- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: The Crowood Press Ltd; First Edition edition (11 Sept. 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1861265557
- ISBN-13: 978-1861265555
- Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 2 x 24.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 20 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 319,034 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Smallholder's Manual Hardcover – 11 Sep 2002
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Whether you are an established smallholder, or just starting to take the first tentative steps towards farming at your home, this book contains a wealth of useful information on all the key aspects of small-scale agriculture. The book covers the rural property - buying a small farm, preparing outbuildings and equipping it with machinery and tools; the land - the kitchen garden, protected cultivation, orchards and pasture; livestock - from bees, rabbits and chickens to goats, cattle and exotic species; and commercial considerations, regulations and organic farming.
About the Author
For thirteen years Katie Thear and her husband David lived on a smallholding in Essex, where they combined small-scale farming with publishing Country Smallholding magazine. Katie has advised on organic and welfare standards for poultry and livestock, and currently lectures in the UK and USA.
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It is chock full of useful practical data; there is no fluff or non essential padding. This may make it seem like pretty dry reading. Not a bit of it. The style is engaging and easy to read. I read it in chunks on my daily commmute, and it lends itself well to this approach.
The book falls down on the index which is much too brief and is not all that useful. The glossary could do with expanding as well, since there were some words that get an explanation in the body of the text, but when you see it, for example in a seed catalogue, you can't remember what it means (e.g. F1 type)
The title is also slightly misleading. The book would have to be about five times the size for it to be truly a manual, since although pretty much every subject is covered, the coverage is not as deep as I would have liked.
This is not a problem really, since after reading this book you will probably want to break out into more specialist books that cover specific subjects in more detail anyway. It thus gives you a good grounding in the basics of running a smallholding, and an idea of where to go next.
This was the second book I read on the subject, the first being "Starting with a Smallholding" by David Hills, which is a slim volume, giving an overview of the subject. Katie Thear takes this to the next level and was a thoroughly worthwhile buy.
If just starting or an experienced smallholder an essential book to own would be The Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency by John Seymour. This book is the real "Smallholders Manual". The book has high levels of information on growing, livestock, feeding (you and livestock) and storing. and for those with a smallholding I would recommend The River Cottage Cookbook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. This book will tell you what to do with your produce.
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