Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing; 2 edition (May 12, 2009)
Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 10 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #60,865 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #50 in Books > Science & Math > Agricultural Sciences > Sustainable Agriculture #60 in Books > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Gardening & Landscape Design > By Technique > Organic #61 in Books > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Gardening & Landscape Design > Vegetables
I didn't think this book was of much help to me as someone interested in very small grain production. The author talks a lot about big machinery and acres to be something I relate to. He also seems to assume the reader can go to a grain elevator or a feed mill. I have access to neither, being in Florida. ( Of course, I'm accustomed to having to translate everything to Florida's terms.) I am currently reading "Homegrown Whole Grains" by Sara Pitzer, and it seems to be geared more to my scale. Both books give good basic coverage of different grains, how to grow them, and recipes for their use. I did enjoy Mr. Logsdon's style of writing, and I hope to read more of his books. I just hope I will be able to put them into perspective for my own homestead's applications.
Thank goodness, we can now put our 32-year-old copy of this book out to pasture; it is falling apart at the seams. We bought a copy from a used bookseller about 5 years ago, and have used it to formulate an approach for small-scale grain raising. Our old book has become considerably more threadbare than it already was.This book introduces grain growing to the gardener or small-acreage homesteader. It offers many options for expediently producing and using grains (for both human and animal consumption) without needing to own the big iron usually associated with grain farming. It brings out the character of each type of grain as well as how to grow, harvest, and use it. And it introduces some grains that many gardeners might not be familiar with. There are great descriptions of hand tools which are no longer in use commercially, but which can still be quite useful to the small-scale grain producer.On top of that, the book is well written and a pleasure to read. This is one of our most treasured homesteading reference books.
I was disappointed not in the book, it was an enjoyable read, but that growing grain requires more work and/or equipment than vegetable gardening. The information provided on how to plant, grow, harvest and store grains reveals that a "pancake" patch needs more equipment than the average home gardener would normally own, particularly for harvesting. The author frequently states that the hand tools needed for are either found used at farm actions or are antiques and not available. If you have acreage beyond a normal vegetable garden and a strong healthy back the book honestly presents the information needed to grow ones one supply of grain. I must admit, small plot grain growing is more for personal satisfaction than food production, but the book is a good reference to include in one's garden library.
A tractor and acreage is called for in most of the situations raised in this book. It's the classic 1977 book on small, organic grain production. It's especially useful for grain for beer and other malt beverage making operations, or as the author originally wrote, for small-scale bakery operations. A great book, but not for gardeners. If you have an acre, or a couple of acres, and want to try raising grain, then this is your book.
The title suggest that this book is written as well for gardeners. It is not. Most of the cultivation techniques he describes are based on a tractor and a lot of machinery unknown to me (an I guess to most gardeners as well). There are no hints of hand cultivating as he assumes that all gardeners own a rotary hoe.He also assumes a lot of knowledge the reader might have, i.e. sow clover in the wheat. OK, but what do I have to do when I have a garden bed full of wheat? Do I simply throw seeds in between or do I have to cultivate the bed before? Another example is he suggests to grow wheat like the Chinese did in rows. But no description how this is done, how it looks.Some things like how to store your corn in the field are described in a very lengthy way and it would have been a lot easier putting in some pictures to explain. Other questions are not answered at all. The book is not very methodical and it is poorly organized.The recipes are weird. For me it just does not fit to write a book on growing your own grains and then in the recipe section asking for ingredients like "frozen corn" or "nonfat dry milk".I find it very disturbing that there are no metric measurements and temperatures in brackets. Even American readers might have problems to know what a peck of corn is or a bushel of wheat, which is something different than a bushel of oats. For the normal backyard gardener ponds or kilos are understandable.In short, it is a nice book to read, lot of American farming history, but nothing which really help you to grow your own grains, unless you have a lot of knowledge yet.
I found this book very well written and extremely informative. I initially had reservation about ordering this book because of the reviews that stated it was not written for small gardeners. I found this to be untrue. Whether you are spreading the seed by hand or grain drill and harvesting by hand sickle or combine, you will find a wealth of information in this book. If you are looking to add an excellent book on Grain to your personal library shelf, this is it. If you need more basic information, try Carla Emery's "Encylopedia of Country living".
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