our bounty of vegetables – raised beds. 

So this year we are thinking of putting one in the backyard.  Last year, we also read the advantages of being self-sufficient and we love the idea.    Now with a family of six, we could probably use lots of ways of gardening and I am investigating our possibilities via books.   One of the first one I got to review was the Backyard Homesteading.   

The book is divided in seven chapters; Getting Started (that’s for us! *grin*), Raising Vegetables and Herbs, Growing Fruits/Berries/Nuts, Raising Chickens, Raising Goats, Beekeeping, Harvest Home.

For now, we are mostly interested in the first three chapters where we would learn on how to start and grow veggies and fruits.    The fourth chapter titled raising chicken is interesting but I know that it isn’t possible at this point in time in our city.   Eventually, if we move to a land with acreage, I would certainly seriously consider to have chickens during the warm season for the eggs and then in the fall to fill my freezer.    Thankfully, I also know someone who has been doing that for the last few years…  I could ask her tips and tricks when I come to this adventure of raising chickens.   As for the goats and bees, well it isn’t even a possibility in our minds right now so I prefer not to think about it.

This book is very informative in various aspects.  First of all, I didn’t know that there might be municipal regulations for starting a backyard homestead but it makes sense…  Not every city allows you to have chicken for example and even for the coop you need to respect the property lines.  Once you have figured out the regulations for your city, you can start planning the garden.   I love the way they present this step in the book.   Paper and pencils are necessary so you can figure out what to plant where.  

With the help of images and tables, the book gives you the steps-by-steps guidance that you need to prepare your soil, plant your garden, and offer advices on how to care for the garden.    I particularly like the “Gardening Through the Seasons” which gives you interesting tips and tricks on how to care for your garden during the spring, summer and fall seasons.    Thanks to some ideas in the book, I am planning to transform a couple of baskets to grow some herbs as well.   You’ll even find some recipes throughout the book!

The last chapter of the book is also very interesting.  Not only does it cover canning, which we have been doing for the past couple of years, but you will find interesting sections on:

  • how to prepare pickled and fermented food
  • how to prepare butters, jams, jellies, and marmalades
  • how to can meat
  • how to dry fruits and vegetables
  • how to pack and store dried foods
  • how to freeze your harvest
  • how to smoke fish
  • how to smoke meat
  • how to brew beer
  • how to make wine
  • how to make apple cider
  • how to use root cellars (wish I had one of these…)

Essentially, this book has plenty of useful information to help you start and manage a garden in your backyard.   With a family of six, I know that we will use all the food our garden will provide.   And the fact that we homeschool our kids is perfect to explore a new way of growing your own food and learn how to care for a garden.   With four kids, I think I have plenty of helpers to remove the weeds when necessary!

Backyard Homesteading is an interesting book that will give you a good start on how to become self-sufficient for your family.

Backyard Homesteading is available at your favorite bookstore, even

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book for review purposes from Thomas Allen. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

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