Sunday, September 2, 2012

Book Review: Grow It!

Grow It!:The beginner's complete in-harmony-with-nature small farm guide by Richard W. Langer
I stumbled across this book at The Cornerstone Bookshop, and for $6, I really couldn't pass this up. Not only do I love old books with cheesy covers, but it was also on a topic, that as you may have already guessed, I am highly interested in. First of all, I would like to point out that I find this book highly amusing for 2 reasons: 1, the cover makes me giggle and I came really close to tagging my Dad in the photo cause the picture reminded me of photos of him from when my parent's first met, and 2, the book is so obviously written with for the audience of city mice looking to become country mice. Sometimes the book is a little dated, but it was published in 1972, and besides the information that this book is really useful for is completely timeless.

This book is just bursting with information, and I was really pleasantly surprised at just how much information I found in these pages. I have to admit I completely skipped the chapters on tillage, and grain because they in no way apply to anything I ever plan on doing, but I devoured the other chapters anxiously! I am going to supply you with a listing of the chapters after just so you can see the amazing array of information that can be obtained from this book. Really, I can't say anything bad about this book, it definitely earned it's endorsement from Mother Earth News, and I was really pleased with the sections especially on livestock. It gave information on everything from their care to their butchering. I could go on forever, but really, a listing of the contents of the book will tell you whether or not this is something you want to try and track down for your homestead's library.

The Land: Your soil-watershed-pond-woodlands
Tillage:Farm Equipment-what it is-how it works-how to use it right-plowing-harrowing-sowing your fields
Fertilizer: Barnyard manure-green manure and how it grows-composting-liming
Fruit: The orchard site-planting-pruning-harvesting-apples-cherries-peaches-pears-plums
Nuts: Almonds-beechnuts-chestnuts-filberts-hazelnuts-hickory nuts-pecans-walnuts
Berries:The berry patch and what's in it-blackberries-blueberries-currants-gooseberries-grapes-raspberries-strawberries
Vegetables: Bountiful varieties from asparagus to watermelon-getting a head start on spring-mulching-how to raise your own seed for future harvest
Pest Control: Preventing pests-feathered and crawling friends-safe nontoxic sprays-how to kill the bugs without killing yourself
Grain: How to raise, harvest, and make flour and feed from your grain-buckwheat-corn-oats-rye-sunflowers-wheat
Forage: Your pastures and meadows-what to grow and how-grazing livestock- making hay-winter fodder
Goats: Breeds-housing-basic equipment-feeding-breeding-kidding-weaning-milking
Chickens: Starting a flock-the henhouse-the brooder-feeding-gathering eggs-how to dress a chicken for your broiler
Other Fowl: Ducks-geese-swans-turkeys
Pigs: Breeds-housing-equipment-feeding-breeding-parasites and other problems
Honeybees: Who's who in the colony-starting a colony-the beehive and where to put it-equipment-handling your bees-swarming-honey and how to get it
The Larder: How to keep what you harvest for the winter-root cellars-krauting-drying fruit-making cheese, butter and yogurt-setting clabbered milk-smoke curing your meat-sausage making-lard and cracklings
Catalog: The government will give you a hand-ordering by mail your farm equipment, organic fertilizers, livestock, fruit and vegetable seeds, and tree stock-publications galore-farm books for winter evening reading

See, what a wonderful amount of knowledge to be had from this book! Really all useful, the catalog is the only chapter that is pretty much completely out-dated. This book has definitely earned a place on my bookshelf.

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