21st-Century Smallholder: From Window Boxes To Allotments: How To Go Back To The Land Without Leaving Home Paperback – 11 Mar 2008
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"Wittily written and very inspiring, full of sensible tips on everything from windowboxes to pickling your produce. It's a 21st-century version of John Seymour's Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency ..." (Josh Lacey Guardian, Gardening section)
"...a charmingly written, practical guide to setting up an urban smallholding, allowing readers to indulge Good Life fantasies, however small their balcony or window box." (The Times)
"A handbook packed full of green advice...Aesthetically pleasant guides to growing and raising your own food accompany serious food for thought on how you can, and why you should make a difference." (Tom Ireland The Ecologist)
"Beautifully written and illustrated, the 21st Century Smallholder is the bible for today's Tom and Barbara Good and anyone else who wants to live the dream." (Rachel Savage The Environment Magazine)
"If you have space for just a window-box, 21st Century Smallholder is for you. Subtitled "How to Go Back to the Land Without Leaving Home", it offers exactly what it says on the cover." (Edi Smockum FT magazine)
For anyone wanting to find 'the good life' in their garden, allotment or even a window box - a practical, accessible and stylish guide to growing food and living sustainably.See all Product description
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Top customer reviews
The book itself is mainly explanatory text with a few diagrams and summary tables. This makes a nice change from many other 'how to' books which are full of glossy colour photographs, but short on informative explanations. However the book itself is not bland, as all the pages are decorated with suitable accompanying drawings of one form or another, on thick paper. Paul's text covers the background to each topic, as well as the main information you need about it. This is a quality and well thought out book.
What I liked was that you are walked through the different aspects of self-sufficiency, each being independent of the other. So you start with how to grow your own food, then raise your own food, then energy efficiency and production and waste. Finally some notes on how to try and go completely self sufficient on your own small holding. While you might not do everything, there will be something everyone can do one way or another in this book.
As someone just getting into trying to grow my own vegetables in my back garden, I found the book useful, realistic and optimistic. While I won't be using the other information on keeping chickens or solar heating for some time, it was interesting to read about them in the larger context of being more self-sufficient. The section on growing vegetables was good enough for me, and provided me with a greater understanding of the different types and how to deal with them. He has also planted ideas for me to come back to in the future.
Don't really think I'll need anything else this book is full of information and tips.
It is an excellent, inspirational, little book.
It doesn't give you much by way of 'how to', but there are many 'how to' books out there.
It does give you ideas, backed by sound logic of why you should be doing this. It also lays out the likely cost, hassle and expense of any venture you are likely to undertake. Then you can hunt down the 'how to' book and get on with the project.
If you are concerned with what you eat and the current state of the planet, I recommend this book. It will set you on the path to doing something positive about it. And if we all do our bit... there's hope.
Even if you don't want to be a smallholder, the book is a good read, and will make you think about things you probably ought to be thinking about, and will most probably lead to a desire to grow something and snatch back a wee bit of control over the food production in your life.
The layout of the book (about A5 in size) is clear, non-glossy and non fussy with very nice illustrations as a background and accompanyment to the text.
Read this book, apply it's suggestions and perhaps Paul's fear that only Ray Mears would survive an energy catastrophe can become a thing of the past!
I now grow my own veg and hope by next year to have gotten into the swing of it so as to barely buy in anything (especially things i know i can grow) I'm also lucky enough to have space for a couple of chickens so i shall have some new pets in a few weeks! I've also convinced my parents that growing and rearing your own is a fun experience and they have some wee little chickens now settling in in their garden giving them so much joy!
It's not for everyone but i've made small changes with the information in this book which is honest and to the point. It doesn't sugar-coat anything (which some books in this genre may well...)
Glad i bought it!
I can't say yet whether the guidance works as we aren't setting up the smallholding till next year ;-)
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